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Hold tight ’cause we’re about to grapple with the might of wrestling around the world!

From the lands of ancient warriors to today’s dynamic rings, wrestling remains a fierce favorite.

Are you geared up to discover where this combat sport reigns supreme?

Countries where wrestling is most popular:

  1. Russia
  2. United States
  3. Iran
  4. Japan
  5. Turkey
  6. India
  7. Azerbaijan
  8. Kazakhstan
  9. Georgia
  10. Bulgaria
  11. Ukraine
Wrestling

#1 Russia

Tasnim News Agency, 2016 Summer Olympics, Men’s Freestyle Wrestling 57 kg 1, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 4.0

Wrestling in Russia is a celebrated tradition and a source of national pride, owing to the country’s historic dominance in the sport. Russian wrestlers are renowned for their technical prowess and have consistently achieved top honors in Olympic and World Championships, cementing their reputation as wrestling powerhouses.

The sport’s significance is further emphasized in Russian culture through state-supported schools and clubs where young talents are nurtured into world-class athletes.

#2 United States

Noah Riffe, Penn State Wrestling, Nick Lee vs. Ohio State, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC0 1.0

In the United States, wrestling is ingrained in both educational institutions and competitive sports culture. High school and collegiate wrestling programs serve as breeding grounds for talent, leading many to successful careers in Olympic and international competitions.

The intense rivalries, storied programs, and high-profile events like the NCAA Wrestling Championships showcase the deep connection American sports fans have with wrestling, adding to its popularity and cultural significance.

#3 Iran

Fars Media Corporation, Tabriz Fajr Cup World Wrestling Championships (3), scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 4.0

Wrestling holds a special cultural place in Iran as both a historic and contemporary point of national pride. The sport is celebrated at all levels, from children in makeshift village gyres to world-class athletes competing in packed arenas. Iranian wrestlers are respected nationally for their strength and technical skill, often bringing home medals from international competitions.

Iranian wrestling’s reverence is intertwined with its identity, representing more than just a sport—it’s a symbol of national heritage.

#4 Japan

KKPCWPro wrestling in Osu Kannon, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 4.0

In Japan, wrestling, particularly sumo, holds a revered place in the country’s cultural heritage. Besides sumo, Japan has excelled in Olympic-style wrestling, consistently producing top competitors in both freestyle and Greco-Roman categories.

Japanese wrestlers are renowned for their technical finesse and disciplined training, regularly achieving success in international competitions, including the Olympics and World Championships.

#5 Turkey

Astro medya Org. Ltd. ŞTİ.5. Islamic Solidarity Games 2021 Konya Women Wrestling 72kg Buse Tosun 20220811, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 2.0

Wrestling is one of Turkey’s most successful and celebrated sports, deeply rooted in the nation’s history with traditional oil wrestling festivals like Kirkpinar.

Turkey is also a powerhouse in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, having produced numerous Olympic and World Championship medalists. The sport is supported extensively through national training programs and remains a source of national pride.

#6 India

Anirudha2000 2000Asit Saha refereeing at an All India level tournament in Bihar, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 4.0

Wrestling in India is an ancient sport with deep cultural significance, dating back to mythological references in the Mahabharata. Kushti, traditional Indian wrestling, is more than a sport; it’s a way of life, especially in rural areas.

The rise of modern competitive wrestling and Olympic success, most notably by Sushil Kumar, has further solidified wrestling’s place in the hearts of Indians.

#7 Azerbaijan

President.azNowruz 2017 in Azerbaijan 13, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 4.0

For Azerbaijan, wrestling is a source of national pride, deeply ingrained in its cultural fabric. Wrestlers are esteemed as national heroes, with the country producing numerous Olympic and World Championship medalists.

The traditional form, known as Gulesh, has evolved into a breeding ground for international competitors, underlining Azerbaijan’s prominent position in the wrestling world.

#8 Kazakhstan

Ed WebsterAkzhurek Tanatarov 2012b, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 2.0

Wrestling in Kazakhstan is both a beloved heritage sport and a modern competitive mainstay.

Traditional Kazakh wrestling, called Kazakh kuresi, has seen a renaissance and parallels the country’s international wrestling achievements. With wrestling being a pathway to honor and success, Kazakhstan consistently develops wrestlers who excel on the world stage, proving the sport’s significance.

#9 Georgia

Martin Rulsch, Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 4.02018-10-12 Wrestling Boys Greco-Roman 60kg at 2018 Summer Youth Olympics – Gold Medal Match KGZ-GEO (Martin Rulsch) 30, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 4.0

Wrestling in Georgia is more than a sport; it’s part of the national identity, stemming from ancient and traditional styles that have evolved over centuries.

Georgian wrestlers are especially dominant in Greco-Roman wrestling, often standing out in international arenas such as the European Games and Olympic Games. The country’s wrestling tradition promotes a strong foundation of physical conditioning and technical skill.

#10 Bulgaria

Martin Rulsch, Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 4.02018-10-12 Wrestling Boys Greco-Roman 45kg at 2018 Summer Youth Olympics – Bronze Medal Match BUL–TKM (Martin Rulsch) 44, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 4.0

Bulgaria has a rich tradition in wrestling, consistently ranking as one of the top wrestling countries in the world.

Bulgarian wrestlers have garnered numerous medals in both freestyle and Greco-Roman disciplines at the Olympics and World Championships. Wrestling is considered a national sport, with extensive support and development programs fostering new talent from a young age.

#11 Ukraine

Mms.gov.uaAlina Hrushyna (UKR), scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 4.0

Wrestling is highly popular in Ukraine, with a strong emphasis on producing internationally competitive wrestlers in both freestyle and Greco-Roman styles.

Ukrainian wrestlers are known for their technical skills and strategic approach, often making significant impacts at the European and World Championships. The sport benefits from robust national support and comprehensive training systems, which cultivate elite athletes who compete on the world stage.

Wrestling

FAQ

Which country is Wrestling played the most?

Wrestling is played the most in Russia, known for its strong wrestling tradition and consistent production of Olympic and world champions across various wrestling styles.

Which country watches Wrestling the most?

The United States watches Wrestling the most, with a significant fan base for both professional wrestling entertainment like WWE and competitive Olympic-style wrestling events.

Where was Wrestling originally played?

Wrestling was originally played in a variety of ancient civilizations, with one of the earliest recorded histories beginning in ancient Greece. Here’s a link to our Wrestling history article that further explores the sport’s origins and development.

Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When he’s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

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