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)


USA closes out U17 Worlds with 3 golds, historic FS title

By Vinay Siwach

ROME, Italy (July 31) -- James GREEN (USA) was part of the USA team which won the freestyle team title for the first time in 22 years at the 2017 World Championships. The two-time world medalist won a silver medal in that edition.

Five years later, Green got another chance to hold the team trophy, this time as the chief coach of the USA team at the U17 World Championships in Rome on Sunday.

USA won a historic first U17 freestyle world title in Rome with nine out of their 10 wrestlers winning medals including four golds. It finished with 190 points which was more than enough to exchange places with defending champions India which finished with 126 points.

Azerbaijan, a nation that won the European team title, finished third with 122 points.

USA became the fourth nation to win the U17 world freestyle title after Russia, Iran and India since the U17 Worlds were reinstated in 2011. Russia won the title every year until 2018 when Iran broke that streak.

Russia won again in 2019 before India became only the third country to win the title in 2021.

USAUSA coach James GREEN, center, with the team title trophy. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

"It feels like it's straight out of a movie," he said. "It's like a reminiscent of 2017 when I was part of the world team that won the title for the USA after 22 years."

After finishing with a gold, three silver and a bronze medal on day six, the USA rocked again on the final day with three gold and a bronze to close out the tournament.

"I know how these guys are feeling," he said. "I am so excited to win this on my first trip and looking forward to more coaching."

Since 2011, the USA finished in the second spot five times in nine U17 Worlds with the latest being to India at the previous edition. But this year, all the USA wrestlers won their head-to-heads against India which ultimately proved to be the difference between who became the champions.

"The draw kind of worked in our favor," Green said. "We definitely had a gameplan not just for India but for everyone else including the Europeans as well.  But I can tell you one thing that our wrestlers wanted to get a hand on Indian wrestlers because we lost to them last time."

Luke LILLEDAHL (USA)Luke LILLEDAHL (USA), blue, upgraded his '21 silver to gold. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Luke LILLEDAHL (USA) finished with a silver medal in 2021 after suffering a loss against Aman GULIA (IND) but there was no stopping Lilledahl this year as he upgraded to gold with a dominating 10-1 win over Mohammad Reza ASADI (IRI).

The 51kg final, pretty much controlled by Lilledahl, began with two exchanging stepout but then the USA wrestler switched levels after the break and scored takedowns whenever he found Asadi going for a half shot. He countered two of Asadi's attacks while he scored a takedown and added a leg lace in his 12-1 victory for the gold medal.

"Luke wrestlers at a hard pace," Green said. "He keeps a low head but is always moving and engaging. He takes the points as they come and doesn't rush into attacks."

Two other gold medalists for the USA on Sunday, Domenic MUNARETTO (USA) and Joseph SEALEY (USA), also impressed Green.

Munaretto won the 45kg gold medal by beating Bashir VERDIYEV (AZE), 2-0 in the final. Overall, the champion outscored his opponents 30-2 in the tournament.

Joseph SEALEY (USA)Joseph SEALEY (USA) outscored his opponents 55-1 in Rome. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

At 71kg, Sealey dashed local hopes to see a home champion by decimating Raul CASO (ITA), 12-0, in the gold medal bout.

Sealey, like his all other bouts, was wrestling at a completely different level and pace which Caso had no answer to. When Caso tried to engage in underhooks, he would get tripped by Sealey and when he tried to score a takedown, Sealey would easily stop any such attempts.

His two inside trips and two takedowns were enough to help Sealey win the crown and get some praise from coach Green.

"Sealey was very impressive," he said. "He wrestles like a senior athlete and can wrestle someone from that level. He conceded the least points in the whole tournament."

Sealey wrestled five bouts to win the gold and in an impressive record, scored 55 points and conceded only one.

Drawing experience from the title-winning run in 2017, Green had communicated to his team to 'have fun' during the tournament.

"I just told them that you are capable of being world champs and future Olympic champions," he said. "But more importantly I told them to have fun at this tournament. Most of these guys are wrestling for the first time and they can be hard on themselves so I didn't want that. And once we all met, they had the team chemistry and it clicked right away."

Ebrahim ELAHI (IRI)Ebrahim ELAHI (IRI), blue, pulled off a 5-4 win against Bilol SHARIP UULU (KGZ) in the 60kg final. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

The other gold medals of the night were shared between Iran and Kazakhstan.

At 60kg, Ebrahim ELAHI (IRI) defeated U17 Asian champion Bilol SHARIP UULU (KGZ), 5-4 to win the gold after trailing 3-1 at one point. Sharip Uulu scored the first points with a duck-under during the activity period against Elahi. It was initially awarded as four but Iran challenged the call and it was reversed to two points only.

But Elahi's constant moves towards Sharip Uulu's legs paid dividends as he leveled the score 3-3 and led on criteria. He then added a takedown against the tiring Kyrgyzstan wrestler to extend his lead to 5-3. He was warned for fleeing during the final 10 seconds which made the score 5-4 but did not change the result.

Elahi's gold was Iran's first of the tournament as it finished fifth in the team rankings.

Kamil KURUGLIYEV (KAZ)Kamil KURUGLIYEV (KAZ) won the 92kg gold, the second of the tournament for Kazakhstan. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Returning bronze medalist Kamil KURUGLIYEV (KAZ) went all the way this year and captured his maiden world title, a month after he had won the U17 Asian title.

Musza ARSUNKAEV (HUN) had no answers to Kurugliyev's style of wrestling, inspired by his former world bronze medalist father and cousin-brother, European champion Duaren KURUGLIEV (RWF).

After a 3-0 lead in the first period, Kurugliyev began the second with a huge double-leg for four and then added two takedowns to close out a statement win in Rome.

The World Championships season will now move to Sofia, Bulgaria with the U20 Worlds beginning August 15.




GOLD: Domenic MUNARETTO (USA) df. Bashir VERDIYEV (AZE), 2-0

BRONZE: Arman HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) df. Amirmohammad NAVAZI (IRI), via fall
BRONZE: Nikoloz BOTCHORISHVILI (GEO) df. Constantin RUSU (MDA), 5-4

GOLD: Luke LILLEDAHL (USA) df. Mohammad Reza ASADI (IRI), 10-1

BRONZE: Nurdanat AITANOV (KAZ) df. Ben TARIK (MAR), 1-1

GOLD: Ebrahim ELAHI (IRI) df. Bilol SHARIP UULU (KGZ), 5-4

BRONZE: Taiga OGINO (JPN) df. Alessandro NINI (ITA), 3-1

GOLD: Joseph SEALEY (USA) df. Raul CASO (ITA), 12-0



BRONZE: Maxwell MCENELLY (USA) df. Sahil JAGLAN (IND), 2-1