Rio 2016 Champs Snyder, Sadulaev Set for Olympic-Size Showdown in World C'ships Finale

By William May

PARIS (August 26) – Rio 2016 gold medalist Kyle SNYDER (USA) and Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) advanced to the gold medal round Saturday and are set to battle for the 97kg crown in the grand finale of the Paris 2017 Wrestling World Championships.

Snyder is the 2015 world champion and Rio 2016 champion at 97kg, while Sadulaev owns world titles from 2014 and 2015 along with the Rio gold medal at 86kg. Together, they form one of the most anticipated events in the recent history of international wrestling.

Both wrestlers eased through the morning session at AccorHotels Arena to qualify for the gold medal final. Snyder notched a pair a technical falls and avenged a World Cup loss to Arslanbek ALBOROV (AZE) with a 9-2 win in the semifinals.

Sadulaev also recorded two technical calls as well as a 3-0 win over two-time world silver medalist Reineris SALAS PEREZ (CUB) in his first international competition since Rio de Janeiro. Sadulaev also defeated 2007 world champion Georgi KETOEV (ARM), 2-0, in the semifinals.

Meanwhile, three-time world champion and London 2012 gold medalist Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) put on a gutsy performance at 74kg capped with a 6-5 win over Bekzod ABDURAKHMANOV (UZB), who eliminated Burroughs from medal contention in Rio with a repechage win.

Burroughs meets 2014 world champion at 70kg Khetik TSABOLOV (RUS) in the 74kg final. Tsabolov pinned Rio 2016 bronze medalist Jabrayil HASANOV (AZE) in the quarterfinals and stopped European champion Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR), 10-0, in the semis.

World champion and Rio bronze medalist at 65kg Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) advanced to the 70kg final with a pair of 12-0 technical falls after defeating fellow Ikhtiyor NAVRUZOV (UZB), 9-5, in a reprise of their 2015 world championship final.

Chamizo will face 2015 world bronze medalist James GREEN (USA) in the 70kg final. Green held on for a 3-3 criteria win over 2015 junior world silver medalist Yuhi FUJINAMI (JPN) in the semifinals.

At 65kg, European bronze medalist Zurabi IAKOBISHIVILI (GEO) scored a takedown a 5:58 to defeat 2010 world silver medalist Alan GOGAEV (RUS), 3-3 on criteria, and advance to the gold medal final.

Iakobishvili will face Magomedmurad GADZHIEV (POL) for the gold medal after the European runner-up held on for a 1-1 semifinal win over 2014 Pan American champion Alejandro VALDES TOBIER (CUB).

Semifinal Results & Medal Final Pairings


65kg (31 entries)
Gold – Zurabi IAKOBISHVILI (GEO) v Magomedmurad GADZHIEV (POL)

Bronze – Mustafa KAYA (TUR) v Alan GOGAEV (RUS)
Bronze – Azamat NURIKOV (BLR) v Alejandro VALDES TOBIER (CUB) 

Semifinal – Zurabi IAKOBISHVILI (GEO) df. Alan GOGAEV (RUS), 3-3
Semifinal – Magomedmurad GADZHIEV (POL) df. Alejandro VALDES TOBIER (CUB), 1-1

70kg (27 entries)
Gold – James GREEN (USA) v Frank CHAMIZO (ITA)
Bronze – Akzhurek TANATAROV (KAZ) v Yakup GOR (TUR)
Semifinal – James GREEN (USA) df. Yuhi FUJINAMI (JPN), 5-3
Semifinal – Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) df. Yakup GOR (TUR), 5-2

74kg (31 entries)
Gold – Khetik TSABOLOV (RUS) v Jordan BURROUGHS (USA)
Bronze – Jabrayil HASANOV (AZE) v Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR)
Semifinal – Khetik TSABOLOV (RUS) df. Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) by TF, 10-0, 4:09 
Semifinal – Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) df. Bekzod ABDURAKHMANOV (UZB), 6-5

97kg (26 entries)
Gold – Kyle SNYDER (USA) v Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS)
Bronze – Mamed IBRAGIMOV (KAZ) v Aslanbek ALBOROV (AZE)
Bronze – Elizbar ODIKADZE (GEO) v Georgi KETOEV (ARM)

Semifinal – Kyle SNYDER (USA) df. Aslanbek ALBOROV (AZE), 9-2
Semifinal – Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) df. Georgi KETOEV (ARM), 2-0