London Gold Medalists, First-Time World Champs Top Final Greco-Roman World Rankings

By William May

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (October 16) – A trio of gold medalists from the London 2012 Olympic Games and five first-time world champions top the final United World Wrestling rankings for Greco-Roman.

Hamid SORYAN (IRI) and Mijain LOPEZ NUNEZ (CUB) won their sixth and fifth world titles at 59kg and 130kg, respectively, signaling intentions to follow the road to Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Meanwhile, KIM Hyeon-Woo (KOR) skipped the world meet in Tashkent, but held onto the No.1 rankings with a gold medal at the Asian Games.

In the final international rankings of the year, the top six places in each weight category are, in general, assigned to the finalists in the championship and bronze-medal bouts since these positions are decided “on the mat,” so to speak.

The remaining 14 places are determined through a consideration of a wrestler’s results in international competition throughout the year along with their performance at the world championships.

This year, however, a number of the top wrestlers in Asia sat out the world championships in early September, focusing instead on the Asian Games two weeks later in Incheon, Korea.

The Asian Games are a continental version of the Olympic Games similar to the Pan American Games, the All African Games, and next summer’s inaugural European Games in Baku.

Kim, the London 2012 gold medalist at 66kg and 2013 world champion at 74kg, was the only Asian Games gold medalist to top the Greco-Roman rankings, leaving first-time world champion at 75kg Arsen JULFALAKYAN (ARM) one more challenge to face on the road to Rio.

Along with the three top-ranked Olympic champions, three more gold medalists – Omid NOROOZI (IRI), JUNG Ji-Hyun (KOR) and Ghasem REZAEI (IRI).  Noroozi and Rezaei were ranked second and fourth after winning silver and bronze medals in Tashkent, while Athens 2004 winner Jung is No.5 after winning in Incheon.

Five newly minted world champions in Tashkent all claimed No.1 rankings in the final world wrestling poll, while Julfalakyan had to settle for No.2 behind Kim.

Also, unlike the freestyle and female wrestling rankings which were top-heavy with wrestlers from Russia and Japan, respectively, the final Greco-Roman rankings feature wrestlers from seven countries on top. Only Armenia has two of the top-ranked wrestlers -- Julfalakyan and teammate Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) at 98kg.

In the rankings, wrestlers are listed by name, country code, their most notable or most recent result, and their position in the previous rankings.

59kg – London 2012 gold medalist Hamid SORYAN (IRI) won his sixth world championship title – second only in Greco-Roman to the nine won by Alexander KARELIN (RUS), 1989-1999.

Kohei HASEGAWA roared from behind against 2013 world champion YUN Won-Chol (PRK) for an 8-4 triumph and his second Asian Games gold medal.

1. Hamid SORYAN (IRI) – World No.1 (1)
2. Mingiyan SEMENOV (RUS) – World No.2 (4)
3. Elmurat TASMURADOV (UZB) – World No.3 (7)
4. Stig Andre BERGE (NOR) – World No.3 (11)
5. Kohei HASEGAWA (JPN) – Asian Games No.1 (not ranked)
6. YUN Won-Chol (PRK) – Asian Games No.2 (nr)
7. Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) – World No.5 (nr)
8. Spenser MANGO (USA) – World No.5 (nr)
9. Aleksandar KOSTADINOV (BUL) – Europe No.1 (3)
10. Ivo ANGELOV (BUL) – Pytlasinski No.1 (2)
11. Ivan KUYLAKOV (RUS) – Pytlansinski No.2 (4)
12. Taleh MAMMADOV (AZE) – GGP Final No.1 (13)
13. Hatham MAHMOUD FAHMY (EGY) – World No.7 (nr)
14. WANG Lumin (CHN) – World No.8 (nr)
15. LEE Jung-Baek (KOR) – World No.9 (nr)
16. Roman AMOYAN (ARM) – German GP No.1 (6)
17. Almat KEBISPAYEV (KAZ) – Asian Games No.3 (nr)
18. Karen ASLANYAN (ARM) – German GP No.3 (12)
19. Deniz MENEKSE (GER) – World No.11 (nr)
20. Kazuma KURAMOTO (JPN) – World No.12 (nr)

66kg – Davor STEFANEK (SRB) survived a hard-fought championship final with world and Olympic Games champion Omid NOROOZI (IRI) to grab Serbia’s first world title.

At the Asian Games, 2013 world champion RYU Han-Soo (KOR) defeated world bronze medalists Afshin BYABANGARD (IRI) and Elmurat TASMURADOV (UZB) in the early rounds, then stopped London 2012 bronze medalist Ryutaro MATSUMOTO (JPN), 2-0, in the gold medal bout.

