Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! August 27, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing Diakomihalis and Retherford's Wrestle-off next Monday and Khizriev missing the World Championships. Also looking at the top-four world championship seeds for freestyle, Greco-Roman and women's wrestling. 

1. Diakomihalis and Retherford to Wrestle-off Next Monday 
Yianni DIAKOMIHALIS (USA) and Zain RETHERFORD (USA) will wrestle-off next Monday (September 2) to determine the tenth and final spot on the United States’ freestyle world team. 

Retherford initially won the first three-match series, but Diakomihalis challenged the outcome of the Retherford's second victory. Diakomihalis and his coaching staff weren't happy with the timeliness of the challenge from Retherford’s corner which determined the match outcome.

Diakomihalis took his case to arbitration and ended up getting the second match nullified – meaning the pair will re-wrestle the second match, and possibly a third match if need be. 

Retherford heads into the September 6 matchup owning the one match advantage. He’d have to win one match to punch his second ticket to a world championship, while Diakomihalis would have to win two straight matches to cement his spot on his first senior-level world team. 

Anzor KHIZRIEV (RUS)  will miss the World Championships due to an arm injury. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

2. Khizriev Out of World Championships
Russia’s starting heavyweight Anzor KHIZRIEV (RUS) suffered an arm injury during training and will no longer compete in Nur-Sultan at the World Championships. 

Khizriev, who is ranked fifth in the world at 125kg, has established himself as one of the best super heavyweights in the world over the past year. This season, Khizriev took out the two-time world and Olympic champion Taha AKGUL (TUR) to win the prestigious Ivan Yariguin title. He also won the European Games and placed third at the European Championships. His lone loss this season came to the aforementioned Akgul in the European semifinals. 

Khizriev’s replacement hasn’t been named, but there are two suitable candidates who Russia may throw into the World Championships. The first being Russian National champion Alan KHUGAEV (RUS) -- which is the likely decision they'll roll with if the second option isn’t available. Though unlikely, that second option is one of the most versatile big men the sport has ever seen, Bilyal MAKHOV (RUS). 

Makhov last competed at the World Championships in 2015, when he won a bronze medal in both freestyle and Greco-Roman -- bringing his overall world medal count to seven total world medals. He also owns an Olympic bronze medal from the 2012 London Olympic Games. 

Most recently, Makhov returned after a 21-month hiatus in preparation for a run to his third Olympic Games. In his August return, Makhov finished in second place at the Poland Open. 

Makhov’s Resume 
Olympic Games – Bronze (2012)
Freestyle World Championships– Gold (2007, ’09 and ‘10), Silver (2011) and Bronze (2015),
Greco-Roman World Championships – Bronze (2011 and ‘15) 

Bajrang PUNIA (IND) is one of six wrestlers who overthrew a reigning world champion for the top seed in Nur-Sultan. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

3. Freestyle Top-Four Seeds 
After a year of jockeying for position, the top-four freestyle seeds for the 2019 World Championships (September 14-22) are finally locked up. Six non-returning world champions overthrew a Budapest world gold medalist and head into Nur-Sultan garnering a top spot at their respective weight class. 

Of the ten 2018 world champions, Yowlys BONNE RODRIGUEZ (CUB), Kyle DAKE (USA), J'Den COX (USA) and Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) were the only wrestlers who held onto their top ranking. 

Click here to see a full breakdown of the top-four seeded wrestlers at each weight. 

Here Are the Freestyle No. 1 Seeds at Each Weight:
57kg - Suleyman ATLI (TUR)
65kg - Bajrang PUNIA (IND)
70kg - Adam BATIROV (BRN)
74kg - Frank CHAMIZO (ITA)
79kg - Kyle DAKE (USA)
86kg - Fatih ERDIN (TUR)
92kg - J'Den COX (USA)
97kg - Kyle SNYDER (USA)

Stepan MARYANYAN (RUS) is one of five Russian wrestlers who are seeded first at the World Championships. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

4. Greco-Roman Top-Four Seeds
Nine European wrestlers and Asia's KIM Hyeonwoo (KOR) own a Greco-Roman top seed heading into the World Championships. Of the nine European wrestlers who own a Greco-Roman top seed, five will be wearing a Russian singlet. Furthermore, each of the five top-seeded Russian wrestlers are looking to defend their world title from last year. 

Click here to see a full breakdown of the top-four seeded wrestlers at each weight. 

Here Are the Greco-Roman No. 1 Seeds at Each Weight:
55kg - Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE)
60kg - Sergey EMELIN (RUS)
63kg - Stepan MARYANYAN (RUS) 
67kg - Artem SURKOV (RUS)
77kg - Hyeonwoo KIM (KOR)
82kg - Emrah KUS (TUR)
87kg - Zhan BELENIUK (UKR)
97kg - Musa EVLOEV (RUS)
130kg - Sergey SEMENOV (RUS)

Oksana LIVACH (UKR) gained the No. 1 seed at 50kg after reigning two-time world champion Yui SUSAKI (JPN) lost her wrestle-off. (Max Rose-Fyne)

5. Women’s Wrestling Top-Four Seeds 
There is a trio of women's wrestling returning world champions who have cemented their spot as the No. 1 seed at the World Championships. The three top seed returning world champions looking to win back-to-back world titles are RONG Ningning (CHN), Taybe YUSEIN (BUL) and Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR).

