Lorincz Wins Third RS Gold of the Year; Kim Locks up No.1 Seed

By Eric Olanowski

SASSARI, Italy (May 23) – Hungary's Viktor LORINCZ won his third Ranking Series gold medal of the year, while Korea's Olympic champion KIM Hyeonwoo locked up the No. 1 seed at the World Championships after winning the 77kg Greco-Roman gold medal at the Sassari City Matteo Pellicone Memorial on the Italian island of Sardinia.

Lorinz continued to further assert himself into the discussion as one of the most dominant Greco-Roman wrestlers in the world right now. Lorinz picked up four wins on Thursday, including a convincing 5-1 victory over Turkey's Dogan GOKTAS in the gold-medal match. The one point Lorinz conceded against Gorktas was the lone point the Hungarian surrendered through his four matches on the day. 

With his four victories on Thursday, Lorinz improved his 2019 record to 13-0. Maybe more impressive, in those 13 matches this season, Lorinz has pitched eight shutouts and outscored his opponents 76-9.

Lorinz entered the tournament as the fifth-ranked wrestler in the world at 87kg but leaped Azerbaijan's Islam ABBASOV for the fourth spot with his 52 points. The Hungarian now has the world's top-ranking in his sights, as he sits 10 points behind first-ranked Zhan BELENIUK (UKR). 

KIM Hyeonwoo locked up the No. 1 seed at the World Championships after winning the 77kg Greco-Roman gold medal. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Another wrestler who has the resume to be considered one of the top Greco-Roman wrestlers in the world right now is Korea's London Olympic champion Kim Hyeonwoo. After a pair of Ranking Series bronze-medal finishes earlier this season, and his title-winning performance three weeks ago the Asian Championships in Xi'an, China, Kim reached the top of the podium in Sardinia on Thursday. 

The Korean title-winning efforts cemented him the No. 1 seed at the World Championships. Kim, who had a ten point lead over Serbia's Viktor NEMES coming into the Sassari, grabbed 18 additional points and extended his lead to 26 points heading into the final Greco-Roman Ranking Series event of the year, the Oleg Karavaev (July 26-28).

En route to Thursday's gold, Kim kicked off his day off with an impressive 8-0 destruction of returning world runner-up Tamas LORINCZ (HUN). He followed that up with a 10-2 technical superiority win over Roman ZHERNOVETSKI (ISR), which set up the gold-medal match against Hungary's Zotlan LEVAI (HUN). 

In the finals, Kim defensively threw Levai to his back and picked up four points while stuck in a Russian tie -- but that's not how the Hungarian corner saw it. Levai's coaches disagreed with the call on the mat and threw in the challenge brick. The challenge failed and gave Kim the 5-0 lead, and ultimately the match after a scoreless second period. 

Osman YILDIRIM (TUR) defeated Balint LAM, 3-0 to win the 130kg gold medal. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Turkey Wins Team Title WIth Three Champions 
Turkey finished atop the team leaderboard that featured 18 other nations. 
The Turkish squad inserted six into Thursday night's finals and walked away with three titles – which was good enough to push them 56 points ahead of second place Hungary. 

Turkey's trio of champions was Hakan CANKAYA (55kg), Mehmet CEKER (63kg), and Osman YILDIRIM (130kg). 

In the 63kg gold-medal bout, Mehmet Ceker used a spectacular throw in the closing seconds to erase a four-point deficit and steal the gold medal from Erik TORBA (HUN). 

Ceker broke the ice in the first period with a stepout and led 1-0, but surrendered four unanswered points and trailed 4-1 heading into the final 15 seconds of the bout. In the closing seconds, the Turkish wrestler left his feet in what looked like a "flying squirrel" attempt, desperately trying to reach for a front headlock. With his feet dangling in the air, Ceker locked around Torba's body and tossed the Hungarian with a reverse lift. Though the mat official asked for five points, only four were awarded, and Ceker grabbed the one-point win as time expired.

Osman Yildirm, the heir apparent to nine-time European champion Riza KAYAALP (TUR), grabbed the 130kg title, scoring three one-point moves against Hungary's Balint LAM. 