1. Davor STEFANEK (SRB) – World No.1 (5)
2. Omid NOROOZI (IRI) – World No.2 (6)
3. Tamas LORINCZ (HUN) – World No.3 ([email protected])
4. Edgaras VENCKAITIS (LTU) – World No.3 (nr)
5. RYU Han-Soo (KOR) – Asia Games No.1 (10)
6. Ryutaro MATSUMOTO (JPN) – Asian Games No.2 (nr)
7. Hasan ALIYEV (AZE) – World No.5 (2)
8. Frank STAEBLER (GER) – World No.5 (3)
9. Revaz LASHKHI (GEO) – GGP Final No.2 (4)
10. Adam KURAK (RUS) – Europe No.1 (1)
11. Istvan LEVAI (SVK) – Europe No.3 (7)
12. Aram JULFALAKYAN (ARM) – German GP No.1 (8)
13. Dominik ETLINGER (CRO) – Pytlasinski No.2 (9)
14. Hideyuki OTOIZUMI (JPN) – World No.8 (nr)
15. Mihran HARUTUNYAN (ARM) – Olympia No.1 (19)
16. Konstantin STAS (BUL) – Nikola Petrov No.3 (nr)
17. RI Hak-Won (PRK) – Asian Games No.3 (nr)
18. Khusrav OBLOBERDIEV (TJK) – Asia Games No.5 (15)
19. Ashkat ZHANBIROV (KAZ) – Spanish GP No.1 (nr)
20. Bryce SADDORIS (USA) – Pan America No.2 (nr) 

71kg – Tamas LORINCZ (HUN) topped this newly installed weight category from January, but with the European champion’s drop to 66kg, Ivan Poddubny winner Chingiz LABAZANOV (RUS) took the world championship title and earned the No.1 ranking.

Athens 2004 gold medalist JUNG Ji-Hyun (KOR) recovered from an apparent loss in the semifinals after a fall by Saied Mourad ABDVALI (IRI) was disallowed because of an illegal hold. After the restart, Jung scored five unanswered points for a 9-6 victory and eventually the gold medal.

1. Chingiz LABAZANOV (RUS) – World No.1 (4)
2. Yunus OZEL (TUR) – World No.2 (11)
3. Rasul CHUNAYEV (AZE) – World No.3 (2)
4. Afshin BYABANGARD (IRI) – World No.3 (nr)
5. JUNG Ji-Hyun (KOR) – Asian Games No.1 (14)
6. Saeid Mourad ABDVALI (IRI) – Asia Games No.3 (3)
7. Aleksander DZEMYANOVICH (BLR) – World No.5 (10)
8. Varsham BORANYAN (ARM) – World No.5 (19)
9. Dilshod TURDIEV (UZB) – Asian Games No.2 (nr)
10. Shermet PERMANOV (TKM) – Asian Games No.3 (nr)
11. Balint KORPASI (HUN) – GGP Final No.9 (8)
12. Abuyazid MANTSIGOV (RUS) – Nikola Petrov No.1 (9)
13. Demev SHADRAEV (KAZ) – World No.8 (nr)
14. Ionel PUSCASU (ROU) – Nikola Petrov No.3 (nr)
15. Justin LESTER (USA) – World No.14 (nr)
16. Zackarias TALLROTH (SWE) – German GP (nr)
17. Mathias MAASCH (GER) – Pytlasinski No.2 (16)
18. Mindia TSULUKIDZE (GEO) – GGP Final No.3 (5)
19. Manukhar TSKHADAIA (GEO) – GGP Final No.5 (6)
20. Aleksander MAKSIMOVIC (SRB) – Mediterranean No.1 (7)

75kg – Arsen JULFALAKYAN (ARM) won his first world championships title, since finishing second or third the previous four years, but still finds himself ranked No.2 behind Asian Games gold medalist KIM Hyeon-Woo (KOR), who has been undefeated since winning the London 2012 Olympic Games gold medal at 66kg.

Pan American champion Andrew BISEK (USA) scored a late takedown to defeat London 2012 gold medalist Roman VLASOV (RUS), 6-6 on criteria, in the round of 16. Bisek eventually captured the first world-level medal in Greco-Roman for the United States since 2009.

