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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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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Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! July 23, 2019

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing the Oleg Karavaev, German Grand Prix and the Cadet World Championships. Also looking wrestle-off news surrounding Russia and Japan. 

1. Oleg Karavaev Begins Friday
The top-four freestyle and women's wrestling world championship seeds are cemented, and after this weekend, the top-four Greco-Roman seeds will be, too. The regular season closes out this weekend with the final Greco-Roman Ranking Series event, the Oleg Karavaev. The two-day tournament, which will be in Minsk, Belarus, will feature 175 wrestlers from 19 different nations.

Leading the nearly 200-man field is Emrah KUS (TUR), the reigning world runner-up and No. 1-ranked wrestler in the world at 82kg. Kus leads an entry list littered with 24 wrestlers who are ranked inside the top-20 of the latest Greco-Roman rankings. 

Kus' weight of 82kg will feature six ranked wrestlers -- which is the most top-20 guys in one bracket. A pair of other stacked weight classes to pay close attention to are 67kg and 130kg. Both of these weight classes house at least four top-20 competitors.

ENTRIES: Click Here for full entries. 

2. Cadet World Championships Start This Upcoming Monday 
It’s officially world championship season! The 2019 Cadet World Championships begin in less than one week in Sofia, Bulgaria. 

The first set of brackets will come out on Sunday night, but freestyle action kicks off on Monday. Women’s wrestling takes over center stage on Wednesday, and Greco-Roman closes out the first World Championships of the year beginning on Friday. 

Here is the full schedule for the Cadet World Championships.

Nanami IRIE joined her sister on Japan's world team after she defeated Haruna OKUNO 3-1. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

3. Japan’s World Team Set 
After what felt like months of wrestle-offs, Japan has their world team set after the conclusion of the non-Olympic weight wrestle-offs which took place in Tokyo last weekend. 

For the second time in two weeks, a reigning world champion was knocked off Japan's team to this year's World Championships. And for the second time, the conqueror was a wrestler named Irie.

Nanami IRIE earned a place alongside older sister Yuki on the plane to Kazakhstan when she defeated Haruna OKUNO 3-1 in a playoff for the women's 55kg berth on the Japanese squad.

Irie, a former world junior and cadet champion, scored a takedown off a counter early in the second period and held on to beat Okuno, the 2018 world champion at 53kg who missed out on the world team in that weight class.

Meanwhile, Rio 2016 silver medalist Shinobu OTA showed he could handle the extra weight at Greco 63kg when he crushed national champion Yoshiki YAMADA by 11-0 technical fall as he eyes winning his first senior world medal.

Japan National Team
57kg - Yuki TAKAHASHI
61kg -Kaiki YAMAGUCHI
65kg- Takuto OTOGURO
70kg - Kojiro SHIGA
74kg- Mao OKUI
79kg- Yudai TAKAHASHI
86kg- Sosuke TAKATANI
92kg -Tkuma OTSU
97kg -Naoya AKAGUMA
125 kg - Nobuyoshi ARAKIDA

55kg - Shota OGAWA
60kg - Kenichiro FUMITA
63kg - Shinobu OTA
67kg -  Shogo TAKAHASHI
72kg - Tomohiro INOUE
77kg - Shohei YABIKU
82kg - Yuya OKAJIMA
87kg - Masato SUMI
97kg - Yuta NARA
130kg - Arata SONODA

Women's Wrestling
50kg - Yuki IRIE
53kg - Mayu MUKAIDA
55kg - Nanami IRIE
57kg - Risako KAWAI
59kg - Yuzuka INAGAKI
62kg - Yukako KAWAI
65kg - Naomi RUIKE
68kg - Sara DOSHO
72kg - Masako FURUICHI
76kg - Hiroe MINAGAWA

Click here to read Ken Marantz' full wrap of the non-Olympic weight wrestle-offs. 

Reigning 74kg world champion Zaurbek SIDAKOV will have to outplace 2016 world champion Magomed KURBANALIEV at the Poland Open in order to make Russia's Nur-Sultan world team. (Photo: Gabor Martin) 

4. Russia's 86kg Wrestle-Off Scheduled for Poland Open 
Next week’s Ziolkowski - Pytlasinski Tournament in Warsaw, Poland will double up as the host site for the Russian Federation’s special wrestle-offs at 86kg between Dauren KURUGLIEV and Artur NAIFONOV. 

Kurugliev, the European Games champion, was released from the Russian National Championships where Naifonov, the 2018 European champion, was the winner of the 86kg bracket. The other weights that were excused from the National Championships were 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 97kg and 125kg. But, those weights will not be contested at the Poland Open. 

The standard in years past at these special wrestle-offs has been that the highest placer at each weight will go on to represent Russia at their respective weight at the World Championships. That is expected to be the case again at 86kg. After the conclusion of the Poland Open and the final five wrestle-offs, the Russian coaching staff will announce their Nur-Sultan world team representatives in late-August.

Remaining Wrestle-Offs 
57kg - Zaur UGUEV vs. Ramiz GAMZATOV or Aryian TYUTRIN
65kg - Akhmed CHAKAEV vs. Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV
74kg - Zaurbek SIDAKOV vs. Magomed KURBANALIEV
97kg - Abdulrashid SADULAEV vs. Vladislav BAITSAEV

Three-time world champion Frank STAEBLER (GER) will be making his first appearance down at 67kg at next weekend's German Grand Prix. (Photo: Max Rose-Fyne)

5. Staebler Makes 67kg Return, Four World or Olympic Champions to Compete at German GP 
Germany’s three-time world champion Frank STAEBLER will be making his first appearance down to 67kg next weekend at the 36th Annual German Grand Prix in Dortmund, Germany (August 3-4). 

Stebler, the reigning 72kg world champion, is dropping down to 67kg in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games where he’s eyeing his first Olympic medal. The German Grand Prix will be the first time Staebler has competed down at 67kg (previously 66kg) since taking seventh place at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. He'll be looking to win his fourth career German GP title, but first since 2016. He didn’t compete in the tournament in 2017 but fell to Toni OJALA (FIN) in last year’s finals. 

The German Grand Prix is also set to feature four Olympic medalists and two other reigning world champions. 

Olympic champions Roman VLASOV (RUS) and Davit CHAKVETADZE (RUS) will compete at 77kg and 87kg, respectively, while Rio bronze Stig Andre BERGE (NOR) and London runner-up Heiki NABI (EST) will take part in the tournament at 60kg and 130kg, respectively. 

In addition to all the Olympic medalists in action, returning world champions Artem SURKOV (RUS) and Musa EVLOEV (RUS) will take the mat in Germany, too. 

Surkov will compete at 67kg, where he’s the reigning world champion. Evloev will also compete at the weight where he’s the reigning world champion, 97kg. 

ENTRIES: https://www.ringen.de/

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media 

1. Big Move Monday -- @snyderman45 -- Yasar Dogu Ranking Series 2019
2. Here are the final top-four rankings heading into the #WrestleNurSultan World Championships. Who are your 🔒 to win a world🥇in Kazakhstan 🇰🇿? 
3. United World Wrestling Joins World Taekwondo for Historic Event at Azraq Refugee Camp.
4. Instead of a #THROWBackThursday, lets throw it forward to the the 2050 European Championships!
5. Are you coming to support your wrestlers in #WrestleNurSultan? Buy your tickets!