Anthony, Moore Star for USA with Gold at Matteo Pellicone

By Vinay Siwach

OSTIA, Italy (March 7) --- Victory ANTHONY (USA) had been to five Ranking Series before arriving in Rome for the Matteo Pellicone event. For all her efforts, she had won two bronze medals scattered over 2019 and 2020.

Despite being one of the top wrestlers at 50kg, Anthony somehow had failed to finish at the top of the podium at major international events. But Saturday was different.

Wrestling at her second Matteo Pellicone event, the USA wrestler showcased why she is still a force to reckon by winning the gold medal after defeating European champion Miglena Georgieva SELISHKA (BUL) 15-10 in the final on Saturday.

This was USA's second gold medal in women's wrestling as Taymara Mensah-Stock won the gold at 68kg on Friday.

"It was the biggest win for me in recent history which is like five years," Anthony said. "This is the first tournament where I have wrestled to my potential, peak ability. I am really happy with that."

Anthony's performance in Rome was perhaps one of the best in the tournament. She wrestled hard for six minutes with precise attacks and clean finishes. Even while she was trailing, she did not lose her cool.

Like all champions, she stepped her game when it was most needed. Two-time World Championships and returning silver medalist Emilia Alina VUC (ROU) was the favorite to win the category buy Anthony even destroyed her with a 10-0 win in the semifinals.

Running high on that confidence, she won a thrilling final. She led Selishka 9-3 at the break after a series of takedowns. But the experienced Bulgarian scripted a turnaround in the second period. She first had a single leg takedown which brought down the difference to 7-9 before an exposure gave her the lead 9-9 on criteria. With the clock ticking and limited options available, Anthony used her trademark trip to get four points and win the gold medal 13-10.

"At the beginning I was like I was going to tech her in the first few minutes," she said. "It's like you can come out on top of this roller-coaster instead of, this has happened in the past, I end up losing that match. I felt that edge in this final and I just reset myself. It's like a clap and every time. It's like a neutral energy and I'm not worried."

Kollin Raymond MOORE (USA) wrestles Alireza Mohammad KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI)

The 29-year-old was not the only American to stun a favorite. U23 World silver medalist Kollin MOORE (USA) handed senior world silver medalist at 92kg Alireza Mohammad KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI) a 3-3 criteria win in the 97kg final.

Both wrestlers exchanged a point each for step out before the Iranian scored a takedown to lead 3-1. His continued pressure on Moore was about to pay off with a step out but the American survived the push and countered with a double leg to score a takedown. That give him the lead on criteria and the gold in Rome.

The only defending champion to have a smooth sailing was Vinesh PHOGAT (IND) as she claimed her second consecutive gold medal in Rome with a 4-0 win over former world bronze medalist Diana WEICKER (CAN). Phogat won her two bouts via fall and did not concede a single point en route the summit clash.


In the final, Phogat scored the first takedown with a snap after she was warned for passivity. She later completed a double-leg takedown to make it 4-0. She defended her lead despite Weicker getting a hold of her leg a couple of times in the bout.

"I am not satisfied with this performance at all. I won but I want to attack more," Phogat said. "I want my score to be more than 4-0. While my mind knows that but my body is not allowing me to do it."

Phogat's wins in the morning session saw her pin fellow Indian Nandini SALOKHE (IND) before winning the same way against Samantha STEWART (CAN) in the semifinal. The gold medal on Saturday was Phogat's third consecutive Ranking Series gold medal and fourth medal overall at the event.

At 55kg, Jacqueline Del Rocio MOLLOCANA ELENO (ECU) won the gold medal while Aisha UALISHAN (KAZ) came home with a silver. Abigail Elizabeth NETTE added the third gold medal for USA in Rome as she beat Diana KAYUMOVA (KAZ) in the Nordic system at 59kg.

Elsewhere, in men's 125kg Amarveer DHESI (CAN) continued his rise by winning his second-ever gold medal at the Ranking Series event. In Nordic style competition, Dhesi first defeated SUMIT (IND) 14-4 before handing Pan Am champion Anthony Robert NELSON (USA) a 5-0 blanking. In Round 4, he pinned Oleg BOLTIN (KAZ).

But Round 5 was anti-climatic as he suffered a 11-0 defeat at the hands of Asian champion Yusup BATIRMURZAEV (KAZ). He still finished with the top medal due to his earlier results. Nelson finished with the bronze medal.


