Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! May 28, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing Aleksanyan's return, and results from the Sassari. Also looking at David Taylor's injury and the next set of world rankings. 

1. World and Olympic Champ Aleksanyan Victorious in Return
Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM), the three-time world and Olympic champion made his return to competition this weekend for the first time since failing to medal at the 2018 World Championships in Budapest. 

Aleksanyan, who had medaled at six consecutive World Championships and Olympic Games, dropped his semifinals match in Budapest against eventual world champion Musa EVLOEV (RUS) and forfeited out of the 97kg bronze-medal bout falling to a fifth-place finish. 

This weekend, the “White Bear” returned to the mat at the B. Turlykhanov Cup in Almaty, Kazakhstan, winning the 97kg gold medal. Aleksanyan went 5-0, scoring wins against A. ALIZADEH (IRI), A. ISKAKOV (KAZ), R. NADAREISHVILI (GEO), D. SOTNIKOV (RUS), and A. GOLOVIN (RUS).

The Armenian scored three points in each of his matches and only conceded a single point in his quarterfinals and finals match against Nadareishvili and Golovin, respectively.   

60kg - Ali reza ayat ollah NEJATI (IRI) df. Aidos SULTANGALI (KAZ), via injury default 
67kg - Zaur KABALOEV (RUS) df. Shmagi BOLKVADZE (GEO), via injury default
77kg - Askhat DILMUKHAMEDOV (KAZ) df. Aleksandr CHEKHIRKIN (RUS), 3-1 
87kg - Bekkhan OZDOEV (RUS) df. Ramin soltanmorad TAHERISARTANG (IRI), 3-1 
97kg - Arturn ALEKSANYAN (ARM) df. Aleksandr GOLOVIN, (RUS), 3-0 
130kg - Kiryl HRYSHCHANKA (BLR) df. Vitalii SHCHUR (RUS), 3-0 

2. Wiebe Pins Vorobeva in Battle of Olympic Champions; Chamizo wins Gold in Home Country 
In arguably the most anticipated women’s wrestling match in the Ranking Series' two-year history, Rio Olympic champion Erica WIEBE (CAN) only needed two minutes to pick up the fall over London Olympic champion Natalia VOROBEVA (RUS). 

In the first period of the 76kg finals, Wiebe ducked a front headlock attempt from her Russian opponent and used an unorthodox inside leg hook to throw Vorobeva on her back for the fall. “The secret to my success is I’m pretty dangerous from every position,” Wiebe said when asked about the unconventional maneuver she used to pick up the fall. She went on to say, “Today was a test, and I’m happy with how I competed. I love being creative on the mats, and I love to get to wrestling positions. That’s my bread and butter, so I went for it.”

With her win in Italy last weekend, Wiebe jumps Elmira SYZDYKOVA (KAZ) for the No. 5 spot in the world at 76kg with 52 points. 

Meanwhile, Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) capped off his run to a Sassari title in front of his home nation with a 6-4 win over tenth-ranked Daniyar KAISANOV (KAZ) in a battle of reigning 74kg continental champions. 

Chamizo used the support from the ruckus Italian crowd to push him past Kaisanov in the finals. “I’m so happy for (the fans). They support me; I needed that. I love the fans.” 

The Italian, who won the European Championships last month in Bucharest, Romania, found himself in a four-point hole against the reigning Asian champion after surrendering a takedown and a leg lace - but closed the Kazakh wrester’s lead to two points with a takedown of his own before the ending whistle of the first period sounded. 

In the second period, Chamizo picked up his offensive attack rate and gained the criteria lead with an early two. The two-time world champion tacked on his second takedown of the period and third overall for the match and took the 6-4 advantage into the final 30 seconds. Chamzio fought off several attacks and won his first career Sassari gold medal, improving on his eighth-place finish from 2014. 

Chamizo entered the Sassari as the fourth-ranked wrestler in the world with 56 points and will jump Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO) and Jordan Ernest BURROUGHS (USA) after collecting 16 points for his gold-medal performance on Saturday.

Final Results 

Women's Wrestling

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I know my destination

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3. David Taylor Out For Final X, Nur-Sultan World Championships 
David TAYLOR (USA), the reigning 86kg world champion and one of the best pound-for-pound wrestlers in the world, announced on is social media channels that he’s withdrawing from Final X, the United States’ World Team selection tournament. Taylor recently underwent surgery to repair right knee damage sustained in his Beat the Street’s charity bout while wrestling Drew FOSTER (USA). 