In the 55kg round-robin competition, Hakan Cankaya came out on top of a bracket where the trio of wrestlers went 1-1, but each gave up a fall in their losing efforts. Cankaya snuck past Giovanni FRENI (ITA) and Murat CANKAYA (TUR) on classification points after canning the Italian in the opening round and falling to his fellow Turkish teammate by technical superiority. 

KIM Seunghak (KOR) was one of two Korean wrestlers who won a gold medal on the first day of wrestling in Sardinia. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Kim Moves up to No. 2 After Winning His Second Ranking Series Title 
KIM Seunghak (KOR) blanked Ahmet UYAR (TUR), 5-0 in the 60kg and claimed his second Ranking Series title of the year. His first Ranking Series title came in Gyor, Hungary, at the Hungarian Grand Prix. He also received points from a fifth-place finish at the Zagreb Open, where he lost to Croatia's Ivan LIZATOVIC, 4-3 in the bronze medal bout. 

In the finals, Kim carried the 5-0 lead into the second after scoring a four-point throw and an inactivity point. After a scoreless second period, Kim walked away with the gold, 5-0. 

Kim enters the final Ranking Series event as the second-ranked wrestler in the world with 46 points. He sits 14 points behind European champion Victor CIOBANU (MDA). 

Adam KURAK (RUS) shutout world runner-up Balint KORPASI (HUN), 3-0 in the 72kg gold-medal bout. (Photo: Gabor Martin) 

Akhmedov and Kurak Give Russia Pair of Sassari Titles 
Russia's Azamat AKHMEDOV (67kg) and Adam KURAK (72kg) made sure the defending Greco-Roman world champions didn't go home without a gold medal. 

To win his second Ranking Series title, Akmedov stopped Turkey's Haci KARAKUS, 7-1. 

The Russian fell behind 1-0 after giving up an inactivity point in the first 90 second - but he stopped a gut wrench attempt and fell into a pair of front-head pinches to take the 4-1 lead. Akhmedov closed the match out with a stepout, followed by a takedown, and reached the top of the podium for the first time since winning the Haparanda Cup back in 2017.

In a rematch from last year's European Championships, Adam Kurak again came out on top against 2018 world runner-up Balint KORPASI (HUN). This time, it was with a 72kg gold medal on the line. In a somewhat one-sided match, Kurak, the 2018 European champion, picked up a takedown and an inactivity point, and shutout the third-ranked wrestler in the world, 3-0.

Nikoloz KAKHELASHVILI (ITA) gave the host nation their long gold medal with a 5-0 win over Tracy Gangelo HANCOCK (USA) in the 97kg finals. (Photo: Gabor Martin) 

Italy and India With Solo Gold Medalist 
The host nation of Italy and Indian each had a wrestler win gold on the opening day of wrestling at the Sassari City Matteo Pellicone Memorial. Italy's Nikoloz KAKHELASHVILI won the 97kg gold medal, while India's Gurpreet SINGH was the top man of the 82kg bracket. 

In the 97kg finals, Kakhelashvili closed out his day with a 5-0 shutout win over No. 3-ranked  Tracy Gangelo HANCOCK (USA). The Italian picked up three one-point scores (inactivity, stepout, and a failed challenge) and two points from a guy wrench to win, 5-0. 

At 82kg, Gurpreet Singh and Burhan AKBUDAK (TUR) traded takedowns in the first period – but the Indian wrestler trailed on criteria heading into the closing period. In the second period, Singh scored a pair of takedowns, one of which he tacked on an additional point for after the Turkish corner threw in the challenge brick, and ultimately won the bout, 7-2. 

Wrestling resumes tomorrow at 10:00 and can be followed live on www.unitedworldwrestling.org. 