Meanwhile, Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA), Zalina SIDAKOVA (BLR) and Yasemin ADAR (TUR) each fell in last year's world finals but clawed their way into a women's wrestling top seed. The three world silver medalists head into Kazakhstan with hopes of improving their second-place finish from 2018. 

Click here to see a full breakdown of the top-four seeded wrestlers at each weight. 

Here Are the Women's Wrestling No. 1 Seeds at Each Weight: 
50kg - Oksana LIVACH (UKR)
53kg - Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA)
55kg - Zalina SIDAKOVA (BLR) 
57kg - Ningning RONG (CHN)
59kg - Yuzuka INAGAKI (JPN)
62kg - Taybe Mustafa YUSEIN (BUL)
65kg - Forrest Ann MOLINARI (USA)
68kg - Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR)
72kg - Nasanburmaa OCHIRBAT (MGL)
76kg - Yasemin ADAR (TUR)

*These seeds are based off the current unofficial entries United World Wrestling has received as of August 21. These seeds are subject to change.

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media 
1. Big Move Monday -- Gvarzatilov A. (AZE) -- Senior Worlds 2016
2. Are you coming to support your wrestlers in #WrestleNurSultan? Buy your tickets! Link in Bio.
3. @vlasovroma90@yui106301susaki@vladimerkhinchegashvili have both Junior and Senior World Champion titles. Who else? And who is next? Tag three other wrestlers who won or will win both Junior and Senior World Championships!
4. Today is 89th birthday of Iranian legend Pahlavan Gholamreza Takhti. Iranians have named the day as “National Day of Wrestling” in the official calendar of the country.
5. The top-four seeded wrestlers at 76kg combine to have SIX world and an Olympic gold. 
Expected 76kg Top-Four Seeds
1. @yasemin.adar (TUR)
2. @adelinegray (USA)
3. @aline.focken (GER)
4. @eweebz (CAN)

Weekly FIVE!

Weekly Five! November 12, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing the Women’s World Cup team race, wrestlers and weights to watch and Iran hosting the Greco-Roman World Cup (November 28-29).

1. The Road to the Finals 
In the 18-year history of the Women’s World Cup, Japan, China and the United States are the only teams to hoist the annual dual meet team trophy. But, dating back to 2003 when the United States claimed their lone team title, Japan or China has had a stronghold on women’s wrestling -- claiming 14 consecutive World Cup championships. 

Japan and China met in the previous two World Cup finals, with Japan coming out on the winning end of both of those meetings. But, this year is slated to be a different story, as Japan and China will wrestle on Saturday night in Group A action for a potential spot in Sunday night’s gold-medal dual. That is, of course, if they both get past a fairly young and inexperienced Ukrainian team that’s looking to send shock waves through the wrestling world and make their first finals appearance since 2005. 

Russia, the United States and Mongolia are the three Group B teams.

Though Mongolia has a pair of returning world bronze medalists, they likely won’t have enough firepower to match that of the Russian Federation or the United States -- who both have at least one world champ on their squad. 

The premier Group B matchup between Russia and the United States, which will take place on Saturday afternoon, will feature four of the ten women’s wrestling world champions. 

Inna TRAZHUKOVA (RUS), this year’s 62kg world champion, will lead the Russian Federation in the dual, while reigning world champions Jacarra WINCHESTER, Tamyra MENSAH and Adeline GRAY headline the entries for the Stars and Stripes. 

The two teams with the best record after their pair of group matches will meet in Sunday’s gold-medal match. The third and fourth-place match will feature the two teams with the second-best record in their groups and the remaining teams will meet for fifth and sixth place. 

Number of World Cup Titles 
Japan: 10 
China: 6
United States: 1

Saturday (November 16) 
10:30 – Mat A: JPN vs. UKR / Mat B: RUS vs. MGL 
12: 00 – Mat A: RUS vs. USA / Mat B: CHN vs. UKR 
16:30 – Opening Ceremony 
17:00 – Mat A: JPN vs. CHN / Mat B: USA vs. MGL

Sunday (November 17) 
8:00 – Medical Examination & Weigh-in
10:30 – Finals 5/6
13:00 – Finals 3/4
14:30 – Finals 1/2
16:00 – Award Ceremonies

Jacarra WINCHESTER (USA) is one of five world champions that'll be wrestling at this weekend's Women's World Cup. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

2. Wrestlers to Watch: The Five World Champs
Five of the six teams entered into the Women’s Wrestling World Cup bring at least two returning world medalists – totaling 17 podium finishers from this year’s World Championships (Ukraine is the lone team without a 2019 world medalist entered). But, without a doubt, the five newly-crowned must-watch world champions are: 

55kg - Jacarra WINCHESTER (USA)
57kg - Risako KAWAI (USA)
62kg - Inna TRAZHUKOVA (RUS)
68kg - Tamyra MENSAH (USA)
76kg - Adeline GRAY (USA)

Risako KAWAI (JPN) and Ningning RONG (CHN) met in the world finals at 57kg just over a month ago. They could square off again at this weekend's Women's World Cup. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

3. Weights to Watch: 57kg and 76kg 
The two can't-miss weights at this weekend’s Women’s Wrestling World Cup will be 57kg and 76kg. Both weight classes will feature the reigning world champion and the wrestler they defeated to win their world title. This means, there could be a pair of world finals rematches that take place this weekend.

