Olympic Champions Collide to Close Out #KaspEuro2018

By Eric Olanowski

KASPIISK, Russia (May 6) – Olympic champions Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) and Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE) are set to collide on Sunday night at 6:00 PM (local time) in Dagestan, Russia for the 2018 European gold medal at 92kg. 

Russia claimed three gold medals, while Azerbaijan claimed the remaining two on the sixth day of competition at The Palace of Sport and Youth. The host nation has three wrestlers competing for gold, while Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey each have a pair of day seven finalists. France claims the remaining finalist spot to close out the 2018 European Championships. 

Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS) will take on Georgia’s Beka LOMTADZE for the 61kg European gold medal.

Reigning European champion, Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS) will take on Georgia’s Beka LOMTADZE in the 61kg gold medal bout on Saturday night.

Rashidov, the 2017 world finalist took down Recep TOPAL (TUR) in their semifinal bout, 4-0. The 2016 European champion will be making his second European finals appearance. 

Lomtadze, the 2015 European Games runner-up stopped Azerbaijan’s Mirjalal ZADA by a technical superiority in the second semifinal at 61kg.

GOLD - Beka LOMTADZE (GEO) vs. Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS) 

Semifinals - Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS) df. Recep TOPAL (TUR), 4-0
Semifinals - Beka LOMTADZE (GEO) df. Mirjalal ZADA (AZE), 12-0

Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) will look to win back-to-back 74kg European titles. (Photo by Max Rose-Fyne)

Reigning 74kg European champion Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) will wrestle France’s Zelimkhan KHADJIEV for the gold medal at 74kg. 

Demirtas locked up his finals birth by scoring a step out on 2017 world champion, Frank CHAMIZO MARQUEZ (ITA) as time expired. This one-point action gave the Turkish wrestler the 3-3 lead on criteria after outscoring the Italian 3-0 in the final minute of the bout. 


Semifinals - Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) df. Frank CHAMIZO MARQUEZ (ITA) 
Semifinals - Zelimkhan KHADJIEV (FRA) df. Andrei KARPACH (BLR)

Russia’s Artur NAIFONOV will compete against Aleksandr GOSTIYEV (AZE) in the 86kg gold-medal bout. 

This will be the Russian’s first time in the finals of a European Championship, while the Azerbaijani is making his third consecutive trip. 

Though he’s made three consecutive trips, Gostiyev is still looking for his first continental gold medal. 

GOLD - Aleksandr GOSTIYEV (AZE) vs. Artur NAIFONOV (RUS)

Semifinals - Artur NAIFONOV (RUS) df. Fatih ERDIN (TUR), 4-2
Semifinals - Aleksandr GOSTIYEV (AZE) vs. Sandro AMINASHVILI (GEO), 6-0 

Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) will be looking for his fourth European title. (Photo by Max Rose-Fyne)

At 92kg, 2016 Olympic champion Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) and 2012 Olympic champion Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE) will collide for the top spot. These two met in the semifinals of the 2016 Olympic Games where Sadualev was the victor, 8-1. 

A victory for Sadulaev, the two-time world champion, would give the hometown favorite his fourth European Championship, while a victory for Sharifov would give him his first. 

GOLD - Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) vs. Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE)

Semifinals - Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) df. Irakli MTSITURI (GEO), 12-2 
Semifinals - Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE) vs. Serdar BOKE (TUR), 10-0 

Taha AKGUL (TUR) and Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) will wrestle in a rematch of the 2017 world championships where the Georgian claimed his world first gold medal. 

The 125kg superstar duo of Taha AKGUL (TUR) and Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) will again close out the European Championships. 

The pair has accounted for every European gold medal dating back to 2012, and every world or Olympic gold medal dating back to 2014.

They last met in the 2017 world finals where the Georgian defeated the Turkish wrestler in what is considered one of the greatest freestyle heavyweight wrestling matches in history.


Semifinals - Taha AKGUL (TUR) df. Muradin KUSHKHOV (RUS), 3-0. 
Semifinals - Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) df. Robert BARAN (POL), 10-0