Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! November 13, 2018

By Eric Olanowski

Reviewing Tuesday's U23 Greco-Roman finals and Olympic champion Ramonov's recent back surgery. Also looking at the American Wrestling League's matchups and the final point-base rankings of the year. 

1. Cartaraga and Pataridze Return to U23 World Finals in #BuchaWrestU23
The first day of the 2018 U23 World Championships have come to a close, but not before two wrestlers earned their second-consecutive U23 World finals bids.

2017 U23 World champion at 71 kg Daniel CARTARAGA (MDA) made his second-straight U23 World finals, this time at 77 kg, pinning 2018 Junior World silver medalist and 2017 Junior World bronze medalist Sajan SAJAN (IND) in the first period.

In the finals, Cartaraga will meet 2018 U23 European champion Rajbek BISULTANOV (DEN), who knocked off reigning U23 World champion Fatih CENGIZ (TUR) with a 4-1 decision.

Also advancing to his second U23 World finals was Zviadi PATARIDZE (GEO), who is a five-time age-group World champion, winning three Junior World titles and two Cadet World titles.

To earn a spot in the finals, the Georgian finished off 2017 U23 World bronze medalist Konsta MAEENPAEAE (FIN) with an 8-0 technical fall in 56 seconds.

Pataridze looks to improve on his silver-medal finish from last year. To do so, he will have to go through 2016 Junior World silver medalist and two-time Junior World bronze medalist Osman YILDIRIM (TUR) in the 130 kg finals.

The Greco-Roman finals begin on Tuesday at 18:00 local time.

Click HERE to see all Greco-Roman finals matchups. 

Soslan RAMONOV (RUS) carries his regional flag along with the Russian flag after winning the 2016 Rio gold medal. (Photo by Gabor Martin) 

2. Olympic Champion Ramonov Undergoes Back Surgery 
Rio Olympic champion Soslan RAMONOV (RUS) is expected to miss three to six months after undergoing spinal surgery to correct a back issue that has long troubled him. Ramonov said, “It’s true that I had an operation on my back last week, but I’ve already got back to work and started physical therapy.”

The timing of the surgery could not have come at a worse time for the two-time world medalist, as it’ll sideline him for two of Russia’s most significant tournaments, the 2018 Alans and next January’s Ivan Yarygin. 

“I expect to return to the mat in January, and hopefully enter a tournament at 65kg closer to the fall.” 

This statement should raise eyebrows of wrestling fans because Ramonov was arguably the most dominant wrestler in the world during his run to the 65kg Rio Olympic gold medal. After that win, he bumped up to 70kg and failed to make it back on the Russian world team in back-to-back years after earning medals at three consecutive medals at the World Championships and Olympic Games. 

David Taylor carries the American flag around the mat after winning the 2018 world championship.(Photo by Gabor Martin) 

3. Starting Line-ups announced for November 30 American Wrestling League 
Reigning world champions Kyle DAKE (USA) and David TAYLOR (USA) drafted their teams two weeks for the inaugural “American Wrestling League I The Beginning,” and this weekend, the pair of gold-medal winners finalized their rosters for the event that will take place on for November 30 at U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

The premier bout of the ten match card comes at 65kg where Jordan OLIVER (USA) will meet Zain RETHERFORD (USA). Team Dake’s Oliver is coming back from a year-long suspension, while Team Taylor’s Retherford returns after sitting out the 2017 season. 

This will not be the last time these two meet, as they are expected to both compete for the 2019 world team spot at 65kg. 

Each of the starters from Team Dake and Team Taylor will pick up $2,500 to show, and $5,000 to win. Fans can follow all of the AWL action live on trackwrestling.com on November 30.

AWL I Matchups
Team Dake vs. Team Taylor 
57kg - Frank PERRELLI vs. Nico MEGALUDIS 
61kg - Tony RAMOS vs. Cory CLARK 
65kg - Jordan OLIVER vs. Zain RETHERFORD 
70kg - James GREEN vs. Brandon SORENSEN 
74kg - Richie LEWIS vs. Tommy GANTT 
79kg - Isaiah MARTINEZ vs. Alex DIERINGER 
86kg - Nick HEFLIN vs. Sam BROOKS 
92kg - Deron WINN vs. Mike MACCHIAVELLO 
97kg - Jacob KASPER vs. Kyven GADSON 
125kg - Dom BRADLEY vs. Adam COON 

RONG Ningning (CHN), this year's 57kg world champion is entered at 59kg. (Photo by Max Rose-Fyne) 

4. Women’s Wrestling at the U23 World Championships Begins Tomorrow 
Greco-Roman wrestling at the U23 World Championships is wrapping up and women’s wrestling is next in line to shine at the Polyvalent Hall in Bucharest, Romania. 

