Amirli and Kerkvliet Return to Cadet World Finals

By Taylor Miller

ZAGREB, Croatia – Returning World champions Alihasan AMIRLI (AZE) and Daniel KERKVLIET (USA) sealed spots in the Cadet World finals for the second year in a row.

The weights contested in the first day of action were 48 kg, 55 kg, 65 kg, 80 kg and 110 kg.

Four countries put multiple wrestlers into tomorrow’s Cadet World men’s freestyle finals, including Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia and USA.

Making it to the finals at 48 kg was 2017 World champion at 42 kg Alihasan AMIRLI (AZE), who beat out two-time Cadet World medalist Giorgi GEGELASHVILI (GEO) with a convincing 8-2 decision to move onto his second-consecutive World Championship final.

Waiting for him there is Richard FIGUEROA II (USA), who made his international debut on Monday. To get to the gold-medal bout, Figueroa defeated Mykyta ABRAMOV (UKR) in the semis with a 10-4 victory.

At 55 kg, both semifinals were determined were won within the final seconds.

This year’s Cadet Asian champion Hayato FUJITA (JPN) edged out Daviti ABDALADZE (GEO) with a 4-4 win on criteria. Fujita picked up a late takedown to secure his chance to go for gold tomorrow night.

On the other side of the bracket, Jamshidbek MARUFOV (UZB) fought off several persistent attacks from Simone PIRODDU (ITA). Marufov trailed on criteria within the final minute but scored a takedown for an eventual 5-4 win to move onto the finals.

Inalbek SHERIEV (RUS) and Dmitrii ELKANOV (RUS) will compete for gold at back-to-back weights tomorrow.

Sheriev moved on to the 65 kg finals after defeating 2018 Cadet Asian silver medalist Bekzat ZHALGASSOV (KAZ). After going up 10-0, Sheriev sealed the win with a pin at the 3:46 mark.

The other finalist at 65 kg is Turan BAYRAMOV (AZE), a 2017 Cadet World silver medalist and 2018 Cadet European champion. Bayramov landed a spot in the finals with a dominant 8-2 win over 2018 Cadet Asian champion Mohammad KARIMISEIFABAD (IRI).

The 80 kg finals will pit Elkanov against 2018 Cadet Asian champion Mohammadreza GHIYASI (IRI), who took out Sagadulla AGAEV (AZE) with a 6-1 victory.

At 110 kg, Daniel KERKVLIET (USA), a 2017 Cadet World champion, punched a ticket to his second-consecutive World finals on Monday with a close-call win over 2018 Cadet European champion Sergey KOZYREV (RUS), 2-2. Kerekvliet’s second-period takedown gave the American the win on criteria.

Looking to challenge the reigning champ is Amir ZARE (IRI), the 2018 Cadet Asian champion. Zare made it to the finals with Islam ABUEV (AZE) with an 11-0 shutout in the semifinals.

The finals are set for Tuesday at 6 p.m. local time (12 p.m. ET). The repechage for today’s five weights as well as the preliminary rounds for 45 kg, 51 kg, 60 kg, 71 kg and 92 kg will begin at 10:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m. ET).

Finals pairings
48 kg: Richard FIGUEROA (USA) vs. Alihasan AMIRLI (AZE)
55 kg: Hayato FUJITA (JPN) vs. Jamshidbek MARUFOV (UZB)
65 kg: Inalbek SHERIEV (RUS) vs. Turan BAYRAMOV (AZE)
80 kg: Dmitrii ELKANOV (RUS) vs. Mohammadreza GHIYASI (IRI)
110 kg: Amir ZARE (IRI) vs. Daniel KERKVLIET (USA)