Lorincz Locks up Sixth Career Ranking Series Gold Medal

By Eric Olanowski

ROME, Italy (January 15) --- Coming into the Matteo Pellicone, Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) already owned a Ranking Series title for every finger on one hand. The 2019 Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Year now has to move to a second hand to count his Ranking Series gold medals after he captured his sixth career Ranking Series title on Wednesday night in the Roman seaside town of Ostia.

The Hungarian tallied 19 wins in his previous five Ranking Series appearances. With his quartet of wins on Wednesday, Lorincz improved his Ranking Series record to a perfect 23-0 with a 2-1 win over last year’s Asian silver medalist Kumar SUNIL (IND) in the 87kg finals.

“I am very happy to win this tournament. I want to continue this very good series for me. I want to win the last two qualifications (European Championships and Poland Open) because it helps my seed for the Olympic Games,” said Lorincz.

In the finals, Lorincz, last year's world runner-up, picked up an inactivity point and a stepout in the first period. He had his lead cut to a single point when he was dinged for an inactivity point himself. But the Hungarian Hammer relied on his world-renound defensive skills and hung on to win an unprecedented sixth Ranking Series title, 2-1.

“I came here to win. I had some hard matches, and I’m not where I want to be. I want to (build) my strength and power for the other tournaments.” 

Nikoloz KAKHELASHVILI (ITA) won his second Ranking Series title on home soil with a 5-4 win over Felix BALDAUF (NOR).(Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

Kakhelashvili Wins Second Ranking Series Gold on Home Soil
Last year’s City of Sassari champion Nikoloz KAKHELASHVILI (ITA) edged Felix BALDAUF (NOR) in the 97kg finals and seized his second Ranking Series title on home soil. “I’m so happy that I won in my country,” Kakhelashvili said. “Today was a big tournament. I think it’s good that I won, and I felt very strong. Now I hope to win the European Championships.”

In the 97kg gold-medal bout, Kakhelashvili jumped out to a five-point opening-period lead, but surrendered four unanswered points against his Norwegian opponent and narrowly won, 5-4. “I was a little bit nervous. I thought it was a touché, but I won the match, so everything is okay.”

Sailike WALIHAN (CHN) won his first Ranking Series gold medal after dropping his two previous trips to the finals. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

Walihan, Bakhshilloev and Mohamed Claim Remaining Three Olympic Weight Golds
The remaining trio of Olympic weight gold medals of the day went to Sailike WALIHAN (CHN), Makhmud BAKHSHILLOEV (UZB) and Abdellatif MOHAMED (EGY), who topped the podium at 60kg, 67kg and 130kg, respectively.

At 60kg, Walihan was 70 seconds away from seeing his hopes of winning a first Ranking Series gold disappear after he allowed a three-point second-period lead dwindle to nothing against Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB). But in the end, the Chinese wrestler capitalized on a late stepout and scooped up the one-point victory. 

Walihan, a 2018 world bronze medalist, scored an inactivity point and a gut wrench and carried the 3-0 lead late into the closing frame. That all changed when Walihan’s opponent, Bakhramov, a four-time Ranking Series finalist, scored an inactivity point that was quickly followed by a two-point tight low-level gut wrench and stole the 3-3 lead on criteria.

But like the savvy veteran he is, Walihan responded when it was needed the most. He scored a stepout with just under a minute left and hung on to win his first Ranking Series gold medal, 4-3.

Makhmud BAKHSHILLOEV (UZB) gut wrenched Abouhalima ABOUHALIMA (EGY) and won the 67kg title, 3-1. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

In the finals at 67kg, junior world champion Bakshilloev sealed up a 3-1 win over Rio Olympian Abouhalima ABOUHALIMA (EGY) by scoring a first-period inactivity point and gut wrench.

Abdellatif Mohamed, a two-time Ranking Series finalist, only needed 83 seconds to pick up the fall against Moises Salvador PEREZ HELLBURG (VEN) in the 130kg finals. Mohamed's Wednesday night fall put him in rare company, as he joined Mohamed EL SAYED as the only other Egyptian Greco-Roman wrestler to win a Ranking Series gold medal. 

Andres Roberto MONTANO ARROYO (ECU) took down Rio Olympic bronze medalist Stig-Andre BERGE (NOR), 11-0, on his way to the 63kg title. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan) 

Ayazci and Montano Arroyo Win Nordic Golds
Dogus AYAZCI (TUR) and Andres Roberto MONTANO ARROYO (ECU) claimed the final two opening-day golds, which both came in Nordic-style brackets. Their wins came in the non-Olympic weight classes of 55kg and 63kg, respectively.

Ayazci outscored his three opponents 22-0 en route to the 55kg gold medal, while Montano Arroya’s 11-0 thumping of Rio Olympic bronze medalist Stig-Andre BERGE (NOR) highlighted his run to the 63kg title.


GOLD - Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) vs. Sailike WALIHAN (CHN)
BRONZE - Erbatu TUO (CHN) vs. Kerem KAMAL (TUR), 7-1 
BRONZE - Firuz TUKHTAEV (UZB) df. Sachin RANA (IND), 9-0 


GOLD - Makhmud BAKHSHILLOEV (UZB) df. Abouhalima ABOUHALIMA (EGY), 3-2
BRONZE - Qiye TIAN (CHN) df. Ashu ASHU (IND), 9-0 

GOLD - Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) df. Kumar SUNIL (IND), 2-1 
BRONZE - Ali CENGIZ (TUR) df. Josef Patrick RAU (USA), 9-0 
BRONZE - Luis Eduardo AVENDANO ROJAS (VEN) df. Patrick Anthony MARTINEZ (USA), 4-1 

BRONZE - Mélonin NOUMONVI (FRA) df. Matti Elias KUOSMANEN (FIN), 3-2
BRONZE - Gangelo HANCOCK (USA) df. Semen NOVIKOV (UKR), 10-0

GOLD - Abdellatif MOHAMED (EGY) vdf Moises PEREZ HELLBURG (VEN), via fall (4:37)
BRONZE - Lingzhe MENG (CHN) df. Adam Jacob COON (USA), 4-2 
BRONZE – Muminjon ABDULLAEV (UZB) df. Oskar MARVIK (NOR), 3-3


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