Highlighting the women’s wrestling field is Yukako KAWAI (JPN), RONG Ningning (CHN), and Khanum VELIEVA (RUS). 

Rong, who will be up 2kg from her world championship weight of 57kg, will try to cap off 2018 with another world title. Last month, Rong grabbed the senior-level gold medal, adding to her impressive twelve-month run where she reached the top of the podium at the Asian Championships, China Open, Ivan Yarygin, and Poland Open. 

Another 2018 world champion that’ll be competing this week is Russia’s junior world champion Khanum Valieva. Two months ago, Valieva captured her fourth age-level when she won her second straight junior world gold medal at the 2018 Junior World Championships in Trnava, Slovakia. 

Though she fell short in the 2018 senior-level gold-medal bout, Japan’s Kawai is fresh off a second-place finish at the senior-level World Championship two weeks ago in Budapest, Hungary. In the finals, Kawai lost to Bulgaria's Taybe YUSEIN (BUL), 6-2 in the 62kg gold-medal bout, improving on her 2017 eighth-place finish.

Click here for the full schedule.

 Bajrang BAJRANG (IND) fist-pumps after making it to the gold medal bout of the 2018 World Championships. (Photo by Max Rose-Fyne) 

5. Post World Championship Rankings Published 
The final point-base rankings of the 2018 calendar year are posted on www.unitedworldwrestling.org. 

In freestyle, eight different nations finished the year with a top-ranked wrestler, as Russia led the way with a trio of No. 1 ranked guys. Of the ten wrestlers who own a freestyle top ranking, Zavur UGUEV (RUS) is the only one who claimed a gold medal at the 2018 World Championships. 

In Greco-Roman, seven different nations have a wrestler ranked in the top position to end the season. Hungary is the front-runner, having three wrestlers in the first spot. The two Greco-Roman world champions that end the season as the top-ranked wrestler are Sergey EMELIN (RUS) and Artem SURKOV (RUS). 

Ukraine and Turkey lead the way in women's wrestling with a pair of wrestlers sitting atop of the final rankings. Of the ten world champions, only Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR), Petra OLLI (FIN) and Ningning RONG (CHN) end the year in the top spot of the final 2018 point-base rankings. 

Freestyle
57kg - Zavur UGUEV (RUS)
61kg - Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS)
65kg - Bajrang BAJRANG (IND)
70kg - Andriy KVYATKOVSKYY (UKR)
74kg - Frank CHAMIZO MARQUEZ (ITA)
79kg - Akhmed GADZHIMAGOMEDOV (RUS)
86kg - Fatih ERDIN (TUR) 
92kg - Alireza KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI) 
97kg - Elizbar ODIKADZE (GEO) 
125kg - Nicholas Edward GWIAZDOWSKI (USA)

Greco-Roman 
55kg - Ekrem OZTURK (TUR)
60kg - Sergey EMELIN (RUS) 
63kg - Elmurat TASMURADOV (UZB) 
67kg - Artem SURKOV (RUS) 
72kg - Balint KORPASI (HUN) 
77kg - Tamas Lörincz (HUN) 
82kg - Viktar SASUNOUSKI (BLR) 
87kg - Islam ABBASOV (AZE) 
97kg - Balazs KISS (HUN) 
130kg - Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB) 

Women's Wrestling 
50kg -  Mariya STADNIK (AZE) 
53kg - Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA) 
55kg - Zalina SIDAKOVA (BLR) 
57kg - Ningning RONG (CHN) 
59kg - Elif YESILIRMAK (TUR) 
62kg - Yuliia TKACH OSTAPCHUK (UKR) 
65kg - Petra OLLI (FIN) 
68kg - Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR) 
72kg - Nasanburmaa OCHIRBAT (MGL) 
76kg - Yasemin ADAR (TUR) 

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media 

1. Mihut (ROU) is an arm throw wizard 🤼‍♂️. #unitedworldwrestling #uww #wrestling
2. Who do you think wins the race? Comment👇1, 2, 3 or 4!
3. Highlights from the Greco-Roman qualification round at #buchawrest2018
4. You’re rubbing off on the kids, @aligaraii!
5. Kozliuk (UKR) makes his way to the next round 🇺🇦 🤼‍♂️ . #wrestling #uww #unitedworldwrestling

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Who do you think wins the race? Comment👇1, 2, 3 or 4!

