Wrestling Returns with Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Dec. 12-18

By United World Wrestling Press

BELGRADE, Serbia (December 10) -- The 2020 Individual World Cup gets underway Saturday in Belgrade, Serbia, with 505 wrestlers representing 51 different countries. Thirty weight categories in three styles will be contested over seven days of competition. 

The Individual World Cup is serving as a substitute event for the 2020 World Championships. The event was canceled after not fulfilling the criteria set forth by the UWW Bureau. The criteria included having at least 8 of 10 of the top nations from the 2019 World Championships and 70% of total athletes participate in 2020.

The Individual World Cup represents international wrestling's return to competition and will lay the groundwork for safety protocols and countermeasures around all competitions. This will be vital to ensure a safe environment for future competitions in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics. 

The event has a prize pool of 300,000 Swiss Francs, which will be divided evenly across the 30 weight categories.

Thirty-one returning world medalists, including five returning world champions, are entered in the field.

Olympic champion Davor STEFANEK (SRB) will compete at 67kg (Photo: Gabor MARTIN, United World Wrestling)

The Individual World Cup opens Saturday with Greco-Roman competition, which will be headlined by four Rio Olympic champions: Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) at 97kg, Davit CHAKVETADZE (RUS) at 87kg, Davor STEFANEK (SRB) at 67kg and Roman VLASOV (RUS) at 77kg.

The Greco-Roman 97kg weight category, which will be contested Sunday and Monday, is one of the most intriguing weight categories in the entire event. It includes Aleksanyan, returning world champion Musa EVLOEV (RUS) and multiple-time world medalist Mihail KAJAIA (SRB). 

Aleksanyan and Evloev have one of the sport's greatest rivalries. The two Greco-Roman stars have combined to win gold medals in every world championship or Olympic Games since 2014. Kajaia, who will be competing in his home country, won bronze medals at the last two world championships.

On Sunday, Stepan MARYANYAN (RUS), a 2018 world champion and multiple-time world medalist at 63 kg, will make his 60kg debut. Maryanyan defeated 60kg world champion Sergey EMELIN (RUS) at the Russian Cup.

Aisuulu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ) became Kyrgyzstan's first world champion (Photo: Gabor MARTIN, United World Wrestling)

The women's wrestling competition will be held Monday through Wednesday. Returning world champion Aisuulu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ) will compete at 62kg on Monday. Tynybekova earned a place in Kyrgyzstan's sporting history in 2019 as the first wrestler to win a senior world title when she claimed the women's 62kg gold medal with a 5-3 win over defending champion Taybe YUSEIN (BUL) at the World Championships. Tynybekova's road to the title next week could go through 2019 world silver medalist Liubov OVCHAROVA, who is also entered at 62kg. Ovcharova is ranked No.2 in the world at 59kg.

The 50kg weight category in women's wrestling includes a pair of returning world medalists, Emilia VUC (ROU) and Ekaterina POLESHCHUK (RUS). Vuc, ranked No.1 in the world, finished as a runner-up to Mariya STADNIK (AZE) at the 2019 World Championships in Nur-Sultan. In 2020, she earned a silver at the Matteo Pellicone in Rome and finished seventh at the European Championships. Poleshchuk won a bronze medal in Nur-Sultan.

Olympic champion Erica WIEBE (CAN) is a top contender at 76kg (Photo: Tony Rotundo, United World Wrestling)

Olympic champion Erica WIEBE (CAN) is entered at 76kg. She will compete in a field that includes 2017 world champion Yasemin ADAR (TUR), returning world bronze medalist Aline FOCKEN (GER), and multiple-time world medalist Ekaterina BUKINA (RUS), among others.

Three returning world champions from Russia are entered in the freestyle competition, which begins Wednesday. Those Russian world champs include Zavur UGUEV (57kg), Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (65kg) and Abdulrashid SADULAEV (97kg). 

Uguev, a two-time world champion, will compete in a 57kg field that includes returning world bronze medalist Kumar RAVI (IND). Uguev and Ravi met in the world championship semifinals last year, with Uguev winning 6-4. Ravi added a gold medal at the 2020 Asian Championships. 

Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (65kg) is one of three returning freestyle world champs competing for Russia (Photo: Kadir CALISKAN, United World Wrestling)

Rashidov, a world champion and two-time world silver medalist, will have to navigate a 65kg field that includes three-time world champion Haji ALIYEV (AZE) and returning world bronze medalist Iszmail MUSZUKAJEV (HUN).

Sadulaev, the Rio Olympic champion and four-time world champion, will face a 97kg field that includes returning world bronze medalist Magomedgadji NUROV (MKD) and U23 world champion Shamil ZUBAIROV (AZE).

