Ranking Series

Five World No. 1 Seeds Up for Grabs at Yasar Dogu

By Eric Olanowski

VEVEY, Switzerland (July 16) – The fourth and final Ranking Series event, the Yasar Dogu, is set to have huge implications when it comes to seeding the top-four wrestlers at September's Nur-Sultan World Championships. Heading into Istanbul, 25 of the top-40 women’s wrestling seeds are still open for the taking. Combining that with freestyle's 23 top-four seeds that remain available, the Yasar Dogu could determine 48 of the 80 freestyle and women's wrestling top-four seeds. 

With three Ranking Series events and the Continental Championships in the rear-view mirror, half of the top seeds have been claimed, but the story reads much different for the second through fourth seeds. Come Nur-Sultan, there will be 40 seeded wrestlers, but only 15 wrestlers have cemented their seed heading into the Yasar Dogu. Of those 25 openings still up for grabs, there are 74 wrestlers who head into the Yasar Dogu with enough points to overthrow one of the current top-four ranked wrestlers. 

How Many Non-Seeded Wrestlers Can Still Earn A Seed?
50kg – 6 
53kg – 1
55kg – 18 
57kg – 2
59kg – 23
62kg – 3
65kg – 5
68kg – 7
72kg – 6
76kg – 3

Livach Likely to Takeover No. 1 Seed at 50kg
Oksana LIVACH (UKR) trails Yui SUSAKI (JPN) by 15 points heading into the Yasar Dogu, but barring a catastrophic meltdown in Istanbul, she’ll take over the top ranking at 50kg. Livach needs 16 points to gain the outright lead over Susaki for the top seed. 

Susaki, the weights two-time defending world champion, will sit out of Yasar Dogu because she's gearing up for her July 6 special wrestle-off against Yuki IRIE. The winner of the one match wrestle-off will represent Japan at 50kg in Kazahkstan. 

SUN Yanan (CHN) and Mariya STADNIK (AZE) round out the top four respectively at 50kg. 

Kseniya STANKEVICH (BLR) and Evin DEMIRHAN (TUR) both sit within ten points from earning a seed and will both wrestle at the Yasar Dogu. 

Hildebrandt Headed to Nur-Sultan on Top of 53kg
Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA) has cemented her No. 1 seed at 53kg at the World Championships, but the other three world championship seeds will be shuffled after the Yasar Dogu. The reason being, seven points separate second-seeded Haruna OKUNO (JPN) from fourth-seeded Diana WEICKER (CAN), who'll compete in Turkey next month. 

Just by showing up in Istanbul, Weicker, the reigning world bronze medalist, will move ahead of third-seeded PANG Qianyu (CHN), who she trails by two points. If the Canadian wrestler snags a medal, she'd push herself ahead of Okuno for the second spot. 

Also of note, No. 5 Luisa VALVERDE MELENDRES (ECU) is entered into the Yasar Dogu. She’s five points behind Weicker but will earn the fourth seed if she makes it to the podium in Istanbul. 

Mukaida’s Departure Gives Sidakova Bump to No. 1 at 55kg
As wrestlers scatter to the six Olympic weight classes, some weights become depleted – especially with Tokyo only being 399 days away. That’s the case at 55kg. The weight lost top-ranked reigning world champion Mayu MUKAIDA after she dropped down to the Olympic weight of 53kg. 

With the departure of the Japanese hammer, Belarus’ Zalina SIDAKOVA will take over the top spot come the World Championships. Sidakova has a commanding 27-point lead over third-ranked Marina SEDNEVA (KAZ) heading into the final Ranking Series event. 

Sofia MATTSSON is the third-ranked wrestler at this weight. For the time being, the Rio bronze medalist will stay at 55kg. She’s entered her name into the Yasar Dogu at 55kg, and with a placement in Istanbul, Mattsson will steal the second seed from Sedneva, who currently has a two-point advantage over the Swedish wrestlers. 

The fifth and sixth-ranked wrestlers respectively, Myong Suk JONG (PRK) and Lianna MONTERO HERRERA (CUB), have also moved to an Olympic weight. They’ve both moved up to 57kg, which means seventh-ranked Viktoriia VAULINA (RUS) will receive the fourth seed at the World Championships. 

Vaulina isn’t expected to compete at the Yasar Dogu which will put her potential fourth seed in jeopardy. Bediha GUN (TUR), the ninth-ranked wrestler at 55kg, will wrestle in her home country, and with two additional Ranking Series points, will pass the Russian wrestler for the fourth spot. 

Rong Remains Atop 57kg with Most Points in the World
Reigning world champion RONG Ningning (CHN) has amassed 96 points and will be the top seed at the Nur-Sultan World Championships. Rong won’t be headed to Turkey but there’s a list of heavy hitters who sit just outside the top-four that entered into the Yasar Dogu with aspirations of improving their seed. This’ll cause some fluctuation from the second through the fourth spot. 

As it sits, Grace BULLEN (NOR), Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL), and Pooja DHANDA (IND) sit in the second through fourth spots respectively. 