1. KIM Hyeon-Woo (KOR) - Asia Games No.1 (1)
2. Arsen JULFALAKYAN (ARM) – World No.1 (3) 
3. Neven ZUGAJ (CRO) – World No.3 (12)
4. Andrew BISEK (USA) – World No.3 (14)
5. Elvin MURSALIYEV (AZE) – World No.3 (6)
6. Zurabi DATUNASHVILI (GEO) – World No.5 (10)
7. Hiroyuki SHIMIZU (JPN) – World No.5 (nr)
8. Aleksander CHEKHIRKIN (RUS) – Europe No.1 (2)
9. Roman VLASOV (RUS) – Ivan Poddubny No.2 (4)
10. Mark MADSEN (DEN) – Europe No.3 (5)
11. Rafik HUSEYNOV (AZE) – GGP Final No.1 (7)
12. Takehiro KANAKUBO (JPN) – Asian Games No.2 (18)
13. Doszhan KARTIKOV (KAZ) – Asian Games No.3 (nr)
14. Payam BOUYERI PAYANI (IRI) – Asian Games No.3 (nr)
15. Juan Angel ESCOBAR (MEX) – Spanish GP No.1 (20)
16. Robert ROSENGREN (SWE) – GGP Final No.3 (8)
17. Gurpreet SINGH (IND) – World No.7 (nr)
18. Yavor YANAKIEV (BUL) – Pytlasinski No.3 (nr)
19. Viktor NEMES (SRB) – Mediterranean No.1 (9)
20. Arkadiusz KULYNYCZ (POL) – Pytlasinski No.1 (11)

80kg – Peter BACSI (HUN) won the Yadegar Imam Cup in January and topped the rankings at 80kg all the way to Tashkent despite losses at the Hungarian Grand Prix and Golden Grand Prix Final. Bacsi claimed his first world championship title with a 2-1 triumph over Pytlasinski winner Evgeni SALEEV (RUS).

London 2012 Olympian Habibollah AKHLAGHI (IRI), who defeated Bacsi in Hungary in March, fell in the quarterfinals in Tashkent, but came back for the gold medal at the Asian Games.

1. Peter BACSI (HUN) – World No.1 (1)
2. Evgeni SALEEV (RUS) – World No.2 (12)
3. Selcuk CEBI (TUR) – World No.3 (2)
4. Jim PETTERSSON (SWE) – World No.3 ([email protected])
5. Tadeusz MICHALIK (POL) – World No.5 (11)
6. Bozo STARCEVIC (CRO) – World No.5 (18)
7. Habibollah AKHLAGHI (IRI) – Asian Games No.1 (3)
8. Pascal EISELE (GER) – Nikola Petrov No.2 (nr)
9. Aleksandr KAZAKEVIC (LTU) – GGP Final No.3 (5)
10. Viktor SASUNOVSKI (BLR) – Pytlasinski No.2 (4)
11. KIM Jun-Hyung (KOR) – Olympia No.1 (19)
12. Aleksander SHYSHMAN (UKR) – Europe No.3 (6)
13. Imil SHARAFEDINOV (RUS) – Nikola Petrov No.1 (8)
14. Bekhan OZDOEV (RUS) – Europe No.5 (9)
15. Tsukasa TSURUMAKI (JPN) – Asian Games No.2 (nr)
16. Yanarbek KENYEEV (KGZ) – Asia Games No.3 (13)
17. Emin AHMADOV (AZE) – Vehbi Emre No.9 (nr)
18. Azamat KOSTUBAEV (KAZ) – Asia No.3 (15)
19. Giorgi TSIREKIDZE (GEO) – Europe No.3 (7)
20. Petar BALO (SRB) – Mediterranean No.1 (10)

85kg – Melonin NOUMONVI (FRA) won his first world championship crown while Hassan Saman TAHMASEBI (AZE) had to settle for the silver medal for a second year in a row. Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) repeated as a world bronze medalist and European champion Zhan BELENYUK (UKR) took home bronze from his first world championships.

Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB) could not strike gold in front of the hometown fans in Tashkent, tumbling out of the world meet in the second round. Assakalov, however, found his groove in Korea and rolled to the Asian Games gold medal.

1. Melonin NOUMONVI (FRA) – World No.1 (10)
2. Hassan Saman TAHMASEBI (AZE) – World No.2 (9)
3. Zhan BELENYUK (UKR) – World No.3 (1)
4. Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) – World No.3 (3)
5. Ramsin AZIZSIR (GER) – World No.5 (nr)
6. Kristoffer JOHANSSON (SWE) – World No.5 (nr)
7. Javid HAMZATOV (BLR) – Pytlasinski No.3 (4)
8. Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB) – Asian Games No.1 (13)
9. Masayuki AMANO (JPN) – World No.8 (nr)
10. Ahmed IBRAHIM (EGY) – World No.9 (nr)
11. Vladimir GEGESHIDZE (GEO) – Hungarian GP No.3 (20)
12. LEE Se-Yeol (KOR) – Asian Games No.2 (nr)
13. Laimutis ADOMAITIS (LTU) – GGP Final No.5 (nr)
14. Mojtaba KARIMFAR (IRI) – Asian Games No.3 (11)
15. PENG Fei (CHN) – Asian Games No.2 (nr)
16. Pablo SHOREY HERNANDEZ (CUB) – Pan America No.1 (18)
17. Damian JANIKOWSKI (POL) – Europe No.3 (6)
18. Rami HIETANIEMI (FIN) – Europe No.2 (2)
19. Robert KOBLIASHVILI (GEO) – GGP Final No.1 (8)
20. Nursultan TURSYNOV (KAZ) – Asia No.1 (14)

