UFA, Russia (August 16) – Two former world medalists were leading their nation's junior teams in Ufa but it was Jabrayil HASANOV's Azerbaijan that came out on top with three wrestlers reaching the final on the first day of the Junior World Championships Monday.

Abdulsalam GADISOV, the head coach of Russia, was disappointed with only two Russian wrestlers reaching the final out of the five possible in the freestyle weight classes. Iran and Turkey also had two wrestlers in the final while USA finished the lineup with one.

The Junior World Championships got underway with 57kg, 65kg, 70kg, 79kg, and 97kg weight classes with Azerbaijan dominating its semifinals.

Azerbaijan were led by a strong performance by U23 and Junior European champion Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE) who denied Stanislav SVINOBOEV (RUS) a spot in the 70kg final with a 6-1 win.

Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE)Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE) entered the 70kg final. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

The former cadet world champion looked impressive throughout the day, winning his previous two bouts via technical superiority. He now has a chance to win his third title of the year.

“We came here to become champions. That’s the only goal I have,” Gadzhiev said. “All the opponents are really good, everything went well for me, we will keep working on our mistakes.”

He will be sure to not make any mistake when faces Erfan ELAHI (IRI), a silver medalist from the same cadet Worlds in 2019 as Gadzhiev won the gold in 65kg. He defeated Stanislav NOVAC (MDA) 8-3. He scored two stepouts to lead 2-0 but Novac scored a takedown.

Elahi then changed levels and scored a takedown and exposed Novac with an arm-trap to lead 6-2. Two more stepouts sealed the deal for him.

Another Azerbaijan-Iran bout will be held at 79kg as Mohammad NOKHODILARIMI (IRI) will take on Ashraf ASHIROV (AZE) in the final Tuesday.

Mohammad NOKHODILARIMI (IRI)Mohammad NOKHODILARIMI (IRI) defeated Gourav BALIYAN (IND) in the 79kg semifinals. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

While Nokhodilarimi had a strong 10-0 win over Gourav BALIYAN (IND) in the semifinal, Ashirov had some trouble before beating Makhambet NURZHAUBAYEV (KAZ) 11-3 in the last four.

Nokhodilarimi scored his 10-0 win in 3:31 seconds with a takedown and gut wrenches which gave him a 6-0 lead. His strength was far superior than Baliyan who gave up two more takedowns to lose.

In the other semifinal, Nurzhaubayev used a head lock to score two points and was ahead 4-3 but Ashirov came back strongly. He was awarded for caution and then he added a takedown and exposure to win 11-3.

But Ashirov said that wrestling the quarterfinal against Mukhammad ABDULLAEV (KGZ) was harder than the semifinal.

“The match with Kyrgyz wrestler was much harder than the semifinal,” he said. “I just felt a bit more responsibility

“My Iranian opponent is good, we will have to analyse his wrestling. With the help of God we will win the gold medal tomorrow.”

Russia also denied Azerbaijan a chance to qualify for another final as Ramazan BAGAVUDINOV (RUS) defeated Nuraddin NOVRUZOV (AZE) 7-0 in the semifinal at 57kg.The Russian has been guilty of underperforming at the international level but he stepped up his game Monday with a controlled win over Novruzov.

Ramazan BAGAVUDINOVRamazan BAGAVUDINOV (RUS) entered 57kg final. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

He scored his first point via stepout before a double leg takedown gave him a 3-0 lead. A single-leg lift was converted into a takedown before he defended a double leg attack and countered for his own to win 7-0.

But he will face a dynamic wrestler in Muhammet KARAVUS (TUR) who has outscored his opponents 28-4 in the tournament so far. The former Euro cadet silver medalist wrestled Manvel KHNDZRTSYAN (ARM) in the semifinal and won 8-4.

Karavus began with a quick takedown and then showed some strong defence to counter the attacks from Khndzrtsyan and lead 6-0. In the second period, the Armenian shot a quick double leg and managed to get a takedown. He then went for a duck-under but Karavus was ready for it and exposed Khndzrtsyan to lead 8-2. A consolation takedown for the Armenian did not matter much.

“My opponent [Karavus] in the final match is a good wrestler,” Bagavudinov said. “He is very enduring and fast. I am pretty confident I don’t feel any pressure yet.”

Incidentally, Russia and Azerbaijan will face each other in the final at 65kg. Ziraddin BAYRAMOV (AZE) will wrestle Shamil MAMEDOV (RUS) Tuesday in what can be a mouthwatering clash.

Shamil MAMEDOVShamil MAMEDOV (RUS) defeated Seyedhassan EBADIMERMETI (IRI) in the semifinal. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Bayramov defeated Beau BARTLETT (USA) 6-2 to advance while Shamil MAMEDOV (RUS) had a tough day. He was trailing 0-5 against Seyedhassan EBADIMERMETI (IRI) before mounting a comeback and winning 14-8.

“I concentrated and won,” Mamedov said. “The semifinal was a bit tough. I was loosing 5-0, but then I pulled myself together and won it.”

On the other hand, after winning the European Championships, Bayramov wants to win his first World title as well.

“I am really excited becuase I was only European championships medalist and it’s the first time I’ll be in the world championship’s final. In final I’ll wrestle only for the gold medal,” Bayramov said.

The only final which does not have a name from Russia or Azerbaijan is the 97kg where Polat POLATCI (TUR) setup a final against Braxton AMOS (USA).

Polat POLATCI (TUR)Polat POLATCI (TUR) pulled off a big move at the buzzer against Ali ABDOLLAHI (IRI). (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Polatci, son of Olympic champion Aydin POLATCI, scored a stunning exposure to beat the buzzer and claim a 9-8 win against Ali ABDOLLAHI (IRI). The Iran wrestler was leading throughout the bout and going into the last 10 seconds lead 8-7. But he dropped his guard in the final one second in which Polatci got an exposure from the chest lock. Abdollahi was calling for time expiration but when action finished there was still time left on the clock.

Polatci will face Amos who defeated DEEPAK (IND) 9-1 in a exciting way. Amos scored a takedown before a stepout and two more takedowns and win.

RESULTS: Freestyle


SF 1: Ramazan BAGAVUDINOV (RUS) df Nuraddin NOVRUZOV (AZE), 7-0
SF 2: Muhammet KARAVUS (TUR) df Manvel KHNDZRTSYAN (ARM), 8-4


SF 1: Ziraddin BAYRAMOV (AZE) df Beau BARTLETT (USA), 6-2
SF 2: Shamil MAMEDOV (RUS) df Seyedhassan EBADIMERMETI (IRI), 14-8

GOLD: Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE) vs Erfan ELAHI (IRI)

SF 1: Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE) df Stanislav SVINOBOEV (RUS), 6-1
SF 2: Erfan ELAHI (IRI) df Stanislav NOVAC (MDA), 8-3


SF 1: Mohammad NOKHODILARIMI (IRI) df Gourav BALIYAN (IND), 10-0
SF 2: Ashraf ASHIROV (AZE) df Makhambet NURZHAUBAYEV (KAZ), 11-3

GOLD: Polat POLATCI (TUR) vs Braxton AMOS (USA)

SF 1: Polat POLATCI (TUR) df Ali ABDOLLAHI (IRI), 9-8
SF 2: Braxton AMOS (USA) df DEEPAK (IND), 9-1