Greco-Roman Rankings: Fumita, Borrero, Kayaalp Secure Top Billing for Olympic Games
Thursday, April 2, 2020 - 12:15 By Eric Olanowski
CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (April 2) – Reigning world champions Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN), Ismael BORRERO (CUB) and Riza KAYAALP (TUR) constructed insurmountable leads (greater than 18 points) over the rest of the field in their respective weight classes and assured themselves the top seed at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.
In addition to Fumita, Borrero and Kayaalp, reigning world champs Tamas LORINCZ (HUN) and Musa EVLOEV (RUS) are also ranked first in one of the six Olympic weight categories.
Nur-Sultan silver medalist Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) is the lone non-returning world champion who is ranked first at an Olympic weight. He won his sixth Ranking Series title and a silver medal at the European Championships and earned the top billing at 87kg.
In the four non-Olympic weight classes, Nugzari TSURTSUMIA (GEO), Shinobu OTA (JPN), Abuiazid MANTSIGOV (RUS) and Lasha GOBADZE (GEO) sit in the No. 1 spot heading into the final Ranking Series event.
Fumita Locks up Top-Seed at 60kg
Kenichiro Fumita compiled a commanding 38-point lead over Sergey EMELIN (RUS) and locked up the top seed for the Olympic Games at 60kg.
Fumita, who is looking to become the first Japanese Greco-Roman wrestler to win Olympic gold since 1984, led Emelin by 20 points after he scored the 10-5 win over the Russian in 60kg world finals. The two-time world champion extended his lead to 38 points after he claimed the Asian title in New Delhi. He beat No.15 Zholaman SHARSHENBEKOV (KGZ) in New Delhi and assured himself the top seed for the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games.
“It’s an honor,” Fumita said of the top seed. “It’s a rare thing, as there has hardly been any Japanese No. 1 going into the Olympics. For me, with No. 1 seed comes responsibility, but I will work hard to be worthy of it.”
Emelin sat out of the European Championships in Rome, which allowed the Turkish youngster Kerem KAMAL (TUR) to move within 12 points of the second-ranking.
Kamal began the year ranked 15th after his 21st place at the World Championships. He finished in fifth at the Matteo Pellicone, then captured a silver medal at the European Championships and leaped 12 spots to No.3 in the latest rankings. He’s tied with Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) with 28 points but holds criteria over the Uzbek wrestler because Bakhramov competed up at 63kg at the World Championships.
The top-20 wrestlers at 60kg all have at least 14 Ranking Series points, which means an 18-point Ranking Series gold medal could potentially catapult them into the top-four of the rankings.
Top-Ten at 60kg
1. Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) - 78
2. Sergey EMELIN (RUS) - 40
3. Kerem KAMAL (TUR) - 28
4. Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) - 28
5. Ali Reza Ayat Ollah NEJATI (IRI) - 25
6. Mirambek AINAGULOV (KAZ) - 25
7. Elmurat TASMURADOV (UZB) - 20
8. Lenur TEMIROV (UKR) - 20
9. Gevorg GHARIBYAN (ARM) - 20
10. Ivo Serafimov ANGELOV (BUL) - 18
Borrero Blows Open Top Seed Race at 67kg
Defending Olympic champion Ismael Borrero blew the top off the race to the top seed and will begin his quest to win back-to-back gold medals perched atop the 67kg bracket at the Olympic Games.
The two-time world champion came into the season with a 20-point lead over Artem SURKOV (RUS). He added 20 points to his previous total with his gold-medal performance at the Pan-American Championships.
Borrero has 80 points and owns the staggering 40-point lead over Surkov.
Surkov sat out of the European Championships and is in jeopardy of losing his second seed. He has a slight one and two-point advantage over Mate NEMES (SRB) and Mohamed ELSAYED (EGY), respectively.
Nemes, a world bronze medalist, started the year ranked fourth. He rose to No.3 with a seventh-place finish at the European Championships, which was worth 14-points. Nemes is one point ahead of Egypt’s Nur-Sultan fifth-place finisher, El Sayed.
Although it was only one spot, El Sayed made the critical leap from fifth to fourth and is in prime position to earn a seed at the Olympic Games. But he's only 16 points ahead of the tenth-ranked wrestler, which means there are still at least six guys who can catch him.
Two of those guys who are looking to add their name to the seeding consideration are Hansu RYU (KOR) and Frank STAEBLER (GER). The pair who combine for five world titles are both coming off winning continental golds and have their sights on an Olympic seed.
Ryu, a ’17 and ’13 world champion, went 4-0 in New Delhi and captured his third Asian title. He’s ranked fifth and is only two points behind El Sayed.
Staebler, on the other hand, began the year ranked third, but has since dropped to No. 8. The three-time world champion bumped up to 72kg, where he cruised past Iuri LOMADZE (GEO) in the finals and grabbed his second European title.