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You’re rubbing off on the kids, @aligaraii!

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Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! February 4, 2020

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing David Taylor's return date and the updated world rankings. Also looking at the upcoming African, European and Asian Championships. 

1. David Taylor Long-Awaited Return Set for Pan-Am Qualifier 
David TAYLOR announced he’ll return to competition on March 15 at the Pan-American OG Qualifier in Ottowa, Canada. The “Magic Man” reported his comeback on his Instagram, saying, “I’m so excited to return to competition at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier in 7 weeks  Ottawa, Canada. Let’s Go!!!” 

Taylor, a 2018 world champion, suffered a season-ending knee injury while wrestling Drew FOSTER (USA) at Beat the Streets and has been sidelined since May 6, 2019.

The United States failed to qualify for the Olympic Games at 86kg at the 2019 World Championships. They'll rely heavily on Taylor to qualify the weight in Canada after his 315-day layoff. Taylor has to finish top-two in Ottawa to cement the USA’s spot in Tokyo at 86kg. 

If Taylor fails to finish top-two at the Pan-American OG Qualifier, the United States will likely send their Olympic Trials winner to the “Last Chance Qualifier” on April 30 - May 3 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Whoever the Stars and Stripes sends to Bulgaria must to finish with at least a silver medal or the United States will not be represented at 86kg at the Olympic Games.

United States Tokyo Olympic Freestyle Qualified Weights 
57kg – n/a 
65kg – n/a 
74kg – Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) – 2019 world bronze
86kg – n/a 
97kg – Kyle SNYDER (USA) – 2019 world bronze
125kg – n/a 

2. Tokyo 2020 Qualifiers Bajrang, Kaisanov, Micic Improve Freestyle Rank in January
Bajrang PUNIA (IND), Stevan MICIC (SRB), and Daniyar KAISANOV (KAZ) moved one step closer to sealing up seeds for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo after the trio medaled at this month’s Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series tournament in Rome. 

Indian superstar Bajrang had the most successful outing in Rome -- earning gold and taking home 16 points -- while Kaisanov and Micic each earned 12 points for taking bronze. 

In the 65kg finals, Bajrang upended Jordan OLIVER (USA) 4-3 to catapult himself from No. 4 to No. 2 in the rankings. He now trails  No. 1 Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS) by 19 points and sits ahead of No. 3 Daulet NIYAZBEKOV (KAZ) by one point. All three are expected to compete in their respective continental championships this February and can earn up to an additional 22 points.  Selahattin KILICSALLAYAN (TUR) jumped to No. 5 at 65kg where he now trails No. 4 Iszmail MUSZUKAJEV (HUN) by a single point.

Click here to read the full breakdown of the latest freestyle rankings.

Top Ranked Freestyle Wrestlers
57kg - Zavur UGUEV (RUS) - 60
61kg - Beka LOMTADZE (GEO) - 60
65kg - Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS) - 60
70kg - David BAEV (RUS) - 60
74kg - Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS) -  60
79kg - Kyle Douglas DAKE (USA) - 60
86kg - Hassan YAZDANICHARATI  (IRI) - 60
92kg - J'Den COX (USA) - 58
97kg - Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) - 60
125kg - Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) - 60

3. "Wrestler of the Year" Lorincz in Pursuit of Top Seed at Tokyo 2020
Viktor LORINCZ (HUN), United World Wrestling’s reigning “Wrestler of the Year” in Greco-Roman, made it clear this month that he’s out to defend his well-earned title and win Olympic gold.

Lorincz improved his Ranking Series tournament record to a perfect 23-0 this month with a one-point victory over 2019 Asian silver medalist Kumar SUNIL (IND) in the finals of the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series. With the win, the Hungarian added 16 points to his second ranking leaving him just four points shy of world champion Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) heading into next month’s continental championships. 

