Abdurakhmanov, Odikadze Stun Olympic Champs in GGP Final Freestyle

By William May

BAKU (November 27) – On an evening when Azerbaijan crowned three champions, Bekzod ABDURAKHMANOV (UZB) and Elizbar ODIKADZE (GEO) upset a pair of Olympic Games gold medalists to dampen local celebrations on the opening day of the Golden Grand Prix Final.

Abdurakhmanov stunned London 2012 champion Togrul ASGAROV (AZE) in the 70kg final with a takedown in the closing seconds of an 8-8 win on criteria, and European Games silver medalist Odikadze held on for a 4-2 win over Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE) for the 86kg crown.

Despite the upsets, Azerbaijan picked up three titles at Baku Sports Hall, led by two-time world champion Haji ALIEV at 61kg and followed by a 12-8 demolition of 2014 world champion Khetik TSABOLOV (RUS) by defending GGP Final champion Yabrail HASANOV (AZE) at 74kg.

Yasar Dogu winner Aleksander GOSTIEV also edged junior world champion Nurmagomed GADZHIEV, 2-0, in an all-Azerbaijan final at 86kg. Gadzhiev was in the final by virtue of a late front-headlock and takedown for a 9-7 win over London 2012 bronze medalist Ehsan LASHGARI (IRI).

Abdurakhmanov scored the first upset of the evening with a takedown at 5:57 in a cobra-and-mongoose final at 70kg – after rejecting his corner’s call for a challenge to a late takedown by Asgarov.

“I knew I had time to score the last takedown (and win on criteria) and I could see (Asgarov) was beginning to tire, so I didn’t want to give him a chance to recover (with a challenge),” he said of his decision to toss the challenge brick back to his coaches.

He added that with 20 seconds remaining, “It was all or nothing, but I knew I could do it.”

Asked about the win, Abdurakhmanov smiled, “It’s an honor to wrestle in a competition like the Golden Grand Prix and against the Olympic champion, so it feels good to win -- in fact, it feels real good.”

The Incheon 2014 Asian Games and 2015 Asian championships winner also revealed that Baku would be his last competition at the non-Olympic weight category of 70kg, adding that he is looking forward to a chance to wrestle in the Olympic qualification tournaments at 74kg.

Then, in the 97kg final, Odikadze went chest-to-chest with Sharifov in the second period and landed on top of a leg trip for a 4-2 victory.

Odikadze’s teammate, world bronze medalist Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) then accepted a default victory from world silver medalist Jamaladdin MAGOMEDOV (AZE) in the 125kg final – to give Georgia its second gold medal of the evening. 

Magomedov reportedly defaulted because of back injury suffered in earlier training and which was aggravated during the day’s competition.

Russia also claimed a pair of gold medals as Ismail MUSUKAEV (57kg) scored four points off a double-leg attack for a 5-2 victory over world bronze medalist ERDENEBAT Bekhbayar (MGL).

Magomed KURBANALIEV (RUS) raced out to a 6-0 lead in the 65kg final and held on for a 12-8 victory over Logan STIEBER (USA), who had earlier stunned 2014 world champion Soslan RAMONOV (RUS) with a late front headlock and turn for a 14-13 victory in the quarterfinals.

A third London 2012 gold medalist, Djamal OTARSULTANOV (RUS), was also toppled out of the competition, after losing by technical fall to Musukaev in the semifinals at 57kg.

Results of gold and bronze medal finals on Friday:


57kg (14 entries)

Gold – Ismail MUSUKAEV (RUS) df. ERDENEBAT Bekhbayar (MGL), 5-2
Bronze – Makhir AMIRASLANOV (AZE) df. Djamal OTARSULTANOV (RUS) by default, 0:00
Bronze – Otari GOGAVA (GEO) df. Parviz IBRAHIMOV (AZE), 7-3

61kg (12 entries)

Gold – Haji ALIEV (AZE) df. Iman SADEGHIKOUKANDEH (IRI), 8-2
Bronze – Daulet NIYAZBEKOV (KAZ) df. Andry DAVILA (VEN) by TF, 10-0, 2:08
Bronze – Aleksander BOGOMOEV (RUS) df. Shingo ARIMOTO (JPN), 5-0

65kg (11 entries)

Gold – Magomed KURBANALIEV (RUS) df. Logan STIEBER (USA), 14-6
Bronze – Teymur MAMMADOV (AZE) df. Anthony MONTERO (VEN), 3-0
Bronze – Soslan RAMONOV (RUS) df. Agahueseyin MUSTAFAEV (AZE), 7-0

70kg (8 entries)

Gold – Bekzod ABDURAKHMANOV (UZB) df. Togrul ASGAROV (AZE), 8-8
Bronze – Mustafa KAYA (TUR) df. Nobuyoshi TAKOJIMA (JPN), 8-2
Bronze – Gadjimurad OMAROV (AZE) df. Arkadiusz SZEJA (POL) by default, 0:00

74kg (13 entries)

Gold – Yabrail HASANOV (AZE) df. Khetik TSABOLOV (RUS), 12-8
Bronze – Akhmed GADZHIMAGOMEDOV (RUS) Daisuke SHIMADA (JPN) by TF, 10-0, 6:00
Bronze – Moustafa HOSSEINKHANI (IRI) df. Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR), 3-2

86kg (11 entries)

Gold – Aleksander GOSTIEV (AZE) df. Gazhiev NURMAGOMED (AZE), 2-0
Bronze – Sandro AMINASHVILI (GEO) df. Patryk DUBLINOWSKI (POL), 6-3
Bronze – Ehsan LASHGARI (IRI) df. David TAYLOR (USA) by TF, 10-0, 2:52

97kg (10 entries)

Gold – Elizbar ODIKADZE (GEO) df. Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE), 4-2
Bronze – Pavlo OLIYNIK (UKR) df. Yuji FUKUI (JPN) by TF, 10-0, 3:28
Bronze – Arslanbek ALBOROV (AZE) df. James BERGMAN (USA), 4-1

125kg (10 entries)

Gold – Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) df. Jamaladdin MAGOMEDOV (AZE) by default, 0:00
Bronze – Dom BRADLEY (USA) df. Aiaal LAZAREV (KGZ) by default, 0:00
Bronze – DENG Zhiwei (CHN) df. Ibragim SAIDOV (BLR), 5-4