Azerbaijan Puts Three into Finals on First Day of European U23 Greco-Roman

By William May

SZOMBATHELY, Hungary (April 1) – Murad MAMMADOV and Islambek DADOV stormed to technical falls in the semifinals as Azerbaijan advanced three wrestlers to the gold medal finals on the first day of Greco-Roman at the European Under-23 Wrestling Championships.

Mammadov, the U23 silver medalist at 59kg last year, and former Youth Olympic Games gold medalist Dadov will be joined in Saturday evening’s finals at Arena Savaria by 2014 junior world champion Orkhan NURIEV in the 98kg final.

Meanwhile, Georgia sends defending champion Gela BOLKVADZE (80kg) and U23 bronze medalist Ramaz ZOIDZE (71kg) into the first night of gold medal finals.

Mammadov advanced to the 59kg final for the second year in a row with a 9-1 victory over 2015 junior world team member Abdurakhman ALTAN (TUR) in the semifinals.  He will face Zhambolat LOKYAEV (RUS), who finished in ninth place in the 2016 U23 meet.

Lokyaev dropped junior world champion Dato CHKHARTISHVILI (GEO) to his back late in their semifinal bout for a 10-6 victory.

In the 71kg semifinals, junior world bronze medal winner Dadov made quick work Robert FRITSCH (HUN) with two four-point throws for an 8-0 win in just 31 seconds.  Dadov takes on junior world champion Zoidze in the gold medal final.

At 98kg, Nuriev held on for a 5-4 win in the semifinals over 2015 U23 champion Fatih BASKOY (TUR) and takes on former European and world cadet champion Matti KUOSMANEN (FIN).

In the only gold medal final without a competitor from Azerbaijan, Bolkvadze meets Alex KESSIDIS (SWE) at 80kg.  The bout will be a rematch of their meeting for the gold medal last year at 75kg.

Azerbaijan, however, still has a chance to reach the podium at 80kg with Eltun VAZIRZADE (AZE) trying to win a bronze medal for the second year in a row.

Semifinal Results and Pairings for Medal Matches


59kg (13 entries)
Gold – Murad MAMMADOV (AZE) v Zhambolat LOKYAEV (RUS)
Bronze – Justas PETRAVICIUS (LTU) v Abdurakhman ALTAN (TUR)
Bronze – Alexandru BICIU (MDA) v Dato CHKHARTISHVILI (GEO)

Semifinal – Murad MAMMADOV (AZE) df. Abdurakhman ALTAN (TUR) by TF, 9-1, 3:19
Semifinal – Zhambolat LOKYAEV (RUS) df. Dato CHKHARTISHVILI (GEO), 10-5

71kg (21 entries)
Gold – Ramaz ZOIDZE (GEO) v Islambek DADOV (AZE) 
Bronze – Artur POLITAIEV (UKR) v Murat DAG (TUR)
Bronze – Ricardo ABBRESCIA (ITA) v Robert FRITSCH (HUN)

Semifinal – Ramaz ZOIDZE (GEO) df. Murat DAG (TUR) by TF, 12-3, 3:45 
Semifinal – Islambek DADOV (AZE) df. Robert FRITSCH (HUN) by TF, 8-0, 0:31

80kg (14 entries)
Bronze – Yegor KASIANKOV (BLR) v Eltun VAZIRZADE (AZE)
Bronze – Peter NAGY (HUN) v Andrey ANTONIUK (UKR)

Semifinal – Gela BOLKVADZE (GEO) df. Eltun VAZIRZADE (AZE), 5-1
Semifinal – Alex KESSIDIS (SWE) df. Andrey ANTONIUK (UKR) by TF, 8-0, 0:25

98kg (19 entries)
Gold – Matti KUOSMANEN (FIN) v Orkhan NURIEV (AZE)
Bronze – Muhammed SEVER (GER) v Mykola KRYSOV (UKR)
Bronze – Aleksandr GOLOVIN (RUS) v Fatih BASCOY (TUR)

Semifinal – Matti KUOSMANEN (FIN) df. Mykola KRYSOV (UKR), 3-1
Semifinal – Orkhan NURIEV (AZE) df. Fatih BASCOY (TUR), 5-4