98kg – Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) took control of the top of the rankings after winning his third European championships crown in April, capping his run at No.1 with his first world title at the senior level in Tashkent.

Mahdi ALIYARI FEYZABADI (IRI), who finished fifth at last year’s world meet, edged Asian championships winner Yerulan ISKAKOV (KAZ), 3-1, in the semifinals of the Asian Games and claimed the gold medal by technical fall over XIAO Di (CHN).

1. Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) – World No.1 (1)
2. Oliver HASSLER (GER) – World No.2 (nr)
3. Cenk ILDEM (TUR) – World No.3 (2)
4. Ghasem REZAEI (IRI) – World No.3 (nr)
5. Aleksander HRABOVIK (BLR) – German GP No.3 (5)
6. Alin ALEX-CIURARIU (ROU) – World No.5 (17)
7. Mahdi ALIYARI FEYZABADI (IRI) – Asian Games No.1 (13)
8. XIAO Di (CHN) – Asian Games No.2 (nr)
9. Yerulan ISKAKOV (KAZ) – Asian Games No.3 (11)
10. Norikatsu SAIKAWA (JPN) – Asian Games No.3 (nr)
11. Vladislav METODIEV (BUL) – Pytlasinski No.3 (20)
12. Ardo ARUSAAR (EST) – Nikola Petrov No.3 (nr)
13. Timo KALLIO (FIN) – German GP No.5 (nr)
14. Marthin NIELSEN (NOR) – GGP Final No.3 (4)
15. Fredrik SCHOEN (SWE) – Stockholm Open No.1 (6)
16. Balasz KISS (HUN) – GGP Final No.1 (3)
17. Adam VARGA (HUN) – Spanish GP No.1 (10)
18. Musa EVLOEV (RUS) – Ivan Poddubny No.1 (15)
19. Shalva GADABADZE (AZE) – GGP Final No.3 (7)
20. Hardeep SINGH (IND) – Asia No.5 (nr)

130kg – Two-time Olympic Games champion Mijain LOPEZ NUNEZ (CUB) avenged a 2011 loss to Riza KAYAALP (TUR) with a pair of gut wrenches for a 2-0 victory and his fifth world championship title.

Three-time former freestyle world champion Beylal MAKHOV (RUS) overcame a near-fall in the first round, fell to Lopez in the semifinals and claimed a bronze medal in his return to Greco-Roman. Makhov won a bronze medal at the 2005 junior world championships, where he was also the freestyle champion.

1. Mijain LOPEZ NUNEZ (CUB) – World No.1 (2)
2. Riza KAYAALP (TUR) – World No.2 (1)
3. Heiki NABI (EST) – World No.3 (12)
4. Beylal MAKHOV (RUS) – World No.3 (nr)
5. Lyubomir DIMITROV (BUL) – World No.5 (10)
6. Eduard POPP (GER) – World No.5 (nr)
7. Johan Magnus EUREN (SWE) – Europe No.3 (3)
8. Behnam MEHDIZADEH (IRI) – Asia No.1 (8)
9. Nurmakhan TINALIEV (KAZ) – Asian Games No.1 (9)
10. Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO) – GGP Final No.1 (13)
11. KIM Yong-Nam (KOR) – Asian Games No.2 (nr)
12. Bashir Asgiri BABAJANZADEH – Asian Games No.3 (5)
13. MENG Qiang (CHN) – Asian Games No.3 (nr)
14. Attila GUZEL (TUR) – Nikola Petrov No.1 (6)
15. Saba SHARIATI (AZE) – GGP Final No.2 (14)
16. Balint LAM (HUN) – GGP Final No.3 (7)
17. Kiril GRYSHCHANKO (BLR) – German GP No.2 (17)
18. Murat RAMONOV (KGZ) – Asia No.2 (16)
19. Aleksander CHERNETSKI (UKR) – German GP No.3 (18)
20. Mindaugas MIZGAITIS (LTU) – Hungarian GP No.3 (4)