Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! June 25, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing the European Games and last weekend's Cadet European Championships. Also looking at women's wrestling rankings, Alili making North Macedonian history, and tickets going on sale for the #WrestleNurSultan World Championships. 

1. The European Games Underway in Minsk, Belarus 
The 2nd European Games started this morning in Minsk, Belarus and Stevan MICIC (SRB) and Ali SHABANAU (BLR) scored the biggest upsets of the first day of competition. They both defeated Turkish wrestlers who are ranked No. 1 in the world at their respective weight classes. 

Micic, Serbia’s first-ever freestyle European medalist (bronze in 2018), scored a 6-5 come-from-behind win over reigning European champion Suleyman ATLI (TUR). Micic’s six points all came in the second period. The Serbian scored a pair of takedowns and an exposure to end the No. 1-ranked wrestler's gold-medal hopes at 57kg.

Micic will square off with Taras MARKOVYCH (UKR) in the semifinals. The winner of that match will most likely have reigning world champion Zavur UGUEV (RUS). 

Ali Shabanau also stopped the world’s No. 1 ranked wrestler. The Belarusian trailed Turkey’s No. 1 -ranked Faith ERDIN 3-1 with less than five seconds left when he hit an underhook throw by to take the 3-3 lead on criteria as time expired. 

Shabanau will wrestle Ahmed DUDAROV (GER) in the semifinals. Whoever wins that match will take on the winner of Alexander GOSTIYEV (AZE) and Dauren KURUGLIEV (RUS). 

The third weight competing on Monday was 74kg. 

Reigning world champion Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS) made it to the semifinals after scoring a 5-3 quarterfinals win against his world finals opponent Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO). He’ll take on Azamat NURYKAU (BLR) for a spot in the finals. 

The winner of Sidakov and Nurykau will wrestle in the 74kg gold-medal bout against the winner of Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) vs. Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR). 

The final opening-day weight being wrestled was 125kg. U23 world champion Givi MATCHARASHVILI (GEO) will face two-time world medalist Jammaladdin MAGOMEDOV (AZE) on the top half, and Anzor KHIZRIEV (RUS), the two-time fifth-place finisher will meet European bronze medalist Oleksandr KHOTSIANIVSKYI (UKR) on the bottom half.

The Day 1 semifinals for the first four freestyle weight classes are scheduled to begin at 18:00 local time.

RESULTS
57kg 
SEMIFINAL - Mahir AMIRASLANOV (AZE) vs. Zavur UGUEV (RUS) 
SEMIFINAL - Taras MARKOVYCH (UKR) vs. Stevan MICIC (SRB)

74kg 
SEMIFINAL -Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) vs. Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR) 
SEMIFINAL -Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS) vs. Azamat NURYKAU (BLR)

86kg 
SEMIFINAL -Alexander GOSTIYEV (AZE) vs. Dauren KURUGLIEV (RUS) 
SEMIFINAL -Ali SHABANAU (BLR) vs. Ahmed DUDAROV (GER)

125kg
SEMIFINAL - Givi MATCHARASHVILI (GEO) vs. Jammaladdin MAGOMEDOV (AZE)
SEMIFINAL - Anzor KHIZRIEV (RUS) vs. Oleksandr KHOTSIANIVSKYI (UKR)

lga KOZYREVA (RUS) celebrates with the Russian flag after her 12-2 victory Jennifer ROESLER (GER) in the 73kg finals. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

2. Cadet European Championships Wrap up in Italy With Russia Sweeping Team Races
The Cadet European Championships wrapped up in Faenza, Italy last weekend and for the second straight age-group European Championships, the Russian Federation swept the team race. Their junior team also won the freestyle, Greco-Roman and women's wrestling team tiles two weeks ago in Pontevedra, Spain. In total, through the cadet, junior, and senior European Championships, Russia has won eight of nine team titles – only dropping the women’s wrestling team race at the senior European Championships. 

In freestyle, seven different nations won a gold medal, but Russia’s four gold medalists pushed their team to the top of the standings with 190 points. They finished 37 points ahead of second place Azerbaijan and 50 points ahead of third place Georgia. 

Russia’s Greco-Roman squad was the team that kick-started the team title winner parades after they opened up the Cadet European Championships with six finalists and three gold medalists. Similar to freestyle, Azerbaijan (points) and Georgia (117 points) rounded out the top three in the team race. 

Russia’s most dominant performances of the weekend came from their women, who scored an impressive 220 points from ten medals. They capped off the weekend with six gold medals after inserting eight into gold-medal bouts. Ukraine (140 points) and Belarus (83 points) were second and third respectively in the women’s wrestling team race. 

Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR) is one of the five wrestle who has locked up their No. 1 seed for the World Championships. (Photo: Max Rose-Fyne) 

3. Five Women’s Wrestling No. 1 Seeds to be Determined at Yasar Dogu 
The fourth and final Ranking Series event, the Yasar Dogu, is set to have huge implications when it comes to seeding the top-four women’s wrestlers at September's Nur-Sultan World Championships. Heading into Istanbul, 25 of the top-40 seeds are still open for the taking. Combining that with freestyle's 23 top-four seeds that remain available, the Yasar Dogu could determine 48 of the 80 freestyle and women's wrestling top-four seeds.

Come Nur-Sultan, there will be 40 seeded wrestlers, but only 15 wrestlers have cemented their seed heading into the Yasar Dogu. Of those 25 openings still up for grabs, there are 74 wrestlers who head into the Yasar Dogu with enough points to overthrow one of the current top-four ranked wrestlers.

CLICK HERE FOR WEIGHT-BY-WEIGHT RANKINGS BREAKDOWN 


Besir ALILI (MKD) became North Macedonia's first-ever cadet European champion. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan) 

4. Alili Makes North Macedonian History, Wins European Gold 
Coming into Saturday's European finals, North Macedonia had three wrestlers reach the gold-medal bout but never had a cadet wrestler win a continental title in any style. Besir ALILI (MKD) changed that after winning his nations first-ever cadet European title with a 7-6 come-from-behind win against Harutyun HOVHANNISYAN (ARM) in the 48kg finals.

The match couldn’t have started any worse for Alili, but he wasn’t going to be denied a gold medal. His Armenian opponent hit a slide by to start the match, and as Alili squared up, Hovhannisyan shot a fireman’s carry. With Alili’s arm trapped, Hovhannisyan came up to his feet and thunderously tossed the Macedonian to his back. The referrers awarded five points to Hovhannisyan for his spectacular throw, leaving Alili down 5-0 less than 30 seconds into the match. To end the exchange that left him behind 5-0, Alili was able to somehow worm his way on top for the reversal, cutting his deficit to four points. 

With under 30 seconds left in the first period, Alili pulled Hovhannisyan’s head down to the mat and locked up a front head pinch, rolling his Armenian opponent over his back three consecutive times. His six points from the front head pinches, coupled with the reversal, gave Alili the 7-5 lead heading into the break. 

From there, there was nothing flashy from Alili’s end, just sound defense and near perfect position that helped him cruise to the 7-6 victory after being down 5-0 to start the match.

5. Tickets for 2019 Wrestling World C'Ships in Nur-Sultan Now on Sale
United World Wrestling announced the start of ticket sales for the 2019 Senior Wrestling World Championships, which are set to take place September 14-22 at the Barys Arena in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

The 2019 Wrestling World Championships should draw even more fan attention as it will serve as the first qualification event for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The top six finishers in each Olympic weight category in Nur-Sultan will secure an Olympic qualification for their nation. The remaining qualification spots will be earned at continental competitions and a "Last Chance Qualifier" during the 2020 competition calendar.

All-session passes and single-day tickets for the 2019 Senior Wrestling World Championships are available NOW and can be purchased at: https://kassir.kz/category/chempionat-mira-po-borbe.

Schedule: 2019 Senior Wrestling World Championships 
Saturday, September 14 
GR – 55-63-72-82kg 

Sunday, September 15 
GR – 55-63-72-82kg 
GR – 67-87-97kg 

Monday, September 16 
GR – 67-87-97kg 
GR – 60-77-130kg 

Tuesday, September 17 
GR – 60-77-130kg 
WW – 50-53-55-72kg 

Wednesday, September 18 
WW – 50-53-55-72kg 
WW – 57-59-65-76kg 

Thursday, September 19 
WW – 57-59-65-76kg 
WW – 62-68kg 
FS – 57-65kg 

Friday, September 20 
WW – 62-68kg 
FS – 57-65kg 
FS – 70-74-92-125kg 

Saturday, September 21 
FS – 70-74-92-125kg 
FS – 61-79-86-97kg 

Sunday, September 22 
FS – 61-79-86-97kg

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media 
1. 
Wrestling 360: King Vlad Goes for Gold
2. #best10 from Day 6 at the Cadet European Championship in #WrestleFaenza
3. Big Moves From Day 6// Cadet European Championships Faenza2019
4. Big Moves From Day 4// Cadet European Championships Faenza2019
5. Big Move From Day 3// Cadet European Championships Faenza2019

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Big Move From Day 3// Cadet European Championships Faenza2019

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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

SCHEDULE
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.