18-Year-Old Nazaryan Upsets World Champion Azizli

By Eric Olanowski

ROME, Italy (February 10) --- The star-studded list of Monday-night semifinalists featured countless Olympic, world and continental medalists. But it wasn't any of the well-known stars who shinned the brightest under the lights at the Pala Pellicone Arena in the seaside town of Ostia, Italy. 

Edmond NAZARYAN (BUL), the barely 18-year-old baby-faced Bulgarian, was the unlikely star who blew the roof of the arena on his way to locking up a trip to the European finals.

Nazaryan rose to the occasion in his senior debut and scored the improbable come-from-behind fall over 2018 world champion Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE). He’ll wrestle for European gold on Tuesday night, two weeks after his 18th birthday. 

Nazaryan, the son of two-time Olympic champion Armen NAZARYAN (BUL), surrendered five first-period points but responded by lighting up the scoreboard with seven unanswered points before pancaking Azizli to his back for the fall.

The youngster will wrestle eighth-ranked Vitalii KABALOEV (RUS) on Tuesday night for the 55kg gold medal.

Kabaloev defeated Nugzari TSURTSUMIA (GEO) in the battle of reigning world champion and returning European champion. Kabaloev, the defending European champion, avenged his world quarterfinals loss against top-ranked Tsurtsumia with a 5-2 semifinals win on Monday night. 

Kabaloev will jump from fifth to second in the next rankings after locking up his finals spot. He can earn no less than 18 points, which would give him 41 Ranking Series points. He’ll hold the three-point lead over Khorlan ZHAKANSHA (KAZ).

Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) holds one finger up, signifying he'll be the top-ranked wrestler in the world at 87kg after Tuesday night's finals. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Lorincz Reaches Finals, Set to Take Over No. 1 Spot at 87kg 
Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) gained the No. 1 ranking in the world at 87kg after going 3-0 on Monday and inserting himself into Tuesday night’s finals. He entered the European Championships ranked second in the world with 56 points and added at least 18 points to his total after he reached the European finals for the second time in his career. 

If Lorincz wins gold on Tuesday night, he’ll control a 16-point advantage over Zhan BELENIUK (UKR). And even if he loses in tomorrow night’s finals, he’ll still carry a 14-point lead over Beleniuk, the reigning world champion, heading into the final Ranking Series event.

Lorincz cruised to a 6-1 semifinals victory over Islam ABBASOV (AZE) and will take on Semen NOVIKOV (UKR) for the 87kg European title.

Novikov, who is stepping in for Beleniuk, capped off his run to the finals with wins over two-time world champion Metehan BASAR (TUR) and four-time age-group world champion Aleksandr KOMAROV (RUS). 

Novikov stole his finals appearance from Komarov, who led 1-1 with six seconds left. The Ukranian locked up a front head pinch and transitioned into a gut wrench to steal the match from the Russian, 5-1.

Alin ALEXUC CIURARIU (ROU) will wrestle Levan ARABULI (GEO) in the 130kg European finals. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Alexuc Ciurariu’s Win Knocks out Kayaalp from Medal Contention 
Alin ALEXUC CIURARIU (ROU) defeated Mykola KUCHMII (UKR), 2-1, in the semifinals and knocked off four-time world champion Riza KAYAALP (TUR) from European medal contention.

Kayaalp needed Kuchmii to win to pull him back into the repechage round. 

The Turkish big man came into the European Championships searching for his tenth European title. Up until today, Kayaalp never finished lower than second place in his previous 11 trips to the European Championships. But a 5-1 quarterfinals loss to Kuchmii ended his streak of 11 consecutive European finals appearances. 

Alexuc Ciurariu will square off with Levan ARABULI (GEO) in the 130kg finals. Arabuli annihilated Arvi Martin SAVOLAINEN (FIN), 9-0, and will wrestle for European gold for the first time in his career. His previous highest finish came in 2017 when he finished with a bronze medal. 

