Sadulaev Leads Group of Four Russians into Saturday's European Finals

By Eric Olanowski

ROME, Italy (February 13) --- The Russian Federation, led by Abdulrashid SADUALEV (RUS), posted a 13-1 record on the opening day of freestyle wrestling and inserted four of five wrestlers into Saturday night's European finals. 

Sadulaev extended his European win streak to 21 consecutive matches after bringing an unblemished 17-0 record into Rome. 

The four-time world champion and Rio Olympic gold medalist picked up top-ten wins over No. 4 Magomedgadji NUROV (MKD) and No. 6 Elizbar ODIKADZE (GEO), and also had his hand raised against Ibrahim BOLUKBASI (TUR) and Nurmagomed GADZHIYEV (AZE). 

Sadulaev started his day with an 8-2 win over reigning world bronze medalist Nurov. Despite picking up the 8-2 win, he got lateral dropped for two points in the opening period and trailed 2-0.

Sadualev survived another scare in his second match when Bolukbasi locked up a cradle and nearly pinned him. He fought off his back and scored nine unanswered points, winning the match, 9-4. 

In the quarterfinals, he defeated Nurmagomed Gadzhiev, 10-4, in a rematch of last year’s European Games finals. 

In the semifinals, Sadulaev ousted sixth-ranked Odikaze, 6-0. He took Odikadze down three times in the first period and led 6-0 after the opening three minutes of the match. He moved into the European finals for the sixth time after a scoreless second period.

He’ll square off with Olympic bronze medalist Albert SARITOV (ROU) in the 97kg gold-medal match. Saritov slammed Gennadij CUDINOVIC (GER), 10-0, and will wrestle for European gold for the first time in his career. 

Azamat TUSKAEV (RUS) was one of four Russian wrestlers who reached the European finals with wins on Friday night (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

Azamat TUSKAEV (RUS), Kurban SHIRAEV (RUS) and Magomed RAMAZANOV (RUS) are the three other Russians who’ll join Sadualev in gold-medal matches on Saturday night. 

Tuskaev defeated Horst LEHR (GER), 5-4, in the semifinals and will take on defending champion Suleyman ATLI (TUR) in the finals. The Russian led Lehr 4-0 in their semifinals match, and though he was outscored 4-1 in the final period, he hung on to win, 5-4.

Tuskaev’s final opponent, Atli, won three matches and is one win away from defending his European crown from last year. Atli defeated No. 3 Stevan MICIC (SRB), 7-5, in the opening round. He tossed Micic to his back with a massive four-point throw and scored a second consecutive win over the Serbian Olympian and “2020 History Maker of the Year” award winner. He also beat Micic in the semifinals at the 2019 World Championships.

In his second match, Atli cruised to a 7-1 win over two-time European medalist Andrei DUKOV (ROU), who knocked off ninth-ranked Givi DAVIDOVI (ITA), 4-4, in his opening-round match. 

Atli wrestled Mihran JABURYAN (ARM) in the semifinals and reached the finals with a 6-3 win over the Armenian. 

Kurban SHIRAEV (RUS) looks to finish on shot on Erik ARUSHANIAN (UKR) in the 65kg semifinals. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

At 65kg, 20-year-old ring star Kurban Shiraev carried over his hot streak from the Ivan Yariguin and made it to the European finals in his senior-level continental debut.

Shiraev, who defeated Rio Olympic champion Soslan RAMONOV (RUS) in the Yariguin finals, tallied four takedowns and stepout against Erik ARUSHANIAN (UKR) and inserted himself into the finals with a 9-2 win. 

He’ll compete against Niurgun SKRIABIN (BLR) in the 65kg gold-medal match. 

Skriabin scorched fourth-ranked Iszmail MUSZUKAJEV (HUN), 10-0, in their quarterfinals meeting. Then, in the semifinals, Skriabin upended Ali RAHIMZADE (AZE), who was fresh off a 7-0 opening round thumping of Rio Olympic champion Vladimer KHINCHEGASHVILI (GEO).

Magomed RAMAZANOV (RUS) finishes a shot on two-time world runner-up Jabrayil HASANOV (AZE) in the 79kg semifinals. (Photo: Gabor Martin) 

Magomed Ramazanov reached the 79kg European finals in his continental debut. He capped off his day with a win over reigning two-time world silver medalist Jabrayil HASANOV (AZE). Ramazanov stopped the Rio Olympic bronze medalist from reaching the European finals for the seventh time in his career with a 4-2 win. 

Ramazanov and Mahamedkhabib KADZIMAHAMEDAU (BLR) will wrestle for the 79kg gold medal. Kadzimahamedau efficiently handled Dzhemal ALI (BUL), 10-1, in their semifinals meeting.

Magomedmurad GADZHIEV (POL) will wrestle in his fifth European finals. He'll take on Aghahuseyn MUSTAFAYEV (AZE) in the 70kg finals. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Mustafayev and Gadzhiev to Wrestle for the 70kg Gold 
The lone finals match on Saturday night that won’t feature a Russian wrestler will be the 70kg gold-medal match. 

Aghahuseyn MUSTAFAYEV (AZE) moved pasted Mihail SAVA (MDA) and will meet fourth-ranked Magomedmurad GADZHIEV (POL) in the gold-medal match.

Mustafayev, a returning European finalist, outscored Fati VEJSELI (MKD) and Haydar YAVUZ (TUR), 12-0, and reached the semifinals. He picked up the 5-2 win over Sava and will look to improve on his runner-up finish from a year ago. 

Gadzhiev, a reigning world bronze medalist, outscored Mirza SKHULUKHIA (GEO), 4-0, in the final 90 seconds of the pair's ultra-physical semifinals bout and claimed the 4-1 victory. He’ll wrestle in the European finals for the fifth time in his career. Gadzhiev is 1-4 in European finals and is hoping to reach the top of the podium for the first time since 2016.  

Gadzhiev European Finals Appearances 
2010 European Championships – Silver 
2015 European Games – Silver
2016 European Championships – Gold 
2017 European Championships – Silver 
2018 European Championships – Silver 

Saturday’s freestyle finals being at 18:00 (local time) and can be followed live on www.unitedworldwrestling.org.

GOLD - Azamat TUSKAEV (RUS) vs. Suleyman ATLI (TUR)
SEMIFINAL - Azamat TUSKAEV (RUS) df. Horst Justin Junior LEHR (GER), 5-4
SEMIFINAL - Suleyman ATLI (TUR) df. Mihran JABURYAN (ARM), 6-3 

GOLD - Niurgun SKRIABIN (BLR) vs. Kurban SHIRAEV (RUS)

GOLD - Aghahuseyn MUSTAFAYEV (AZE) vs. Magomedmurad GADZHIEV (POL)
SEMIFINAL - Aghahuseyn MUSTAFAYEV (AZE) df. Mihail SAVA (MDA), 5-2
SEMIFINAL - Magomedmurad GADZHIEV (POL) df. Mirza SKHULUKHIA (GEO), 4-1 

SEMIFINAL - Mahamedkhabib KADZIMAHAMEDAU (BLR) df. Dzhemal Rushen ALI (BUL), 10-1 
SEMIFINAL - Magomed RAMAZANOV (RUS) df. Jabrayil HASANOV (AZE), 4-2 

GOLD - Albert SARITOV (ROU) vs. Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS)
SEMIFINAL - Albert SARITOV (ROU) df. Gennadij CUDINOVIC (GER), 10-0 
SEMIFINAL - Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) df.  Elizbar ODIKADZE (GEO), 6-0


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