Risako KAWAI (JPN) and Ningning RONG (CHN), who met in Nur-Sultan for the 57kg world title, could square off on Saturday night when Japan takes on China. That match will take place at 17:00 (local time).

Kawai is widely regarded as the top women’s wrestler in the world. Since winning her Rio Olympic title in 2016, Kawai has won three consecutive world titles. Her potential Chinese opponent, Ningning Rong, is a 2018 world champion and 2019 world runner-up. The highly emotional Chinese star is coming off a second consecutive year where she made the world finals, claimed a continental title and won at least three tournaments. 

Two other wrestlers that could cause Kawai and Rong fits at 57kg are ALTANTSETSEG Battsetseg (MGL) and Olena KREMZER (UKR). The 25-year-old Mongolian wrestler was a 2017 U23 world runner-up, while the Ukrainian wrestler was a 2018 U23 world bronze medalist. 

At 76kg, the two best women’s heavyweights in the world, Adeline Gray and Hiroe MINAGAWA (JPN), could square off in a rematch of September’s 76kg finals, but that all depends on how the group stage plays out. Additionally, Ekaterina BUKINA (RUS) and ZHOU Qian (CHN) will also wrestle at 76kg. Bukina is a Rio Olympic bronze medalist, and Zhou is a 2015 world runner-up. 

Reigning world champion Abuiazid MANTSIGOV (RUS) leads a loaded Russian team into Tehran for the Greco-Roman World Cup. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

4. Iran Set to Host Greco-Roman World Cup (November 28-29) 
Iran is gearing up to host the Greco-Roman World Cup for the seventh consecutive time. The two-day Greco-Roman World Cup kicks off November 28-29 in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium and will feature six teams -- which is the first time the event has housed less than eight teams since 2008. 

The Russian Federation, who are the defending champions, are looking to become the first team to win back-to-back World Cup titles since Iran did it in 2011 and ’12.  To earn their eighth overall World Cup team trophy, they’ll rely heavily on reigning world champion Abuiazid MANTSIGOV (RUS), who’ll wrestle at 72kg. 

In addition to Mantsigov, Aleksandr CHEKHIRKIN, Stepan MARYANYAN and Sergey SEMENOV are will also compete on Russia's team at the Greco-Roman World Cup. The trio were all 2018 world champions, but Maryanan, who finished with a silver medal at this year’s World Championships, is the lone reigning medalist in the group of three. 

Outside of Russia’s loaded squad, six reigning world champs will travel to Tehran to compete in the Greco-Roman World Cup. 

The biggest storyline heading into the dual meet event is the potential Rio Olympic finals rematch between Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) and Shinobu OTA (JPN), which could be looming at 67kg. 

Borrero and Ota both won world titles in Nur-Sultan, but the Japanese wrestler will begin his ascent from his title-winning non-Olympic weight of 63kg to the Olympic weight of 67kg, where the Cuban wrestler is the current world-title holder. Shortly after winning his world title last month, Ota announced that he'd climb up 4kg to 67kg to make a run at improving his silver medal from the Rio Olympic Games, where he fell to Borrero in the finals.

In addition to Borrero, Mantsigov and Ota, the Greco-Roman World Cup will also welcome three other world champs. The returning world champs are: Nugzari TSURTSUMIA (GEO), Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) and Lasha GOBADZE (GEO). 

Reigning World Champions Entered
55kg - Nugzari TSURTSUMIA (GEO)
60kg - Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) 
67kg - Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB)
67kg - Shinobu OTA (JPN)
72kg - Abuiazid MANTSIGOV (RUS)
82kg - Lasha GOBADZE (GEO)

Two-time world and Olympic champion Kyle SNYDER (USA) highlights the list of entries at the Bill Farrell. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

5. Bill Farrell Live on FloWrestling.org 
The New York Athletic Club will host the first qualifier for America’s Olympic Team Trials, the Bill Farrell Memorial (November 16-17). The highest finisher at the six Olympic weight classes in freestyle, Greco-Roman and women's wrestling will cement their spot at April’s Tokyo Olympic Team Trials. 

Our friends at Flowrestling.org have the streaming rights to the event and have provided an early list of participants who are expected to compete. 

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media

1. Big Move Monday -- Khoroshavtseva O. (RUS) -- Senior Worlds 2019
2. ‪Iszmail MUSZHKAJEV 🇭🇺: World Championship Highlights
3. Hassan YAZDANI 🇮🇷 World Championship Highlights
4. Behind the Scenes: Sadulaev and 97kg at #WrestleNurSultan
5. Kazakhstan 🇰🇿 put on a show at the #WrestleNurSultan World Championships — on and off the mat.