Two-time world champion Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) is entered at 74kg (Photo: Tony Rotundo, United World Wrestling)

Frank CHAMIZO (ITA), one of the sport's biggest stars, is entered at 74kg. Chamizo, a two-time world champion and Olympic bronze medalist, could see competition from Razambek ZHAMALOV (RUS), a U23 world champion and Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix silver medalist. 

The Individual World Cup begins Saturday at 11:00 local time, with Greco-Roman qualification rounds at 55 kg, 67kg, 72kg, 77kg and 87kg. 


Saturday, December 12
11.00-15.00 Qualification rounds GR – 55-67-72-77-87kg
18.00-19.30 Semifinals GR – 55-67-72-77-87kg

Sunday, December 13
11.00-15.00 Qualification rounds GR – 60-63-82-97-130kg
11.00-15.00 Repechage GR – 55-67-72-77-87kg
17.30-17.45 Opening Ceremony
18.00-18.45 Semifinals GR – 60-63-82-97-130kg
19.00-22.00  Finals GR – 55-67-72-77-87kg

Monday, December 14
11.00-14.00 Qualification rounds WW – 50-53-55-62-72kg
11.00-14.00 Repechage GR – 60-63-82-97-130kg
17.00-17.45 Semifinals WW – 50-53-55-62-72kg
18.00-20.30 Finals GR – 60-63-82-97-130kg

Tuesday, December 15
11.00-14.00 Qualification rounds WW – 57-59-65-68-76kg
11.00-14.00 Repechage WW – 50-53-55-62-72kg
16.45-17.45 Semifinals WW – 57-59-65-68-76kg
18.00-20.30 Finals WW – 50-53-55-62-72kg

Wednesday, December 16
11.00-15.00 Qualification rounds FS – 57-70-74-92-125kg
11.00-15.00 Repechage WW – 57-59-65-68-76kg
16.45-17.45 Semifinals FS – 57-70-74-92-125kg
18.00-21.00 Finals WW – 57-59-65-68-76kg

Thursday, December 17
11.00-15.00 Qualification rounds FS – 61-65-79-86-97kg
11.00-15.00 Repechage FS – 57-70-74-92-125kg
16.45-17.45 Semifinals FS – 61-65-79-86-97kg
18.00-21.00 Finals FS – 57-70-74-92-125kg

Friday, December 18
15.30-17.30 Repechage FS – 61-65-79-86-97kg
18.00-21.00 Finals FS – 61-65-79-86-97kg


Russia Closes Out Dominant Performance in Belgrade with 4 More FS Gold Medals

By United World Wrestling Press

Finals Highlights
Day 7 Photos
Interview with Vazgen TEVANYAN (ARM)

BELGRADE, Serbia (December 18) -- Russia made a triumphant return to the international wrestling stage with a dominant performance at the 2020 Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia. 

A day after winning four freestyle gold medals, Russia bagged four more freestyle gold medals on Friday to finish with eight of the ten freestyle gold medals. The eight gold medals put Russia firmly atop the freestyle team standings. Turkey finished in second place, 106 points behind Russia. 

Russia concluded the Individual World Cup with 24 medals overall, including 17 gold medals.  

Abasgadzhi MAGOMEDOV (61kg), Akhmed USMANOV (79kg), Dauren KURUGLIEV (86kg) and Abdulrashid SADULAEV (97kg) added to Russia's gold medal tally on the event's final day. 

Magomedov, a 2018 junior world champion, was the first Russian to compete for gold on Friday. He picked up a 5-1 over 2016 world bronze medalist Akhmednabi GVARZATILOV (AZE) in the 61kg final. Magomedov scored a takedown in each of the two periods, while holding the Azerbaijani wrestler to a single point off a reversal.

Akhmed USMANOV (RUS) gets a turn in the 79kg final (Photo: Gabor MARTIN, UWW)

Usmanov, a 2016 junior world silver medalist, cruised to an 11-0 technical superiority over Muhammet KOTANOGLU (TUR) in the 79kg final. The Russian scored an early takedown off a single leg before turning Kotanoglu twice to go up 6-0. Kotanoglu attempted a throw early in the second period, which Usmanov countered, scoring two points before turning the Turkish wrestler to close out the technical superiority.

Dauren KURUGLIEV (RUS) won the gold at 86kg (Photo: Kadir CALISKAN, UWW)

The 2017 European champion Kurugliev controlled Zbigniew BARANOWSKI (POL) 5-1 in the 86kg final. Kurugliev fired off a double leg in the first 10 seconds of the match and secured a takedown to go up 2-0. He extended his lead to 3-0 early in the second period after getting a step out. A short time later, Kurugliev was hit with a caution, giving Baranowski his first point. The score stayed 3-1 in favor of the Russian until the final 30 seconds when Baranowski attempted a shot, which Kurugliev countered for a takedown. 