In the opening sequence of the May 6 bout, Foster got to a low-level shot to the right leg of Taylor and came up through the middle. Foster peaked out the back door and isolated the right leg of Taylor. Foster, who was posted on his right hand, threw his left hip to the mat, which is when Taylor stopped wrestling and immediately grabbed his right knee.

If David Taylor weren't injured and had been healthy enough to compete at Final X, he would have had to defeat Pat DOWNEY (USA) in a best-of-three series for the 86kg spot. With Taylor out, Downey, the winner of the 86kg bracket at US Open, will now be awarded the United States' World Team spot. 

Also of note, Taylor’s departure from the Final X means that Fatih ERDIN (TUR), who has 84 Ranking Series points, has locked up the No.1 seed at the World Championships. 

Here's what the 86kg rankings look like after removing Taylor:
No. 1 - Fatih ERDIN (TUR) (86 points) 
No. 2 - Hassan YAZDANI (43 points) 
No. 3 - Taimuraz FRIEV (ESP) (39 points)
No. 4 - Dauren KURUGLIEV (RUS) (36 points)

Henna JOHANSSON (SWE) won the 62kg Sassari title, outplacing two other wrestlers from Sweden in her bracket. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

4. Important In-Country Battles Take Place Sassari 
There were 13 in-country battles that took place at the Sassari, but three matches, in particular, are expected to have further implications on the selection process for the upcoming European Games (when applicable) and the 2019 World Championships. 

In Greco-Roman, Hungary's Viktor LORINCZ won his third Ranking Series gold medal of the year, to improve his 2019 record to 13-0, and picked up his third consecutive Ranking Series victory over fellow Hungarian Erik SZILVASSY. Lorincz now has wins over the U23 world champion at the Zagreb Open, the Hungarian Grand Prix, and the Sassari, and cemented himself as Hungary’s top 87kg wrestler. 

In women’s wrestling, Sweden, who is stumbling over the decision of who to enter into the European Games and World Championships, inserted three world-class athletes into the 62kg bracket in Sardinia: Henna JOHANSSON (SWE), Malin MATTSSON (SWE), and Moa NYGREN (SWE). 

The decision is extremely tough because Johansson and Mattsson both have world bronze medals, and Nygren is coming off a European bronze-medal finish in Bucharest last month.

In Sardina, Mattsson and Nygren met in the first round, where Mattsson came out on top, 6-2. Mattsson ultimately settled for a bronze medal finish – but it was Johansson who went undefeated and came out on top of the bracket, defeating Elmira GAMBAROVA (AZE), 6-4. 

In freestyle, Iran’s senior Asian champion Alireza KARIMIMACHIANI stopped U23 Asian champion Arashk MOHEBI (IRI), 7-0, and gained supremacy at 92kg. Karimi went on to win the tournament and Mohebi fought back and finished in third. 

After winning titles at the Sassari and Asian C'ships, and finishing the World C'ships, Zagreb Open, and Hungarian Grand Prix in third place, KIM Hyeonwoo (KOR) has locked up the 77kg No. 1 seed at the World Championships. (Photo: Gabor Martin) 

5. New World Rankings to be Released Next Week
United World Wrestling will be releasing the latest point-based rankings next week. The June edition of the world rankings will include results from the Budapest World Championships, all five of the Continental Championships, and the first three Ranking Series events. 

There are two Ranking Series events left where wrestlers can earn additional points before the 2019 World Championships, which take place in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan on September 14-22.

Istanbul, Turkey will host the final freestyle and women's wrestling Ranking Series event, the Yasar Dogu, on July 11-14, and Minsk, Belarus will be the host site for the Oleg Karavaev (July 26-28), which is the remaining Greco-Roman Ranking Series event. 

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media

1. Big Move Monday -- P.OLLI (FIN) -- 2018 World C'ships
2. What a second period! Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) erases a three-point second-period deficit by scoring a pair of takedowns to defeat Khetik TSABOLOV, 5-4 #WrestleSassari#freestylewrestling#unitedworldwrestling
3. World Wrestling Day
4. In arguably the most anticipated women’s wrestling match in the Ranking Series' two-year history, Rio Olympic champion Erica WIEBE (CAN) only needed two minutes to pick up the fall over London Olympic champion Natalia VOROBEVA (RUS). “The secret to my success is I’m pretty dangerous from every position.”
5. Gold Medal Matches - Sassari 2019 - Day 1. The Greco-Roman final matches from the Ranking Series event in Italy.

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Big Move Monday -- P.OLLI (FIN) -- 2018 World C'ships

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For the wrestlers ...