Zotlan LEVAI (HUN) will be ranked third in the world at 77kg after the European Championships. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Levai to Join “Little Lorincz” in Top-Three of 77kg Rankings  
Thanks to Zotlan LEVAI’S (HUN) run to the European finals, Hungary will occupy two of the top three spots in the 77kg world rankings after the European Championships. Reigning world champion Tamas LORINCZ (HUN) is ranked first, and Levai will climb from 11th to third after the conclusion of the European finals. 

Levai, who won the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series event three weeks ago, was ranked 11th with 16 points. But after making the finals, Levai will depart Rome with no less than 20 Ranking Series points, moving him ahead of Mohammadali GERAEI (IRI) for the third spot in the rankings.

Levai shutout Volodymyr YAKOVLIEV (UKR), 9-0, in the semifinals, and will take on Sanan SULEYMANOV (AZE) on Tuesday night. The Azeri also picked up a shutout win in his semifinals match. He blanked Karapet CHALYAN (ARM), 3-0. 

Labazanov and Nehoda Stop 2018 European Finals Rematch from Happening
Ibragim LABAZANOV (RUS) and Maksim NEHODA (BLR) scored wins in their semifinal matches and stopped the 2018 European finals rematch between Mihai MIHUT (ROU) and Stig-Andre BERGE (NOR) from happening. 

Labazanov collected an inactivity point and a pair of exposures from the par terre position and did his part in stopping the potential continental finals rematch from taking place. He defeated Mihut, 5-1, after trailing 1-0. 

Nehoda blocked Berge from reaching the European finals for the third consecutive year. He scored a second-period inactivity point and a two-point exposure after trailing 1-0 and claimed the 3-1 victory over the 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medalist. 


SEMIFINAL - Edmond Armen NAZARYAN (BUL) df. Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE), via fall 

GOLD - Ibragim LABAZANOV (RUS) vs. Maksim NEHODA (BLR)
SEMIFINAL - Maksim NEHODA (BLR) df. Stig-Andre BERGE (NOR), 3-1 
SEMIFINAL - Ibragim LABAZANOV (RUS) df. Mihai Radu MIHUT (ROU), 5-1 

SEMIFINAL - Zotlan LEVAI (HUN) df. Volodymyr YAKOVLIEV (UKR), 7-0 

SEMIFINAL - Semen NOVIKOV (UKR) df. Aleksandr KOMAROV (RUS), 5-1 

SEMIFINAL - Levan ARABULI (GEO) df. Arvi Martin SAVOLAINEN (FIN), 9-0 


Tuesday (February 11)
8:30 - Weigh-in GR – 55-63-77-87-130kg
8:45 - Medical examination & Weigh-in GR – 60-67-72-72-82-97kg
11:30 - Qualification rounds GR – 60-67-72-82-97kg
11:30 - Repechage GR – 55-63-77-87-130kg
15:30 - Technical conference – all WW teams
15:30 -Draw WW – All weight categories
16:45 - Semi Final GR – 60-67-72-82-97kg
18:00 - Finals GR – 55-63-77-87-130kg
18:00 - Award ceremonies

Wednesday (February 12)
8:30 - Weigh-in GR – 60-67-72-82-97kg
8:45 - Medical examination & Weigh-in WW – 50-55-59-68-76kg
11:30 - Qualification rounds WW – 50-55-59-68-76kg
11:30 - Repechage GR – 60-67-72-82-97kg 
16:45 - Semi Final WW – 50-55-59-68-76kg
18:00 - Finals GR – 60-67-72-82-97kg
18:00 - Award ceremonies

Thursday (February 13)
8:30 - Weigh-in WW – 50-55-59-68-76kg
8:45 - Medical examination & Weigh-in WW – 53-57-62-65-72kg
11:30 - Qualification rounds WW – 53-57-62-65-72kg
11:30 - Repechage WW – 50-55-59-68-76kg
14:00 - Technical conference – all FS teams
14:00 - Draw FS – All weight categories
16:45 - page4image515539072Semi Final WW – 53-57-62-65-72kg 
18:00 - Finals WW – 50-55-59-68-76kg
18:00 - Award ceremonies