But Lorincz is poised to shake up the top spot of the 87kg ranking and gain control of the world's No. 1 spot. Beleniuk elected to sit out of the European Championships, so Lorincz only needs to finish top-eight in Rome to reach the summit of the 87kg rankings.

"I want to win the [European Championships and Poland Open] because it will help my seed for the Olympic Games," said Lorincz, the defending world silver medalist at 87kg. “I will also be in the lead for the Ranking Series again.”

Germany's Denis KUDLA, who is ranked fourth at 87kg, is also expected to miss the European Championships. Without Beleniuk and Kudla, Lorincz needs nine points at the European Championships to ensure a top-four seed in Tokyo.

Click here to read the full breakdown of the latest Greco-Roman rankings.

Top Ranked Greco-Roman Wrestlers
55kg - Nugzari TSURTSUMIA (GEO) - 58
60kg - Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) - 60
63kg - Shinobu OTA (JPN) - 58
67kg - Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) - 60
72kg - Abuiazid MANTSIGOV (RUS) - 60
77kg - Tamas LORINCZ (HUN) - 60
82kg - Lasha GOBADZE (GEO) - 60
87kg - Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) - 60
97kg - Musa EVLOEV (RUS) - 60
130kg - Riza KAYAALP (TUR) - 60

4. Tynybekova and Mensah Inch Closer to Locking up Top Seed at Olympics
Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ) and Tamyra MENSAH-STOCK (USA) inched closer to locking up top seeds at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo after medalling at the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series tournament this month in Rome. 

Tynybekova, who took gold at the Matteo Pellicone, has amassed a comfortable 36-point lead over No. 2 Taybe YUSEIN (BUL) and will earn the No. 1 seed at 62kg in Tokyo if she earns four points at the Asian Championships February 18-23 in Delhi. Tynybekova is the defending Asian champion.

Mensah-Stock finds herself in a similar situation heading into the Pan-American Championships March 6-9 in Ottawa.

Mensah-Stock (74 points) earned 60 with her gold at the world championships last September and added another 14 after taking silver at the Matteo Pellicone. She has a 34-point advantage over Jenny FRANSSON (SWE) and can put her out of striking distance -- and become the No. 1 seeded 68kg woman at the Olympic Games -- if she scores six points at the Pan-American Championships.

Click here to read the full breakdown of the latest women’s wrestling rankings.

Top Ranked Women's Wrestlers
50kg - Mariya STADNIK (AZE) - 60
53kg - Yong Mi PAK (PRK) - 60
55kg - Jacarra Gwenisha WINCHESTER (USA) - 58
57kg - Risako KAWAI (JPN) - 60
59kg - Linda MORAIS (CAN) - 58
62kg - Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ) - 76
65kg - Inna TRAZHUKOVA (RUS) - 72
68kg - Tamyra Mariama MENSAH (USA) - 74
72kg - Natalia VOROBEVA (RUS) - 58
76kg - Adeline Maria GRAY (USA) - 60

5. February to Feature Trio of Continental Championships
February might as well be called “Continental Championship Month.” The African, European and Asian Championships are all sandwiched between February 4-23. 

This year’s continental championships hold extra weight -- especially during the Olympic year. The continental championships grant those Olympic-qualified wrestlers an opportunity to improve on their ranking and earn up to 22 Ranking Series points.

The African Championships kick-off first. They’ll take place February 04-09 in Alger, Algeria, and will be highlighted by 23 of last year’s 30 returning champions. The senior-level portion of the competition takes place Saturday and Sunday. Women’s wrestling and Greco-Roman starts on Saturday (February 8), and Freestyle closes out the tournament on Sunday (February 9).

The European Championships begin February 10-16 and feature eleven reigning world champions and 17 returning European champions that highlight the list of 515 entries. 

New Delhi, India, will host the Asian Championships February 18-23. The Asian Championship entry list will be released on February 13.  

Continental Championship Entries 
African Championship Full Entries 
European Championship Full Entries 

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media 

1. Big Move Monday -- Sushil K. (IND) -- Senior Worlds 2019 #WrestleNursultan
2. #TBT - Shiraev Wrestles in Junior World Finals before Winning Yariguin Gold
3. Happy Friday, wrestling fans!
4. Who ya got in these three potential #WrestleAlgerAfrican championship matchups?
5. Who are the wrestlers to watch at the #WrestleAlger African Championships (February 4-9)?