Women's Wrestling

Final #WrestleRome WW team scores
GOLD: Kazakhstan (129 points)
SILVER: Canada (89 points)
BRONZE: Italy (88 points)
Fourth: USA (75 points)
Fifth: India (69 points)

GOLD: Victoria ANTHONY (USA) df. Miglena Georgieva SELISHKA (BUL) 15-10
BRONZE: Elina Amilia VUC (ROU) df Valentina Ivanovna ISLAMOVA BRIK (KAZ) via inj. def.

GOLD: Vinesh PHOGAT (IND) df. Diana WEICKER (CAN) 4-0
BRONZE: Samantha Leigh STEWART (CAN) df. Nandini Bajirao SALOKHE (IND) via fall

GOLD: Jacqueline Del Rocio MOLLOCANA ELENO (ECU) df. Aisha UALISHAN (KAZ)

GOLD:  Abigail Elizabeth NETTE (USA) df. Diana KAYUMOVA (KAZ)

GOLD: Gaukhar MUKATAY (KAZ) df Veronica BRASCHI (ITA) 8-0

Men's Freestyle

GOLD: Kollin Raymond MOORE (USA) df. Alireza Mohammad KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI) 3-3
BRONZE: Alisher YERGALI (KAZ) df. Feyzullah AKTURK (TUR) 6-1
BRONZE: Hayden Nicholas ZILLMER df. Ibrahim CIFTCI (TUR) 7-4

GOLD: Amarveer DHESI (CAN)
BRONZE: Anthony Robert NELSON (USA)


'Focused' Chamizo Steals Gold Against Burroughs at Matteo Pellicone

By Vinay Siwach

OSTIA (Italy), March 8 --- After a 25-month wait, Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) and Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) finally met again on the mat.

At the Yasar Dogu in 2019, Chamizo had decided to sit out of the final, giving Burroughs the win. This was five months after the American had scored his third win over Chamizo at the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov event in February.

Sure, the pandemic delayed the matchup but Burroughs' loss at the 2019 World Championships  semifinal to Zaurbek SIDAKOV (RUS) in September deprived the fans of a rematch in NurSultan, Kazakhstan. Chamizo was on the other side of the bracket and reached the final against Sidakov.

But on a blockbuster Sunday at the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series event in Rome, the two superstars clashed for the sixth time in what is quickly becoming wrestling's prized rivalry in recent years.

For the record, Chamizo closed the gap with Burroughs in head-to-head to 4-2 after winning a tense gold medal bout 3-2 at 74kg. Two of Chamizo's points were step out while one was for Burroughs passivity. Even Burroughs scored his two via step outs.

“I am feeling good. I did not even know he (Jordan) will be here,” Chamizo said. “I thought it would be an easy competition. My training is less but I am focused. That's what it is right now. I'm focused on my goals.”

Both wrestlers got into an intense scramble in the first period of the bout which resulted in Chamizo scoring a step out from a situation that seemed advantageous for Burroughs.

Chamizo explained the situation in the post-final interview. “I think he is a little bit scared when there's a scramble,” he said. “He loses focus and that's when I attack. When there is a scramble, he loses focus. He is like I don't want to be here.”

The bout was once again the most anticipated bout in Rome and like always was a medal bout. The two have wrestled for world medals, Ranking Series medals including the title which shows how dominant the two have been in their weight categories.

While Burroughs had talked about how is focused on winning his second Olympic gold medal after missing it in 2016 at Rio, Chamizo has been particularly expressive about being the top guy at 74kg.

Every tournament before the grand event in August will only be a virtual pit stop for wrestler but Chamizo thinks that the changes he has brought in himself will be enough to propel him to the top when it will matter the most five months from now.

“Before, I had training but I had no focus,” he said. “Now, I am a real 74kg. You see the difference between 2018 and now. Jordan is the best. For me, I always prepare for him. But I am the champion. I don't want to say but I the new man.”

It was evident in the final bout as well as Chamizo controlled the center of the mat instead of chasing Burroughs who has a tendency to pounce on the slightest of openings offered the opponent.

“I am training for this. I want to be in the center against him,” he said. “He has good scrambles and attacks. He is like a train. So I want to stay in the center and see what happens.”

Leading into the finals, Burroughs outscored his opponents 9-1 in the two bouts. 2019 Asian champion and world bronze medalist Daniyar KAISINOV (KAZ) was the first to fall to the American 5-0 before he beat Narsingh YADAV (IND) 4-1 in the semifinal.