Friday (February 14)
8:30 - Weigh-in WW – 53-57-62-65-72kg 
8:45 - Medical examination & Weigh-in FS – 57-65-70-79-97kg
11:30 - Qualification rounds FS – 57-65-70-79-97kg
11:30 - Repechage WW – 53-57-62-65-72kg 
16:45 - Semi Final FS – 57-65-70-79-97kg 
18:00 - Finals WW – 53-57-62-65-72kg
18:00 -Award ceremonies 

Saturday (February 15)
8:30 - Weigh-in FS – 57-65-70-79-97kg 
8:45 - Medical Examination & Weigh-in FS – 61-74-86-92-125kg
11:30 - Qualification rounds FS – 61-74-86-92-125kg 
11:30 - Repechage FS – 57-65-70-79-97kg 
16:45 - Semi Final FS – 61-74-86-92-125kg
18:00 - Finals FS – 57-65-70-79-97kg
18:00 - Award ceremonies 

Sunday (February 16)
8:30 - Weigh-in FS – 61-74-86-92-125kg
16:00 - Repechage FS – 61-74-86-92-125kg 
18:00 - Finals FS – 61-74-86-92-125kg
18:00 - Award ceremonies
21:30 - Final banquet


Chamizo Wins Clash Against Gazimagomedov, Claims Fourth European Title

By Eric Olanowski

ROME, Italy (February 16) --- Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) dramatically claimed his fourth European title in front of a friendly Italian crowd on Sunday. He scored the match-deciding takedown with under 25 seconds left to defeat fellow two-time world champion Magomedrasul GAZIMAGOMEDOV (RUS), 5-3. 

After winning his fourth European gold medal, Chamizo said this win was the sweetest because it was in front of his hometown Italian fans. “This (European title) is the best. It’s in my home; It’s the best,” he said. “European people say Italy doesn’t know about wrestling. Today, everyone was here to support me, and that’s amazing. I want to say thank you to the Italian people for coming.”

Chamizo entered the European Championships ranked No. 2 in the world, trailing reigning two-time world champion Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS) by 20 points. He grabbed the 22-point gold medal and is the new top-ranked wrestler in the world at 74kg. 

“I’m wrestling in Poland. It’s a Ranking Series tournament and I want to come into (the Olympic Games) ranked No. 1,” he said. 

In the finals, Chamizo scored an inactivity point in the first period, but conceded a left-sided single leg and fell behind 2-1. 

In the second period, the Italian superstar fought off a near-takedown on the edge, and luckily for him, the refs awarded Gazimagomedov the one-point stepout point and not the two-point takedown, putting the Russian in front, 3-1. Chamizo, who trailed by two points, snapped Gazimagomedov to the mat and spun behind, but the Russian kicked out and surrendered the stepout point.

Chamizo trailed 3-2 when he jammed Gazimagomedov’s double-leg attempt with his heavy hips and spun behind for the match deciding takedown. “I knew he was coming. He needed to take my legs to win, he said. “If you want, you can come. I have a surprise for you.”

But there was still time on the clock and Chamizo nearly threw the match away with 10 seconds left. 

He gave up a single leg and was one second away from giving up the stepout. Chamizo held Gazimagomedov off long enough to defend his European crown from last year and win his fourth continental title. “The outside people say the match is too close. But, when you know you’ve trained good, you can do whatever you want.” 

After the award ceremony, Chamizo stated he believes that Gazimagomedov is a lot better than the man that beat him in last year’s world finals, Zaurbek Sidakov. “(Sidakov) is a cool guy, and he’s training good, but I think (Gazimagomedov) is much better than him,” Chamizo said. “Look, (Sidakov and I) wrestled in 2018, and my training was about 50%. I didn’t perform. It was the same thing in 2019. My knee and ankle weren’t good. Right now, I’m good. But, where is (Sidakov)?”
After winning the Ivan Yariguin title, Gazimagomedov stated a similar opinion as Chamzio. He said, “In Russia, many understand that I will win against Sidakov, but perhaps we will not be allowed to meet on the mat because we don’t have a very transparent selection system.”

As it sits now, Sidakov is the top choice to represent Russia at the Olympic Games. But, Gazimagomedov’s Yariguin win and European silver-medal finish further his case that he deserves at least a wrestle-off to show just how worthy of a competitor he is. 