Olympic champ Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) finished on top at 97kg (Photo: Gabor MARTIN, UWW)

Sadulaev, a Rio Olympic champion and four-time world champion, won by injury default as Aliaksandr HUSHTYN (BLR) was unable to compete in the 97kg final. The Russian Tank outscored his opponents 32-3 in Belgrade. 

Vazgen TEVANYAN (ARM) celebrates after winning the gold medal at 65kg (Photo: Kadir CALISKAN, UWW)

Vazgen TEVANYAN (ARM), a 2019 U23 European champion, captured gold at 65kg with a 9-1 win over 2019 world bronze medalist Iszmail MUSZUKAJEV (HUN). The Armenian used a late surge to help him earn the victory. The two wrestlers traded passivity points, with Muszukajev scoring the second one in the final period to take the lead on criteria. With under a minute remaining, Tevanyan fired off a shot to Muszukajev's left leg and secured a takedown to go up 3-1. He then locked up a gut wrench and turned Muszukajev three times to earn a decisive victory.

The bronze medals at 61kg went to Agustin DESTRIBATS (ARG) and Georgi VANGELOV (BUL). The 23-year-old Destribats, who already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics at 65kg, looked impressive in earning a 5-2 win over Razmik PAPIKYAN (ARM). Vangelov, a 2020 Yasar Dogu gold medalist at 57kg, scored late to edge Muhamad IKROMOV (TJK), 9-8.

Three-time world champion Haji ALIYEV (AZE) rebounded from a semifinal loss to Muszukajev to earn a bronze at 65kg with a 10-4 victory over Ilman MUKHTAROV (FRA). Hor OHANNESIAN (UKR) won the other bronze at 65kg with a comfortable 7-1 win over Nicolai GRAHMEZ (MDA).

Mahamedkhabib KADZIMAHAMEDAU (BLR) made quick work of Baliyan GOURAV (IND) in the first bronze-medal match at 79kg, earning a 14-1 technical superiority in the first period. After going up 10-1, Kadzimahamedau finished the match with a four-point move. Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR) held on to beat Akhsarbek GULAEV (SVK) 4-3 in the other bronze-medal match at 79kg.

Piotr IANULOV (MDA) topped world No.2 Deepak PUNIA (IND) 4-1 to earn a bronze at 86kg. The other bronze medal at 86kg went to Osman GOCEN (TUR), who defeated Taimuraz FRIEV NASKIDAEVA (ESP) 11-8.

Ahmed BATAEV (BUL) gave Bulgaria its second freestyle medalist by defeating Shamil ZUBAIROV (AZE) 8-1 in the first 97kg bronze-medal match. Suleyman KARADENIZ (TUR) edged Valerii ANDRIITSEV (UKR) 2-1 to win the other bronze at 97kg.

Freestyle Medal Match Results

GOLD: Abasgadzhi MAGOMEDOV (RUS) df. Akhmednabi GVARZATILOV (AZE) by VPO1, 5-1
BRONZE: Georgi VANGELOV (BUL) df. Muhamad IKROMOV (TJK) by VPO1, 9-8
BRONZE: Agustin DESTRIBATS (ARG) df. Razmik PAPIKYAN (ARM) by VPO1, 5-2

GOLD: Vazgen TEVANYAN (ARM) df. Iszmail MUSZUKAJEV (HUN) by VPO1, 9-1
BRONZE: Haji ALIYEV (AZE) df. Ilman MUKHTAROV (FRA) by VPO1, 10-4

GOLD: Akhmed USMANOV (RUS) df. Muhammet Nuri KOTANOGLU (TUR) by VSU, 11-0
BRONZE: Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR) df. Akhsarbek GULAEV (SVK) by VPO1, 3-2
BRONZE: Mahamedkhabib KADZIMAHAMEDAU (BLR) df. Baliyan GOURAV (IND) by VSU1, 14-1

GOLD: Dauren KURUGLIEV (RUS) df. Zbigniew Mateusz BARANOWSKI (POL) by VPO1, 5-1
BRONZE: Osman GOCEN (TUR) df. Taimuraz FRIEV NASKIDAEVA (ESP) by VPO1, 11-8
BRONZE: Piotr IANULOV (MDA) df. Deepak PUNIA (IND) by VPO1, 4-1

GOLD: Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) df. Aliaksandr HUSHTYN (BLR) by VIN, 0-0
BRONZE: Suleyman KARADENIZ (TUR) df. Valerii ANDRIITSEV (UKR) by VPO1, 2-1
BRONZE: Ahmed BATAEV (BUL) df. Shamil ZUBAIROV (AZE) by VPO1, 8-1