Kuchmii Crushes Kayaalp's Quest for a Tenth European Title

By Eric Olanowski

ROME, Italy (February 10) --- Mykola KUCHMII (UKR) shocked Riza KAYAALP (TUR) in the quarterfinals and halted the Turkish big man’s quest to win a tenth European title.

Kuchmii scored five unanswered points against Kayaalp, the four-time world champion, and handed the Turkish wrestler his first loss at the European Championships since 2009. He’ll wrestle Alin ALEXUC CIURARIU (ROU) in tonight’s 130kg semifinals.

Alexuc Ciurariu, a two-time European bronze medalist, defeated Zurabi GEDEKHAURI (RUS) and Rio Olympic bronze medalist Sabah SHARIATI (AZE) on his road to the semifinals.

The other 130kg semifinal will feature Arvi Martin SAVOLAINEN (FIN) and Levan ARABULI (GEO).

At 55kg, Nugzari TSURTSUMIA (GEO) will battle Vitalii KABALOEV (RUS) in a matchup of the reigning world champion and reigning European champion. Tsurtsumia, the top-ranked wrestler in the world at 55kg, won the pair’s latest meeting, which came at the 2019 World Championships. The Georgian won that quarterfinals match in Nur-Sutlan, 8-3.

On the opposite side of the bracket, 2018 world champion Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE) will square off against Edmond NAZARYAN (BUL). Nazaryan, a 2019 cadet world bronze medalist, is making his debut at the senior level. He has one appearance at the U15 level and seven showings at the cadet level but hasn’t appeared at any junior or U23 events.

Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) will wrestle Islam ABBASOV (AZE) for a spot in the 87kg finals. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Second-ranked Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) will go toe-to-toe with reigning European silver medalist Islam ABBASOV (AZE) in one of the 87kg semifinals.

Age-group stars Aleksandr KOMAROV (RUS) and Semen NOVIKOV (UKR) will wrestle in the second 87kg semifinal. Komarov is a four-time age-group world champion, and Novikov, who is replacing top-ranked Zhan BELENIUK (UKR), is the reigning two-time U23 world champion.

Stig-Andre BERGE (NOR) will wrestle the U23 world bronze medalist Maksim NEHODA (BLR) in the first semifinal at 63kg. Berge, a Rio Olympic bronze medalist, is trying to make it to his third consecutive European finals and fourth overall.

Mihai MIHUT (ROU) and Ibragim LABAZANOV (RUS) will tango in the second 63kg semifinal. Mihut is in the hunt to get back to his second European final and first since he won the 2018 title.

If Mihut and Berge win on Monday night, it'll set up a rematch of the 2018 European finals, which the Romanian won, 3-2. 

Zotlan LEVAI (HUN) will wrestle Volodymyr YAKOVLIEV (UKR) in the 77kg semifinals. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

At 77kg, Zotlan LEVAI (HUN) defeated 2019 world silver medalist Alex KESSIDIS (SWE) and two-time age-group world champion Islam OPIEV (RUS) on his way to the semifinals. He'll meet Volodymyr YAKOVLIEV (UKR) for a spot in the Tuesday night finals. 

Fifth-ranked Chalyan downed Nicolas Peter CHRISTEN (SUI), Pavel LIAKH (BLR) and 2017 world champion Viktor NEMES (SRB), and will see Sanan SULEYMANOV (AZE) in the other 77kg semifinal.

The Day One Greco-Roman semifinals kick-off at 16:00 (local time) and can be followed live on www.unitedworldwrestling.org.

SEMIFINAL - Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE) vs. Edmond Armen NAZARYAN (BUL)

SEMIFINAL - Stig-Andre BERGE (NOR) vs. Maksim NEHODA (BLR) 




Monday (February 10)
18:00 - Semifinal GR – 55-63-77-87-130kg

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