Yariguin Final Pairings Set for Saturday Night

By Eric Olanowski

KRASNOYARSK, Russia (January 25) -  The Russian Federation inserted at least one wrestler into the finals in six of the seven weight classes that'll be up for the taking on Saturday night. 

In freestyle, Russia continued to plow through the competition and prove why they’re the most dominant freestyle nation in the world. They followed Friday's three gold medal performances by claiming five of Saturday’s six finals spots. 

Turkish big-man Taha AKGUL, a two-time world and Rio Olympic champion, is the only non-Russian freestyle wrestler that'll compete for a gold medal on Saturday night. He'll wrestle Anzor KHIZRIEV (RUS) in the 125kg gold-medal match. 

In women’s wrestling, Russia won a pair of gold medals on Friday night and has an opportunity to claim three additional golds on Saturday night when five wrestlers compete in the finals. 

The lone weight class where a non-Russian woman can claim a Yariguin gold medal is at 68kg. This weight class will feature the all-Mongolian battle between 2015 world champion SORONZONBOLD Battsetseg and ENKH AMAR Davaanasan. 

The finals are set to begin on Saturday at 18:00 (local time). 

Finals Matchups


65kg - Akhmed CHAKAEV (RUS) vs. Nachyn KUULAR (RUS)
125kg - Taha AKGUL (TUR) vs. Anzor KHIZRIEV (RUS)

Women’s Wrestling 
53kg - Natalia MALYSHEVA (RUS) vs. Sarah Ann HILDEBRANDT (USA)
57kg - Olga KHOROSHAVTSEVA (RUS) vs. Tserenchimed SUKHEE (MGL)
62kg - Anzhela FOMENKO (RUS) vs. Anna SHCHERBAKOVA (RUS)
68kg -  Battsetseg SORONZONBOLD (MGL) vs. ENKH AMAR Davaanasan (MGL)


Ten "Must Watch" Matches from the Ivan Yariguin

By Eric Olanowski

There were countless great matches that took place over the four days of wrestling at the first Ranking Series event of the year, the Ivan Yariguin, and we took the time to compile a list of the ten best matches with the most action and biggest storylines. 

1. FS 74kg FINALS - Reigning world champion Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS) squared off against two-time world medalist Yakup GOR (TUR) in the 74kg gold-medal bout, and was the victor, 5-4. 

2. WW 72kg FINALS -  Tamyra MENSAH (USA) defeated Yuka KAGAMI (JPN) to become the first American wrestler in any style to win three Yariguin titles. 

3. FS 125kg FINALS - Anzor KHIZRIEV (RUS) stopped the two-time world and Rio Olympic champion Taha AKGUL (TUR) from winning his first Yariguin title 

4. FS 97kg Qualification - Rasul MAGOMEDOV (RUS) stunned the two-time world and Rio Olympic champion Kyle SNYDER (USA) in the opening round at 97kg. 

5. WW 68kg Qualification - Khanum VELIEVA (RUS), the four-time age-level world champion, got revenge on Cuba's first-ever women's wrestling world champion Yudari SANCHEZ RODRIGUES (CUB) in the opening round. This was a rematch of the U23 world championships, where Sanchez Rodrigues was victorious over Velieva, 5-0. 

6. FS 65kg Semifinal  - Akhmed CHAKAEV (RUS), the two-time world bronze medalist, locked up his finals spot with a win over fellow Russian, Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS), who is a two-time world silver medalist. This was Rashidov's second tournament up at 65kg. He usually competes down at 61kg but will attempt to move up to 65kg this season. 

7.  WW 57kg Semifinal - SUKHEE Tserenchimed (MGL) stopped U23 world champion Grace BULLEN (NOR) and earned her spot in the Yariguin finals. 

8. FS 125kg Semifinal - Taha Akgul shut out 2018 world runner-up Zhiwei DENG (CHN) and earned his first trip to a Yariguin gold-medal bout.

 9. FS 79kg Qualification - Magomed RAMAZANOV (RUS) halted 2018 world bronze medalist Akhmed GADZHIMAGOMEDOV (RUS) in the opening round, but later fell to Gadzhimagomedov in the round-robin finals at 79kg. 

10. WW 68kg Quarterfinals - ENKH AMAR Davaanasan (MGL) picked up a huge win over Russia's four-time age-level world champion and UWW's Junior Female Wrestler of the Year Khanum Velieva in the semifinals and eventually went on to win the silver medal at 68kg.