On the other side, Chamizo had a roller-coaster especially in the quarter-final against Malik AMINE (SMR). Chamizo was at one point trailing Amine but managed to come back and win 13-8.

In the semifinal, Chamizo closed a 6-0 win over Franklin GOMEZ (PUR) to set up the summit clash against Burroughs.

Bajrang PUNIA (IND)

In other freestyle action, Bajrang PUNIA (IND) defended his title at 65kg with a tense 2-2 win over Tulga TUMUR OCHIR (MGL) in the gold medal bout. This was Punia's fifth gold medal at a Ranking Series event, making him the most successful freestyle wrestler at the series.

In a far from ideal bout in the final, Punia was left struggling to find an opening against Ochir. He was put on shot-clock and did not score giving a 1-0 lead to Ochir, who later scored a step out to lead 2-0. With 30 seconds to go, Ochir went for a shot but missed, while Punia capitalized on it to take a takedown with 14 seconds remaining.

“It was a good match with him. I am wrestling after a year off and he is also an Olympic qualified wrestler so it was a tough bout,” Punia said. “Before the Olympics, I want to wrestle every Tokyo qualified wrestler..”

Punia began with a 7-0 win over Selim KOZAN (TUR) but was tested by Joseph McKEENA (USA) in the semifinal. It was a rematch from last year which Punia won 4-2. This time, he improved the score to 6-3.

Ochir, on the other hand, dominated his opponents starting with Hamza ALACA (TUR) who he beat 10-0 before a 4-0 win against ROHIT (IND).


In an all-USA final at 86kg, former junior world silver medalist Zahid VALENCIA claimed a stunning 11-0 victory over Mark HALL (USA), himself a two-time junior world champion at 74kg.

Valencia was undoubtedly the top performer of the day as he outscored his opponents 34-2, winning all his bouts via technical superiority.

Another American wrestler who struck gold was Alec PANTALEO (USA) at 70kg. He defeated world silver medalist at 65kg Daulet NIYAZBEKOV (KAZ) twice in the day to claim the gold medal.

The surprise came at 61kg where U23 World Championships silver medalist Adlan ASKAROV (KAZ) defeated world and European silver medalist Suleyman ATLI (TUR) 8-3 in the first bout of the day. The Kazak youngster remained unbeaten for the day and claimed the gold medal while Atli settled for silver.  

World Championships bronze medalist Nurislam SANAYEV captured the top position at 57kg by defeating Nicholas SUNIARO (USA) twice in the day. In the final, Sanayev beat the US wrestler 4-2 while in the day the score was 3-2.

The 79kg gold medal was captured by veteran Galymzhan USSERBAYEV (KAZ). He had to see off a late challenge from David Vincent MC FADDEN (USA) before winning 6-5.

Rio Olympics silver medalist at 86kg Selim YASAR (TUR) won the gold medal at 92kg to close out the competition which was the first Ranking Series event of the year.


Final #WrestleRome MFS team scores

GOLD: USA (190 points)
SILVER: Kazakhstan (178 points)
BRONZE: Turkey (113 points)
FOURTH: India (98 points)
FIFTH: Italy (48 points)

Men's freestyle

GOLD: Nurislam SANAYEV (KAZ) df. Nicholas Raymond SURIANO (USA) 4-2


GOLD: Bajrang PUNIA (IND) df. Tulga TUMUR OCHIR (MGL) 2-2
BRONZE: Hamza ALACA (TUR) df. ROHIT (IND) 12-10
BRONZE: Joseph Christopher McKENNA 8-2 Selim KOZAN (TUR)

GOLD: Alec William PANTALEO (USA) df. Daulet NIYAZBEKOV (KAZ) 4-0

GOLD: Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) df. Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) 3-2
BRONZE: Nurkozha KAIPANOV (KAZ) df. Franklin GOMEZ MATOS (PUR) 8-1
BRONZE: Daniyar KAISANOV df. Narsingh Pancham YADAV (IND) 5-0

GOLD: Galymzhan USSERBAYEV (KAZ) df. David Vincent MC FADDEN (USA) 6-5
BRONZE: Muhammet Nuri KOTANOGLU (TUR) df. Ramazan Ishak SARI (TUR) 6-0

GOLD: Zahid VALENCIA (USA) df. Mark HALL (USA) 11-0
BRONZE: Myles Najee MARTIN (USA) df. Clayton Steven PYE (CAN) 12-2