After his finals match in Rome, Staebler announced that this was his last time he'd compete at the continental championships. "This was the last European Championships of my career. I am very happy to end the European cycle with a gold medal. The next stop is the Tokyo Olympic Games for an Olympic medal."
Top-Ten at 67kg
1. Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) - 80
2. Artem SURKOV (RUS) - 40
3. Mate NEMES (SRB) - 39
4. Mohamed Ibrahim Elsayed Ibrahi ELSAYED (EGY) 38
5. Hansu RYU (KOR) - 36
6. Makhmud BAKHSHILLOEV (UZB) - 34
7. Ashu ASHU (IND) - 26
8. Frank STAEBLER (GER) - 25
9. Morten THORESEN (NOR) - 22
10. Anthony Javier PALENCIA PUENTES (VEN) - 22
Pair of Hungarians Ranked Inside Top Four at 77kg
The Hungarian duo of Tamas Lorincz and Zotlan LEVAI (HUN) are both ranked inside the top four of the lastest rankings at 77kg.
But, reigning world champion Lorincz received the nod to represent his nation at the Olympic Games – which will ultimately remove fourth-ranked Levai from top-four seeding contention.
Pavel LIAKH (BLR), who is ranked fifth right now, will receive the one spot bump once Levai departs the rankings. Without Levai, Liakh has the potential to be the fourth-seeded wrestler at 77kg when Tokyo rolls around.
Top-ranked Lorincz commanded a 20-point lead over Sweden’s Alex KESSIDIS to start the season. But the Hungarian has been absent all season, which allowed his world finals opponent to move to within two points of stealing the No.1 ranking.
Kessidis, who became Sweden’s first GR world finalist since 2011 (Jimmy LIDBERG), fell to Levai in the opening round of the European Championships. He clawed his way back to a bronze-medal finish, which was worth 18 points. Kessidis moved to within two points of earning the top seed at the Olympic Games.
Third-ranked Karapet CHALYAN (ARM) scored wins over former world champion Viktor NEMES (SRB) and fifth-ranked Liakh at the European Championships. Although he fell to eventual champion Sanan SULEYMANOV (AZE), Chalyan still finished with a bronze medal.
The top 11 athletes at the weight are still within striking distance of Liakh and have a shot at earning an Olympic seed with an 18-point gold-medal finish at the final Ranking Series event.
Top-Ten at 77kg
1. Tamas LORINCZ (HUN) - 60
2. Alex Michel BJURBERG KESSIDIS (SWE) - 58
3. Karapet CHALYAN (ARM) - 38
4. Zotlan LEVAI (HUN) - 36
5. Pavel LIAKH (BLR) - 26
6. Wuileixis de Jesus RIVAS ESPINOZA (VEN) - 26
7. Mohammadali Abdolhamid GERAEI (IRI) - 25
8. JALGASBAY BERDIMURATOV (UZB) - 25
9. Sanan SULEYMANOV (AZE) - 22
10. Askhat DILMUKHAMEDOV (KAZ) - 20
Lorincz Moves Past Beleniuk for No. 1 Spot at 87kg
Viktor Lorincz entered the European Championships four points shy of overthrowing reigning world champion Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) for the No.1 spot at 87kg. Despite losing to Ukrainian youngster Semen NOVIKOV (UKR) in the gold-medal match of the European Championships, Lorincz earned the 18-point silver medal and moved 14-points ahead of Beleniuk.
Lorincz, who has a perfect 23-0 record in Ranking Series events, only needs to finish top-five at the final Ranking Series event to assure himself the No. 1 seed that he's so desperately chasing. "I want to win the [European Championships and Poland Open] because it will help my seed for the Olympic Games," said Lorincz, the defending world silver medalist at 87kg. “I will also be in the lead for the Ranking Series again.”
Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB), a world bronze medalist, is ranked third. He’s 23 points behind second-ranked Beleniuk after finishing in fifth place at the Asian Championships.
Kumar SUNIL (IND) rounds out the top four at 87kg. He started the year ranked 33rd in the world but leaped 29 spots after winning gold at the Asian Championships and silver at the Matteo Pellicone. He sits five points from overthrowing Assakalov for the No. 3 spot.
Top-Ten at 87kg
1. Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) - 74
2. Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) - 60
3. Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB) - 37
4. Kumar SUNIL (IND) - 32
5. Daniel GREGORICH HECHAVARRIA (CUB) - 30
6. Azamat KUSTUBAYEV (KAZ) - 28
7. Josef Patrick RAU (USA) - 28
8. Denis Maksymilian KUDLA (GER) - 25
9. Luis Eduardo AVENDANO ROJAS (VEN) - 24
10. Mikalai STADUB (BLR) - 20
Evloev and Aleksanyan Tied Atop 97kg Rankings
Musa EVLOEV (RUS) and Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) are tied atop the rankings at 97kg heading into the final Ranking Series event. The two are only separated by the Russian’s criteria-breaking higher finish at the World Championships.