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Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! June 11, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing Final X results plus Russia and the USA sweeping their continental c'ships. Also looking at the newest set of world rankings and Russia's European Games roster. 

1. First Set of Final X Matches Wrap up in New Jersey 
The United States wrapped up the first of two Nur-Sultan World Team selection tournaments, dubbed “Final X,” last weekend on the campus of Rutgers University. Nearly 5,400 fans were in attendance on Saturday to watch the 14 wrestlers who punched their ticket to the 2019 World Championships. 

The biggest storyline wasn’t reigning world J’den COX or two-time world bronze medalist Gable STEVESON sweeping their opponents, or David TAYLOR forfeiting his Nur-Sultan spot to Pat DOWNEY. What caused the most chatter at Final X was the 65kg matchup between USA’s 2017 world team member Zain RETHERFORD and Yianni DIAKOMIHALIS, who is coming off a win over No. 1-ranked Bajrang PUNIA (IND). 

Retherford won the first match, 10-4, and also won the second match, but that match is currently under protest. 

Diakomihalis, clearly unhappy with the timing of a late challenge that awarded Zain the second match on criteria, announced on his twitter that he’s protesting the match, saying, “Currently protesting the call to potentially have a wrestle-off to decide match 3/who wrestles at the world championships.”

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Well, how would you score it?

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The controversial moment of the match came with 65 seconds left in the second match. 

Retherford, trailing 6-4, shot a head outside single and got chest wrapped. Two points were awarded to each wrestler, which meant Diakomihalis controlled the 8-6 advantage and tied the series at one match apiece. But, after the final scramble that lasted over a minute, Retherford’s corner, manned by Olympic champion Cael SANDERSON, threw the brick to review the two-and-two. Ultimately, the call was overturned and instead of awarding both wrestlers two, Diakomihalis’ two was erased, giving Retherford the 6-6 victory on criteria. 

It’s not clear if Diakomihalis will be awarded the third match, but if he does, the winner of that rubber match will punch their ticket to the 2019 Nur-Sultan World Championships. 

The second and final set of matchups will take place this Saturday on the campus of the University of Nebraska. 


Men’s freestyle
65kg - Zain RETHERFORD df. Yianni DIAKOMIHALIS, two matches to none (10-4, 6-6) 
86kg - Pat DOWNEY df. David TAYLOR, two matches to none (injury default) 
92kg - J’den COX df. Bo NICKAL, two matches to none (4-2, 5-0) 
125kg - Nick GWIAZDOWSKI df. Gable STEVESON, two matches to none (4-4, 3-3) 

Women’s freestyle
50kg - Whitney CONDER df. Victoria ANTHONY, two matches to none (7-4, fall) 
57kg - Jenna BURKERT df.  Becka LEATHERS, two matches to none (4-2, 5-0)
65kg - Forrest MOLINARI df.  Maya NELSON, two matches to one (3-5, 12-2, 4-1) 
68kg - Tamyra MENSAH-STOCK df. Alexandria GLAUDE, two matches to none (fall, 10-0) 
72kg - Victoria FRANSIS df.  Alyvia FISKE, two matches to none (7-2, fall) 

55kg - Max NOWRY df. Brady KOONTZ, two matches to none (3-0, 11-5)
67kg - Ellis Coleman df.  Jamel Johnson, two matches to none (9-1, 6-0)
77kg - Pat SMITH df. Kamal BEY, two matches to one (2-11, 2-1, 6-3)
82kg - John STEFANOWICZ df. Kendrick SANDERS, two matches to none (8-5, 3-2) 
87kg - Joe RAU df. Ben PROVISIOR, 2 two matches to none (2-1, 5-1) 

Saipudin MAGOMEDOV (RUS) was one of Russia's nine Junior European champions. He was the 125kg title. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

2. Russia Sweeps Team Titles at Junior European Championships 
The Russian Federation swept the freestyle, Greco-Roman, and women’s wrestling team titles at the 2019 Junior European Championship -- doing so by winning a combined nine gold medals. Their freestyle and women’s wrestlers each won a quartet of titles, and their Greco-Roman squad grabbed a solo gold medal.

In freestyle, Russia (205 points) medaled at all ten weight classes and captured the team title 89 points ahead of second place Moldova (116 points). Though Azerbaijan had two champions, which was one more than Moldova, they finished in third place with 115 points. 

The Russian women had 154 points, won four golds and two bronzes, and edged a Ukrainian (144 points) team that medaled in seven weight classes by ten points. Belarus had two champions and closed out the women’s wrestling portion of the tournament in third place with 126 points. 