Aleksandr BOGOMOEV (RUS) attacks Beka LOMTADZE (GEO) in the 61kg European finals. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

Bogomoev and Naifonov Close out Team-Title Run for Russia 
Aleksandr BOGOMOEV (RUS) and Artur NAIFONOV (RUS) reeled in gold medals and helped the Russian Federation lock up the freestyle team title. Russia finished with 186 points, which was 70 points ahead of second-place Azerbaijan and 91 points ahead of third-place Georgia. 

Bogomoev defeated the reigning world champion and the returning European champion en route to the 61kg gold medal. His win on Sunday added Russia’s dominating lightweight performance in which they won gold in the first three weight classes. 

Bogomoev joined lightweights Azamat TUSKAEV (RUS) and Kurban SHIRAEV (RUS), who won the 57kg and 65kg gold medals, respectively. 

Bogomoev scored a last-second takedown against returning European champion Arsen HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) and moved into the finals with the 5-5 criteria win. He closed his run to the non-Olympic weight gold medal with a one-point win over returning world champion Beka LOMTADZE (GEO). 

In the finals, Bogomoev commanded a convincing 3-0 lead midway through the second period. He scored an inactivity point, then capitalized on a high crotch while he was on the shot clock. He gave up a second-period takedown, which cut his lead to one point. Bogomoev fought off a flurry of Georgian attacks and won his second European title and first defeating Lomtadze in the 2015 European Games. 

Artur NAIFONOV (RUS) finishes a shot on Myles AMINE (SMR) in the 86kg finals. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Artur Naifonov was the second Russian of the day and fifth of the tournament to claim European gold. He stopped Myles AMINE (SMR) from becoming the first athlete from San Marino to ever win a European title with a 4-0 shutout win in the 86kg finals. 

In the gold-medal match, Naifonov scored three stepouts and an inactivity point and won his second European title and first since winning the 2018 crown in Dagestan, Russia. 

Suleyman KARADENIZ (TUR) carries the Turkish flag around the mat after defeating Samuel SCHERRER (SUI) in the 92kg finals. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

Karadeniz and Petriashvili Claim Final Two European Golds 
Suleyman KARADENIZ (TUR) and Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) claimed the final two golds of the European Championships. 

At 92kg, Karadeniz stopped Samuel SCHERRER (SUI) from ending Switzerland’s 85-year freestyle continental gold-medal drought. 

Karadeniz snuck behind Scherrer and nearly scored the matches first takedown but ran out of real estate and collected the inactivity point. He picked up another stepout, then tacked on an inactivity point and claimed his first European title with a 3-0 shutout victory. 

Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) won his second European title with an 11-0 win over Robert BARAN (POL) in the 125kg gold-medal match. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

Petriashvili stopped Robert BARAN (POL) for the second time in the European finals and won his second European title. The three-time world champion ended the match in the first period after scoring the 11-0 technical superiority victory. His 11 points came from a stepout, two takedowns and three gut wrenches.

BRONZE - Arsen HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) df. Georgios PILIDIS (GRE), via injury default 
BRONZE - Nikolai OKHLOPKOV (ROU) df. Intigam VALIZADA (AZE), 3-1 

GOLD - Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) df. Magomedrasul GAZIMAGOMEDOV (RUS), 5-3 
BRONZE -  Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO) df. Miroslav KIROV (BUL), via fall 

GOLD - Artur NAIFONOV (RUS) df. Myles Nazem AMINE (SMR), 4-0 
BRONZE - Boris MAKOEV (SVK) df. Akhmed Adamovitch MAGAMAEV (BUL), 6-5 

GOLD - Suleyman KARADENIZ (TUR) df. Samuel SCHERRER (SUI), 3-0 
BRONZE - Aslanbek ALBOROV (AZE) df. Irakli MTSITURI (GEO), 2-0 
BRONZE - Amarhajy MAHAMEDAU (BLR) df. Marzpet GALSTYAN (ARM), 7-0 

GOLD - Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) df. Robert BARAN (POL), 11-0 
BRONZE - Levan BERIANIDZE (ARM) df. Jamaladdin MAGOMEDOV (AZE), 2-2