Evloev secured his second consecutive 97kg world title after Aleksanyan pulled out of the gold-medal match at the World Championships due to an injury. The Russian sat out of the Matteo Pellicone and European Championships, but still owns the No. 1 spot with his 60 points.
Aleksanyan has competed twice this year and won each tournament he's entered. He returned to the mat in early January, where he won gold at the Grand Prix de France HenriDeglane. He made his second appearance of the year at the European Championships, where he earned his fifth European title.
Aleksanyan forged a rock-solid 7-1 finals victory over tenth-ranked Nikoloz KAKHELASHVILI (ITA) and claimed his fifth career European championship title.
But Aleksanyan said he isn't worried too much about his rankings. "I am not interested in what number I am in the rankings. The most important is that I got the license for the Olympics. There will be 16 athletes, and I will be one of them wrestling for the Olympic gold."
The Rio Olympic champion had two goals coming into the year, and he checked one of those off with his European championship gold-medal performance. "My first goal was to become a five-time European champion. The Olympics are ahead and I want to become a two-time Olympic champion in Tokyo."
Turkey’s Rio Olympic bronze medalist Cenk ILDEM is ranked third at the weight. He finished in third place at the World and European Championships and 19 points behind Evloev and Aleksanyan.
Asian champion Mohammadhadi SARAVI (IRI) is ranked fourth at 97kg. The Iranian is five points behind Ildem but has less than an 18-point over the next nine wrestlers.
Top-Ten at 97kg
1. Musa EVLOEV (RUS) - 60
2. Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) - 60
3. Cenk ILDEM (TUR) - 41
4. Mohammadhadi Abdollah SARAVI (IRI) - 36
5. Nikoloz KAKHELASHVILI (ITA) - 36
6. Tadeusz MICHALIK (POL) - 32
7. Tracy Gangelo HANCOCK (USA) -32
8. Artur OMAROV (CZE) - 30
9. Gabriel Alejandro ROSILLO KINDELAN (CUB) - 30
10. Mélonin NOUMONVI (FRA) - 26
Kayaalp Seals No. 1 Seed at 130kg
Despite failing in his quest to win a tenth European title, Turkey’s Riza Kayaalp amassed a 22-point lead over second-ranked Abdellatif MOHAMED (EGY) and sealed up the No. 1 seed at 130kg at the Olympic Games.
Kayaalp downed Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB) in the 130kg finals at the World Championships and won his fourth world title belt. Thanks to his winning efforts in Nur-Sultan, the Turkish big man started the year with 60 points. He tacked on 12 points after a disappointing seventh-place finish at the European Championships. But, through it all, Kayaalp somehow constructed a 22-point lead over second-ranked Mohamed and now has the luxury of sitting out of the final Ranking Series event and still keeping his top seed.
Egypt’s Mohamed made arguably the most significant leap in the rankings since the year started. He went from unranked to No. 2 heading into the final Ranking Series event after winning the Matteo Pellicone and the African Championships. Mohamed is ten points ahead of Pino Hinds, but with the reemergence of the Cuban giant Mijian LOPEZ (CUB), Pino Hinds will be removed from the rankings as Lopez attempts to win an unprecedented fourth Greco-Roman Olympic gold medal.
Moises Salvador PEREZ HELLBURG (VEN) and Muminjon ABDULLAEV (UZB) will each receive bumps from Pino Hinds’ absence and will be ranked third and fourth, respectively.
Perez Hellburg jumped from 18th to fourth with top-three finishes at the Matteo Pellicone and Pan-American Championships. The Venezuelan fell to second-ranked Mohamed in the finals of the first Ranking Series event, then went 2-1 at the continental championships and finished with a bronze medal.
Abdullaev will ultimately move into the No. 5 slot once Pino Hinds is removed from the rankings. The Uzbek wrestler started the year ranked fourth and slipped one spot after a bronze-medal finish at the Matteo Pellicone.
Every wrestler in the top-20 is still within distance of catching Abdullaev for the No. 4 spot.
Top-Ten at 130kg
1. Riza KAYAALP (TUR) - 72
2. Abdellatif mohamed ahmed MOHAMED (EGY) - 50
3. Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB) - 40
4. Moises Salvador PEREZ HELLBURG (VEN) - 28
5. Muminjon ABDULLAEV (UZB) - 26
6. Adam Jacob COON (USA) - 26
7. Heiki NABI (EST) - 25
8. Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO) - 25
9. Eduard POPP (GER) - 20
10. Amir Mohammadali GHASEMIMONJEZI (IRI) - 20