The words "challenge" and "challenger" are well-known, but is there such a term as "challengee" - as I read somewhere? In other words, what would be an appropriate term to describe the person challenged, for instance, to play a challenge match? Unsure whether to ask for the "antonym" of challenger.
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However Opponent is in my opinion a better word for the other person in a contest
The term generally used in boxing (which would be a good fit for what you want) is "defending champion."