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  


Sadulaev Reaches Summit of European Podium for a Fifth Time

By Eric Olanowski

ROME, Italy (February 15) --- Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) reached the summit of the European podium for the fifth time and improved his senior continental record to an unblemished 22-0. He has four European championship titles and a gold medal at the 2015 European Games which took the place of the European Championships in that year.

"It’s my fifth European championship gold, but I hope it’s not the last. There are six-time champions like Bouvaisar SAITIEV (RUS) and seven-time champions like Aleksander MEDVED (URS). Alexandre KARELIN (RUS) is a 12-time European champ, but I might not be able to achieve as much as he did." said Sadualev after he was asked if he's chasing Karelin's European title record. 

Sadualev led the cast of Russian wrestlers who claimed three of five gold medals on Saturday. Russia commands a 27 point lead over Azerbaijan in the team race heading into the closing the day of the European Championships. 

Sadualev defeated Albert SARITOV (ROU), 6-0, in what was a battle of Rio Olympic medalists. The Russian won gold in Rio and Saritov finished with a bronze medal. 

In the finals, the “Russian Tank” scored his first takedown with seven seconds left on the shot clock and led 2-0. He tacked on a second takedown and carried the 4-0 lead into the second period. The four-time world champion added a third takedown and claimed his sixth European gold medal with the 6-0 win. 

"It was not that easy to win. The draw wasn't good for me. Starting from the first match I had serious opponents. I am pleased with the result, but not really pleased with the way I wrestled," said Sadulaev. 

Azamat TUSKAEV (RUS) celebrates his 57kg gold-medal win by circling the mat with the Russian flag draped over his back. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Azamat TUSKAEV (RUS) and Kurban SHIRAEV (RUS) were the two other Russian’s who claimed continental gold on Saturday night. 

Tuskaev started the finals off on a good note for the Russian Federation. "I had to make all the others want to repeat my result, so it was a bit more difficult. If I had lost, it wouldn’t have been nice for the others. I gave them the so-called impulse to win," said Tuskaev.

He topped Suleyman ATLI (TUR), 3-1, in the 57kg finals, stopping the Turkish wrester from winning back-to-back European titles.

He fell to Atli in the 2017 U23 European finals, 4-2, but avenged that loss on Saturday night. "We have wrestled against each other a few times already. Sometimes I won, sometimes he did," Tuskaev said. "I knew his wrestling style. Honestly, I didn’t want to lose. It’s my first time wrestling at the European Championships and I wanted to win." 

Tuskaev controlled the entire finals match with a left-sided underhook and stopped Atli from getting to any of his offense. In the first period, Tuskaev tossed Atli out of bounds for the one-point stepout and carried the slim advantage into the second period. He scored an inactivity point and extended his lead to two points but surrendered a head inside single near the out of bounds line and conceded the one-point stepout. The Russian grabbed another point after a failed Turkish challenge and stood atop the European podium for the first time in his career.

Tuskaev now sits behind reigning two-time world champion Zaur UGUEV (RUS) as the favorite to represent Russia at the Olympic Games. "I have to work three times harder to take over his spot. So, we will keep working hard and we will see. I will go back home, have some rest and then I will keep training," Tuskaev said about the potential path to taking Ugev's starting spot.

Kurban SHIRAEV (RUS) salutes the crowd after winning the 65kg gold medal. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Kurban Shiraev, the 20-year-old phenom, was the third Russian gold-medal winner. He shutout Niurgun SKRIABIN (BLR), 5-0, in the 65kg finals and continued his dominant 2020 season that just saw him win the “Toughest Tournament in the World,” the Ivan Yariguin. "We have come a long way to achieve it. We have been training a lot. I concentrated well on the match and I won," the youngster said after his match.

Shiraev showed that he has what it takes to wrestle with the best in the world. In the finals, He scored a takedown, an exposure and an inactivity point, while also putting on a defensive display of expertise en route to the 65kg title. 

Shiraev’s emergence at 65kg adds to the insane depth that Russia already had. Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS) is the front-runner to represent Russia in the Tokyo Olympic Games. But Russia also has Rio Olympic champion Soslan RAMONOV (RUS), two-time world bronze medalist Akhmed CHAKEV (RUS) and now Shiraev, among many others, vying for the opportunity to be Russia’s guy at 65kg.

When asked about where he sees himself in the pecking order at 65kg, Shiraev said, "I have to keep working hard. Of course, they are all my elder brothers and rivals at the same time. In general. I have to train hard to be a leader." 

Magomedmurad GADZHIEV (POL) flexes after beating Aghahuseyn MUSTAFAYEV (AZE), 2-0, in the 70kg finals. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Gadzhiev and Kadzimahamedau Non-Russian Champions 
Magomedmurad GADZHIEV (POL) and Mahamedkhabib KADZIMAHAMEDAU (BLR) were the two non-Russian wrestlers that claimed European golds on Saturday night. 

Gadzhiev scored an inactivity point in each period and defeated returning European silver medalist Aghahuseyn MUSTAFAYEV (AZE), 2-0, in the 70kg finals. 

Gadzhiev won his second career European title and first since 2016. Coming into Saturday finals, the Polish reigning world bronze medalist was 1-4 in continental gold-medal matches. Gadzhiev improved his European finals record to 2-4 with his win in Rome.

Kadzimahamedau stopped Magomed RAMAZANOV (RUS) in the 79kg finals, ending Russia’s quest to go four-for-four in gold-medal matches on Saturday. Kadzimahamedau led 2-1 after the first period, but after surrendering a second-period takedown, he exploded to score eight unanswered points in the final 90 seconds. He walked away with the 10-3 victory and his first continental title.

The final session of the European Championships kicks off at 18:00 (local time) and can be followed live on www.unitedworldwrestling.org.

GOLD - Azamat TUSKAEV (RUS) df. Suleyman ATLI (TUR), 3-1 
BRONZE - Stevan MICIC (SRB) vs. Mihran JABURYAN (ARM), 10-0 
BRONZE - Horst LEHR (GER) df. Georgi VANGELOV (BUL), 6-3 

GOLD - Kurban SHIRAEV (RUS) df. Niurgun SKRIABIN (BLR), 5-0 
BRONZE - Erik ARUSHANIAN (UKR) df. Marwane Ahmed YEZZA (FRA), via fall 

GOLD - Magomedmurad GADZHIEV (POL) df. Aghahuseyn MUSTAFAYEV (AZE), 2-0 
BRONZE - Mihail SAVA (MDA) df. Gevorg MKHEYAN (ARM), 8-7
BRONZE - Haydar YAVUZ (TUR) df. Mirza SKHULUKHIA (GEO), 7-1 

GOLD - Mahamedkhabib KADZIMAHAMEDAU (BLR) df. Magomed RAMAZANOV (RUS), 10-3
BRONZE - Jabrayil HASANOV (AZE) df. Batuhan DEMIRCIN (TUR), 5 - 4
BRONZE - Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR) df. Dzhemal Rushen ALI (BUL)

GOLD - Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) df. Albert SARITOV (ROU), 6-0 
BRONZE - Elizbar ODIKADZE (GEO) df. Nurmagomed GADZHIYEV (AZE), 3-2 
BRONZE - Abraham CONYEDO (ITA) df. Gennadij CUDINOVIC (GER), 4-0