Dutch star Geoffrey Berens has taken a narrow lead in the World Karate Federation (WKF) under 60 kilograms kumite world rankings.
However, less than 200 points separate the top three names in a fiercely contested battle.
Berens, a World Championships silver medallist in 2014, now lies on 3,156 at the top of the list.
Brazil's two-time world champion Douglas Brose, the man who beat Berens in the final three years ago, lies just six points behind.
Amir Mehdizadeh of Iran lies third on 2,980.
Such is the strength in depth in this division that the winner of the most recent Karate1 Premier League leg in Paris, Sadriddin Saymatov of Uzbekistan, lies down in 27th in the rankings.
Alexandra Recchia is one of two French rankings leaders in the women's under 50kg kumite category.
She lies on 4,505 points to sit in front of Austria's Bettina Plank, on 4,079, and Serap Ozcelik of Turkey, on 3,053.
Lucie Ignace also leads the under 61kg event for France with 4,647 points.
Ingrida Suchankova of Slovakia lies just 51 points behind in second.
Europe continues to be the most dominant continent in the rankings.
Spain boast two world number ones: Sandra Sanchez in the women's kata event and Damian Quintero in the corresponding men's division.
Alisa Buchinger of Austria leads the women's kumite under 68kg list while Yves Martial Tadissi heads the men's kumite under 67kg standings.
Brazil's Valeria Kumizaki upsets the trend in the women's under 55kg kumite.
Ryutaro Araga is one of two Japanese rankings leaders in the men's under 84kg kumite event.
Ayumi Uekusa is the other in the women's over 68kg kumite.