But it’s fifth-ranked Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR) and sixth-ranked Emese BARKA (HUN) who are six points behind Dhanda. Both wrestlers have an opportunity to leap into the third slot if they are able to reach the top of the podium next month. 

Kawai’s Move Down to 59kg Will Slide Yesilirmak to No. 1
Japan’s defending 59kg world champion Risako KAWAI dropped down to the Olympic weight of 57kg, which will eventually move Elif YESILIRMAK into the top spot at 59kg. Svetlana LIPATOVA (RUS) is the third-ranked wrestler and can sit out of the Yasar Dogu and still keep her top-three seed. 

Yuzuka INAGAKI (JPN) is the fourth-ranked wrestler, but there are 23 wrestlers who can still overthrow her for the fourth spot with a win in Turkey. Of those 23 wrestlers that can grab the fourth spot, India’s Kumari MANJU is the only wrestler that’s entered into the Yasar Dogu. Manju is ranked ninth and sits eight points behind Inagaki.

Yusein Enters World Championships as Top Seed at 62kg
The first two ranked wrestlers at 62kg haven't changed since the Budapest World Championships. Reigning world champion Taybe YUSEIN, who is tied with Rong Ningning for most the most Ranking Series points in the world (96 points), will be the top seed at 62kg come September’s World Championships. Yukako KAWAI (JPN), the Budapest silver medalist, is ranked second at 62kg. 

Though Mallory VELTE (USA) is ranked third in the latest rankings right now, she lost her starting spot last weekend and won’t compete in the World Championships. This’ll move Brazil’s Lais NUNES DE OLIVEIRA into the third spot and Yuliia TKACH OSTAPCHUK (UKR) into the fourth position.

Olli Locks up First Seed at 65kg
Finland’s first-ever women’s wrestling world champion Petra OLLI is going to end the year just how she started it -- in the top spot at 65kg. Olli has 88 Ranking Series points, which is 46 points from her nearest competitor, Mariia KUZNETSOVA (RUS) who has 42 points. 

Danielle LAPPAGE (CAN) made the move to 68kg and will vacate her third-ranking, moving Forrest MOLINARI (USA) and Henna JOHANSSON (SWE) into the third and fourth spots respectively. 

But Molinari, who sits two points behind second-ranked Kuznetsova, can overthrow the Russian wrestler for the second spot with a placement at the Yasar Dogu. Right now, Molinari is the only wrestler that can improve her seed that’s entered into the Istanbul Ranking Series event. 

Cherkasova Starts and Ends Year as 68kg Top-Ranked Wrestler 
Ukraine’s defending world champion Alla CHERKASOVA has had a target on her back for the last twelve months, and that’ll remain there as she heads into Nur-Sultan looking to defend her title from Budapest. Cherkasova, with her 92 points, has a 19-point lead over second-ranked Tamyra MENSAH (USA) and has sealed up the 68kg top seed. 

Mensah-Stock, the three-time Ranking Series champion, has also locked up her World Championship seed. She’ll be the second seed with her 73 points. 

SORONZONBOLD Battsetseg (MGL) and ZHOU Feng (CHN) round out the top-four of the 68kg top-four respectively. 

Seven women still have their eyes on a top-four seed, but tenth-ranked Divya KAKRAN is the only one entered into the Yasar Dogu. Kakran will bring 24 points into Istanbul and trails fourth-seeded Zhou by 17 points. She’d need to reach the top of the podium for her to reach a top-four seed. 

Di Stasio Moving to 76kg, Tosun to Eventually Take Over Top Spot at 72kg 
Reigning world champion Justina DI STASIO (CAN) sits atop the 72kg rankings, but she’s moving up to the Olympic weight of 76kg. Buse TOSUN (TUR) will transition into the No. 1 spot and will likely remain there until the World Championships. The reason being, Tosun is the only wrestler in the top four who is entered into the final Ranking Series event. 

After receiving bumps from Di Stasio’s departure, Tosun, OCHIRBAT Nasanburmaa (MGL), Tatiana KOLESNIKOVA MOROZOVA (RUS), and Samar HAMZA (EGY) will round out the top four at the World Championships. 

Adar Closing in on Gray for No. 1 Seed at 76kg
Yasemin ADAR (TUR) trails four-time world champion Adeline GRAY (USA) by two points heading into the Yasar Dogu and will likely take over the top spot at 76kg after closing out the regular season in her home country of Turkey. That is if Gray doesn’t compete. 

Germany’s Aline FOCKEN will be making her fourth Ranking Series appearance of the year. In her three appearances, she finished with a bronze medal each time. If she stays the course and Gray doesn’t compete, she could end up earning the second seed in Nur-Sultan.

Japan’s Hiroe MINAGAWA SUZUKI is ranked fourth, but Olympic champion Erica WIEBE is only two points behind the Japanese wrestler. Wiebe will compete at the Yasar Dogu, but Minagawa Suzuki won’t, leaving the Canadian with a great shot of jumping into a top-four seed of arguably the most stacked weight class in the world.