Team Scores
GOLD - Turkey (184 points)
SILVER - Hungary (124 points) 
BRONZE - Korea (104 points)

GOLD – Hakan Murat CANKAYA (TUR)
SILVER – Giovanni FRENI (ITA) 

GOLD - Seunghak KIM (KOR) df. Ahmet UYAR (TUR), 5-0 
BRONZE - Gyanender GYANENDER (IND) df. Florin TITA (ROU), 9-0 
BRONZE - Jacopo SANDRON (ITA) df. Latuf MADI (FRA), 2-1 

GOLD – Mehmet CEKER (TUR) df. Erik TORBA (HUN), 5-4 
BRONZE – Kadir KAMAL (TUR) df. Kyunghoon KIM (KOR), 2-0 
BRONZE – Andres Roberto MONTANO ARROYO (ECU) df. Eunbin KIM (KOR), 8-4 

GOLD – Azamat AKHMEDOV (RUS) df. Haci KARAKUS (TUR), 7-1
BRONZE – Hansu RYU (KOR) df. Yasin OZAY (FRA), 9-1 
BRONZE – Mihai Radu MIHUT (ROU) df. Mamadassa SYLLA (FRA), 2-1 

72kg (Single bronze) 
GOLD – Adam KURAK (RUS) df. Balint KORPASI (HUN), 3-0 
BRONZE – Selcuk CAN (TUR) df. Ahmet YILMAZ (TUR), 3-1 

GOLD – KIM Hyeonwoo (KOR) df. Zotlan LEVAI (HUN), 5-0 
BRONZE – Georgios PREVOLARAKIS (GRE) df. Gil NUGUES (FRA), 10-0 

82kg (Single bronze)
GOLD – Gurpreet SINGH (IND) df. Burhan AKBUDAK (TUR), 7-2 
BRONZE – George Vlad MARIEA (ROU) df. Matteo MAFFEZZOLI (ITA), 4-3 

GOLD – Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) df. Dogan GOKTAS (TUR), 5-1 
BRONZE –  Gadzhimurad DZHALALOV (RUS) df. Ramon Rainer BETSCHART (SUI), 3-1 

GOLD – Nikoloz KAKHELASHVILI (ITA) df. Tracy Gangelo HANCOCK (USA), 5-0 
BRONZE –  Balazs KISS (HUN)  df. Armen GRIGORYAN (RUS), 2-0 
BRONZE – Mihail KAJALA (SRB) df. Daigoro TIMONCINI (ITA), 3-1 

GOLD – Osman YILDIRIM (TUR) df. Balint LAM (HUN), 3-0 
BRONZE – Minseok KIM (KOR) df. Constantin HUTULEAC (ROU), 2-1
BRONZE – Yongmin KIM (KOR) vs. Lenard Istvan BEREI (ROU), via DSQ 


Chamizo Closes Out Sassari With Gold in Home Country

By Eric Olanowski

SASSARI, Italy (May 25) – Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) capped off his run to a Sassari title in front of his home nation with a 6-4 come-from-behind win over tenth-ranked Daniyar KAISANOV (KAZ) in what was a battle of reigning 74kg continental champions. 

Chamizo used the support from the ruckus Italian crowd to push him past Kaisanov in the finals. “I’m so happy for (the fans). They support me; I needed that. I love the fans.” 

The Italian, who won the European Championships last month in Bucharest, Romania, found himself in a four-point hole against the reigning Asian champion after he surrendered a takedown and a leg lace -- but closed the Kazakh wrester’s lead to two points with a takedown of his own before the ending whistle of the first period sounded. 

In the second period, Chamizo picked up his offensive attack rate and gained the lead on criteria with an early two. The two-time world champion tacked on his second takedown of the period and third overall to take the 6-4 advantage into the final 30 seconds. The Italian fought off several attacks and hung on to win his first career Sassari gold medal, improving on his eighth-place finish from 2014. 

Chamizo also grabbed a massive come-from-behind win over 2014 world champion Khetik TSABOLOV (RUS) in the semifinals. The Italian erased a three-point second-period deficit by scoring a pair of takedowns to upend Russia's 2017 world runner-up, 5-4.

After the match, Chamizo said, “I’m focused. I’m not joking. That’s it, guys. I don’t want to talk about wins or loses. I want talk about training and staying focused.” 

Chamizo entered the Sassari as the fourth-ranked wrestler in the world with 56 points and will jump Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO) and Jordan Ernest BURROUGHS (USA) after collecting 16 points for his gold-medal performance on Saturday. “I think competing is important. The reason for me competing is I need the points for the rankings,” said Chamizo. The Italian superstar will be the No. 2-ranked wrestler at 74kg sits four points behind reigning world champion Zaurbek SIDKOV (RUS) who has 76 points. 