Russia’s Greco-Roman team inserted four wrestlers into gold-medal bouts, but only won one of those four finals matches. They finished with 159 points and narrowly edged Georgia (151 points), who won three individual titles, by eight points. Hungary, who had a trio of women reach the top of the podium in Spain, rounded out the top three with 124 points.

3. USA Wins Freestyle, Greco-Roman, and Women's Wrestling Junior Pan-American Team Titles 
The United States dominated the Junior Pan-American Championships in Guatemala, City, Guatemala, and won team titles in freestyle, Greco-Roman, and women's wrestling. 

Their freestyle wrestlers reached the finals in all ten weights and won eight gold medals. The United States (240 points) doubled second place Canada’s (120 points) point total. Canada had five wrestlers medal and finished seven points ahead of Mexico, who had 113 points. 

Mexico’s Greco-Roman team won four of the ten titles but had to settle for a second-place finish after the American wrestlers medaled in all ten weight classes. The United States ended the Greco-Roman competition with 190 points, Mexico finished with 130 points, and Colombia, with their pair of golds, finished in third with 122 points. 

The American women placed nine wrestlers into the finals, won three gold medals, and won the team title with 210 points. Canada won a silver and six bronzes and finished in second place with 134 points. Brazil, who had 102 points, captured a pair of golds and two bronze medals and finished in third place. 

4. Russia Released European Games Lineup 
The Russian Federation recently released their roster for the upcoming European Games, which takes place in Mink, Belarus (June 25-30). Their six-man roster features returning world champions Zavur UGUEV (57kg), Zaurbek SIDAKOV (74kg), and Abdulrashid SADULAEV (97kg). 

They’ll be led by No. 1-ranked three-time world and Rio Olympic champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev. Sadulaev, the pound-for-pound best wrestler in the world, is coming off winning his fourth European Championship gold medal and will be looking to defend his European Games title from 2015. 

Uguev will be making his second appearance since winning the 57kg world title in Budapest. He sat out the majority of the year with an apparent knee injury but made his return at the Ali Aliev Tournament where he won the gold medal. 

Sidakov, the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the world at 74kg, will be making his third appearance of the year. In January, Sidakov won the Ivan Yariguin, then competed in the World Cup where he went 2-0.  

The team also features two-time world bronze medalist Ahmed CHAKAEV (65kg), and world fifth-place finishers Dauren KURUGLIEV (86kg) and Anzor KHIZRIEV (125kg). 

Russia’s European Games Team 
57kg - Zavur UGUEV – 2018 world champion 
65kg - Ahmed CHAKAEV - two-time world bronze medalist 
74kg - Zaurbek SIDAKOV - World Champion 
86kg - Dauren KURUGLIEV - 2017 European Champion 
97kg - Abdulrashid SADULAEV - Olympic champion, three-time world champion.
125kg - Anzor KHIZRIEV – European bronze medalist 

Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) won the Sassari in his home country of Italy and jumped to the No. 2 spot at 74kg in the latest world rankings. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

5. Updated World Rankings Published on UWW's Homepage 
United World Wrestling has released the latest set of point-based rankings. This month’s rankings have been updated with the points from the third Ranking Series event, the Sassari City Matteo Pellicone Memorial, which took place on the Italian island of Sardinia. 

After June’s set of rankings, the point-based rankings will only be updated one additional time before September’s 2019 Nur-Sultan World Championships. They’ll be updated after the final freestyle and women’s wrestling Ranking Series event of the year, the Yasar Dogu (July 11-14), and the last Greco-Roman Ranking Series event, Oleg Karavaev (July 26-28). 

Though several wrestlers have locked up their top four seed at the World Championships, many are still within contention to slide into a top-four seed. With that being said, you can expect the final two Ranking Series events to be stacked with loads of talented wrestlers who are looking to solidify one of the top-four seeds at their respective weight classes. 

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media 

1. Big Move Monday -- BANDARENKA M. (BLR) -- 2019 Junior European C'ships
2. Scenes from our upcoming Wrestling 360 Documentary on the Canadian women's team featuring Olympic champion @eweebz . 
3. Big Move From Day 3 // Junior Panams #WrestleGuatemalaCity
4. Kerymov (UKR) Wins in athletic fashion in the early rounds of freestyle competition. 
5. Big Move from Day One of #wrestleguatemalacity ... Gabriel ROSILLO KINDLEAN (CUB)