PARIS (August 26) – Kyle SNYDER (USA) scored the final takedown in the showdown of young legends to defeat fellow world and Olympic Games champion Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS), 6-5, in the grand finale of the Paris 2017 Wrestling World Championships.
Snyder and Sadulaev, both 21 – Sadulaev is about five months younger – battled mightily in the 97kg freestyle finale at AccorHotels Arena with the young Russian scoring the first takedown only 15 seconds into the “Match of the Century” while the American collegiate champion scored the decisive takedown in the final 30 seconds.
The Snyder-Sadulaev showdown – much hoped for and overly hyped – proved to be worthy of all the excitement, pitting the world’s middleweight with two world titles and the Rio 2016 gold medal at 86kg against the top heavyweight with one world title and the Rio crown at 97kg.
The tournament finale capped an evening that saw London 2012 Olympic Games champion Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) win his fourth world title at 74kg – in only the odd-numbered years since 2011 – and secured the United States a one-point victory for the freestyle team title, 54-53, over Russia.
Burroughs prevailed in another seesaw battle with 2014 world champion, Khetik TSABOLOV (RUS) with a counter and go-behind takedown and double-leg attack in the final minute for a 9-6 victory in the 74kg final.
And at 70kg, Rio 2016 bronze medalist Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) added a second world title with a one-sided win over Pan American champ James GREEN (USA), 8-0, to go with the 65kg world crown he won in 2015.
Meanwhile, at 65kg, European bronze medal winner Zurabi IAKOBISHVILI (GEO) edged Magomedmurad GADZHIEV (POL), 3-1, for his first world title. Gadzhiev was Poland’s first participant in a world gold medal final since 1998, when Marek GARMULEWICZ (97kg) took a silver medal in Tehran.
In the bronze medal bouts at 65kg, Alan GOGAEV (RUS) scored three takedowns in the second period to defeat Mustafa KAYA (TUR), 8-2, and capture his first world championships medal since taking silver in 2010.
Alejandro VALDES TOBIER (CUB) slipped behind Azamat NURIKOV (BLR) twice for takedowns in the first period and held on for a 4-2 victory.
At 70kg, two-time junior world medalist Yuhi FUJINAMI (JPN) scored at will against former European under-23 champion Zurabi ERBOTSONASHVILI (GEO) for the 11-0 technical fall. London 2012 bronze medalist Akzhurek TANATAROV (KAZ) scored a takedown going out of bounds for a 4-2 win over Yakup GOR (TUR) 5:59.
In the bronze medal ties at 74kg, Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) won the battle of Rio 2016 bronze medalists, 5-0, over Jabrayil HASANOV (AZE) with a pair of takedowns in the first period that stood throughout the second. Ali SHABANOV (BLR) scored four points with a back-arching throw and forged and 8-4 win over Bekzod ABDURAKHMANOV (UZB).
At 97kg, Ali Aliev tourney champion Aslanbek ALBOROV (AZE) forced a step-out on Rio 2016 Olympian Mamed IBRAGIMOV (KAZ) for a 3-2 win and Georgi KETOEV (ARM) scored a bear-hug takedown in the first period held off Elizbar ODIKADZE (GEO) to win 2-2 on criteria.
Results of the Gold & Bronze Medal Finals
65kg (31 entries)
Gold – Zurabi IAKOBISHVILI (GEO) df. Magomedmurad GADZHIEV (POL), 3-1
Bronze – Alan GOGAEV (RUS) df. Mustafa KAYA (TUR), 8-2
Bronze – Alejandro VALDES TOBIER (CUB) df. Azamat NURIKOV (BLR), 4-2
70kg (27 entries)
Gold – Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) df. James GREEN (USA), 8-0
Bronze – Yuhi FUJINAMI (JPN) df. Zurabi ERBOTSONASHVILI (GEO) by TF, 11-0, 2:35
Bronze – Akzhurek TANATAROV (KAZ) df. Yakup GOR (TUR), 4-2
74kg (31 entries)
Gold – Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) df. Khetik TSABOLOV (RUS), 9-6
Bronze – Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) df. Jabrayil HASANOV (AZE), 5-0
Bronze – Ali SHABANOV (BLR) df. Bekzod ABDURAKHMANOV (UZB), 8-4
97kg (26 entries)
Gold – Kyle SNYDER (USA) df. Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS), 6-5
Bronze – Aslanbek ALBOROV (AZE) df. Mamed IBRAGIMOV (KAZ), 3-2
Bronze – Georgi KETOEV (ARM) df. Elizbar ODIKADZE (GEO), 2-2
Final Team Rankings (Top Six)
1. United States, 54 points (2 gold medals, 2 silver, 2 bronze)
2. Russia, 53 (0-3-2)
3. Georgia, 40 (2-0-1)
4. Turkey, 39 (0-1-1)
5. Azerbaijan, 32 (1-0-1)
6. Japan, 28 (1-0-1).