In his finals interview, Chamizo said he plans to wrestle at the final Ranking Series event of the year, the Yasar Dogu. Depending on if Sidakov shows up and Chamizo medals, the Italian could head into the World Championships as the No. 1 seeded wrestler in the world. 

Nurkozha KAIPANOV (KAZ)  was one of two wrestlers from Kazakhstan who won a Sassari gold medal on Saturday night. (Photo: Gabor Martin) 

Kazakhstan Wins Team Titles with Seven Medalists 
Kazakhstan, who had seven medalists, won the team title 15 points ahead of second place Russia. Rassul KALIYEV and Nurkozha KAIPANOV were Kazakhstan’s two champions. They also won two silvers and three bronzes. 

Though he lost in the 61kg gold-medal bout, Rassul Kalyev was named champion after Iran’s Mohammadbagher YAKHKESHI got disqualified for failure to comply with United World Wrestling medal ceremony rules. In the 61kg Nordic-style bracket, Yakheshi closed out his day with a 4-1 record, including a 7-2 win over Rassul Kaliyev in the gold-medal bout – but the Iranian’s gold medal got revoked during the medal presentation ceremony for failure to cooperate with United World Wrestling’s medal ceremony procedures. 

Yakhkeshi took the podium not wearing the approved medal ceremony clothing. According to United World Wrestling’s rule book, wrestlers have to wear their countries tracksuit on the podium to receive their medal. Yakhkeshi, who was wearing short sleeves, was asked several times to comply with the rules but failed to do so, among many other things, which resulted in disqualification.

Therefore, Kalyev, Uladzislau ANDREYEU (BLR), and Rahul AWARE (IND) received bumps and finished in first through third, respectively. 

Kazakhstan's second champion came at the 70kg, where Nurkozha Kaipanov blanked George KOLIEV (BLR), 6-0 in the gold-medal match. Kaipanov scored two takedowns and a pair of stepouts to win his first career Ranking Series gold medal. 

Azamat TUSKAEV (RUS) only needed 77 seconds to pick up the fall over Canada's Darthe CAPELLAN’s (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Russia Wins Three Freestyle Golds; Finished Second in Team Race 
The Russian Federation finished in second place as a team with 147 points with three champions. Their three champions were Azamat TUSKAEV (RUS), Khalil AMINOV (RUS), and Pavel KRIVTSOV (RUS). 

The 57kg finals match was short lived and only lasted 77 seconds. Azamat Tuskaev scored a counter-offensive takedown off of Darthe CAPELLAN’s (CAN) double leg attempt, then quickly locked up a cradle and stuck the Canadian wrestler. 

Khalil Aminov gave Russia their second gold medal of the night with a 6-2 win over Galymzhan USSERBAYEV (KAZ). Aminov scored a pair of one-point stepouts and picked up a four-point double leg to win the 79kg gold-medal bout, 6-2. 

Russia’s third champion came at 125kg when Pavel Krivtsov scored a takedown with 1.7 seconds to defeat Daniel LIGETI (HUN). Krivtsov gained the 4-4 lead on criteria, then added a point for a failed Hungarian challenge and counter-offensive takedown as time expired to beat Ligeti, 7-4. 

Alireza KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI) was one of the three Iranian champions. (Photo: Gabor Martin) 

Karami Leads Iran To Third-Place Finish  
Had it not been for Mohammadbagher Yakheshi's 61kg gold medal getting revoked while he was on the podium, Iran would have had won four gold medals on Saturday. Either way, Ahmad BAZRIGHALEH (IRI), Alireza KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI), Hamed TALEBIZARRINKAMAR (IRI), won back-to-back-to-back titles at 86kg, 92kg, and 97kg respectively and helped Iran finish third as a team. 

In the 86kg finals, Ahmad Bazrighaleh pulled off the most improbable comebacks of the tournament, defeating Kazakhstan’s Azamat DAULETBEKOV in a 29-point shootout. Bazrighaleh was in danger of giving up a technical superiority win when his Kazakh opponent led 10-2 after the first period –- but the Iranian fought back and scored 17 unanswered points, outlasting Dauletbekov, 19-10.  

