No opponents for Russia at home Sambo World Cup leg

The latest leg of the Sambo World Cup has been held in Moscow, and while they may be battered and bruised, it is still Team Russia maintaining their position at the summit.

Sambo, or self-defense without weapons, is a martial art combining the most effective combat techniques like judo, karate and a great deal of different wrestling styles. The sport is still striving to become an Olympic one.

Having been developed in the 1920's in the Soviet Army, it has been gradually gaining popularity all over the globe.

The latest World Cup leg has just been held in Moscow, with over 300 athletes from 25 countries settling scores on the mat.

“The tournament is held right on the eve of the World Championships, which will take place in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, this time around. So most of the national teams here are represented by their leading athletes, who are fine-tuning their form,” says Sergey Eliseev, President of Russian and European Sambo Federations. “This makes the tournament one of the most competitive events in the international calendar.”

Having the longest tradition in the sport, Team Russia enter any event as favorites. This time was no different, as a number of deciders turned out to be all-Russian finals, including the 100-kilogram clash between Alsim Chernoskulov and Artyom Osipenko.

A World Champion, and two-time European belt holder, versus another Euro winner, and it certainly grabbed the fans' attention. With the rivalry being extremely close, it was Chernoskulov who impressed the judges just that little bit more.

“The level of the competition is very high so I didn't set out solely to win gold. I was simply attempting to do as well as possible and test myself in the 100-kilos. All the bouts were very tough, and as for the final, Artyom and myself know each other pretty well,” Chernoskulov told RT afterwards.

“When we meet we call it a ‘bone-to-bone’ fight, meaning two opponents who are equal, and it was only tactics, which gave me the edge in this one,” he said.

Meanwhile, it often turns into eye-catching and emotion-packed mat-action when it comes to women's fights. A nearly flawless arm bar submission – that was the way Russia's Anna Subbotina overcame her opponent from Bulgaria, Maria Oryashkova.

“It's been a tough and a very long-awaited victory for me. I have finally beaten her, and being on home soil definitely helped me win!” a glowing Subbotina said.

15 gold medals was the harvest Russians collected at the 2009 World Championship finals in Greece. And it would take a brave person to bet against them upping that tally next time out in Uzbekistan.