In the 92kg finals, returning world bronze medalist Alireza Karimimachiani muscled around Russia’s Batyrbek TCAKULOV (RUS) and captured the gold medal with a 7-2 victory. Karimimachiani scored his seven points off an exposure, three stepouts and a pair of brutality points. 

Hamed Talebizarrinkamar efficiently handled fellow Iranian Abbas Ali FOROUTANRAMI (IRI), 8-0 in the 97kg finals and won his first international gold medals since the 2011 Junior World Championships. 

Sonba GONGANE (IND) was down 6-1 and came back to beat No. 16 Magomedrasul IDRISOV (RUS), 9-8. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Gongane Wins 65kg Title After Being Down 6-1
In one of the most exciting matches of the night, India’s Sonba GONGANE (IND) scored the 9-8 come-from-behind win over Russian Ivan Yariguin champion and 16th-ranked Magomedrasul IDRISOV in the 65kg gold-medal bout. 

Gongane trailed 6-1 at one point in the match, but continued to claw back, and ultimately gained the 7-6 outright lead with 120 seconds left. The Indian again found himself behind when the Russian picked up a takedown - but Gongane stayed on the attack and picked up a pair of one-point exchanges to win the match, 9-8.

Wrestling resumes tomorrow with the Sardinia Beach Wrestling Matteo Pellicone Memorial. 


GOLD – Kazakhstan (162 points)
SILVER – Russia (147 points)
BRONZE – Iran (111 points)
Fourth - India (90 points) 
Fifth – Canada (73 points)

GOLD - Azamat TUSKAEV (RUS) df. Darthe CAPELLAN (CAN), via fall 
BRONZE - Givi DAVIDOVI (ITA) df. Patrick James HEBREARD (USA), 10-0 


GOLD – Sonba Tanaji GONGANE (IND) df. Magomedrasul IDRISOV (RUS), 9-8 
BRONZE – Sayatbek OKASSOV (KAZ) df. Harphool HARPHOOL (IND), 14-3 
BRONZE - Junsik YUN (KOR) df. Quentin Jean-René STICKER (FRA), 5-0 

GOLD - Nurkozha KAIPANOV (KAZ) df. George KOLIEV (BLR), 6-0 
BRONZE - Yones Aliakbar EMAMICHOGHAEI (IRI) df. Mihail Iliev GEORGIEV (BUL), 10-0 
BRONZE - Batyr BORJAKOV (TKM) df. Fares LAKEL (ALG), 9-4 

BRONZE - Miroslav Stefanov KIROV (BUL) df. Amit Kumar DHANKHAR (IND), 11-0
BRONZE - Khetik TSABOLOV (RUS) df. Andrei KARPACH (BLR), 12-6 

GOLD - Khalil AMINOV (RUS) df. Galymzhan USSERBAYEV (KAZ), 6-2 
BRONZE - Fateh BENFERDJALLAH (ALG) df. Parveen RANA (IND), via fall 
BRONZE - Dmytrii TKACHENKO (UKR) df. Sahergeldi SAPARMYRADOV (TKM), via fall

GOLD - Ahmad Yousef BAZRIGHALEH (IRI) vs. Azamat DAULETBEKOV (KAZ), 19-10 
BRONZE -  Akhmed AIBUEV (FRA) df. Dovletmyrat ORAZGYLYJOV (TKM), 14 - 4
BRONZE - Deepak PUNIA (IND) df. Boris MAKOEV (SVK)

92kg (Single Bronze) 
GOLD - Alireza KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI) df. Batyrbek TCAKULOV (RUS), 8-4
BRONZE -  Arashk Mohammadkazem MOHEBI (IRI) vs. Nurgali NURGAIPULY (KAZ), 7-3  

BRONZE - Abraham de Jesus CONYEDO RUANO (ITA) df. Bakdaulet ALMENTAY (KAZ), 2 - 0

GOLD - Pavel KRIVTSOV (RUS) df. Daniel LIGETI (HUN), 7-4 
BRONZE - Oleg BOLTIN (KAZ) df. Grant Michael ROBINSON (USA), 12-0 
BRONZE - Frédérick CHOQUETTE (CAN) df. Aly BARGHOUT (CAN), 3-0