Evloev leads Russia's Dominance at Matteo Pellicone

By Vinay Siwach

OSTIA, Italy (March 4) --- Two years after his last Ranking Series event, Musa EVLOEV (RUS) captured his third gold medal of the Series with a dominant performance at the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series, which got underway in Rome on Thursday.

The two-time defending world champion showed no mercy on his opponents, scoring two out of three wins by technical superiority. On the way to his gold medal, the Russian scored 22 points and did not concede a single one.

Evloev was the second of Russia's three gold medals on day one of the event. Russian national champion Viktor VEDERNIKOV (RUS) captured the 55kg gold medal while Emin Narimanovitch SEFERSHAEV (RUS), a junior world champion, claimed the top honors at 60kg weight category.

Kazakhstan captured two gold medals of its own after advancing four wrestlers to the finals in the morning session. Aidos SULTANGALI (KAZ) open the gold medal account for his country after his countryman Sultan ASSETULY (KAZ) forfeited the final due to injury. Meiirzhan SHERMAKHANBET (KAZ) captured his second Ranking Series gold and fourth medal overall after a technical superiority 12-2 over Mate KRASZNAI (HUN).

Hungary and Turkey were the two other countries which claimed the remaining two gold medals to close the day. Istvan TAKACS (HUN) won the 87kg gold medal while four-time world champion Riza Kayaalp (TUR) claimed the 130kg gold medal with 7-0 win in the final.

Evloev, who won the gold medal at the Individual World Cup in Belgrade, began the day with an 8-0 win over Luca SVAICARI (ITA) and gave little to no chance to Rio Olympics and world bronze medalist Cenk ILDEM (TUR) in his 6-0 win.

Less than two minutes into the final, the 27-year-old came up with a big four-point throw in the final against Erik SZILVASSY (HUN). He then scored a second-period pushout to compelete the win 8-0 and capture his first Ranking Series gold since the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov gold in March, 2019.

While Vedernikov also showed dominance throughout his round-robin to win the gold, Sefershaev had a some close bouts. In the quarter-final, the Russian survived a close 2-2 win against Zhanserik SARSENBIYEV (KAZ) before getting the gold via injury default.

Coming into the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series, Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) was the favourite to win the gold medal at 87kg category. He held an unpreecented record having won six Ranking Series gold medals and begin unbeaten in 23 bouts.

But after three years of sheer dominance at the event, Lorincz tasted his first defeat at the hands of fellow countryman Istvan Takacs (HUN).

Takacs was his country's lone gold medalist of the day but it was the semi-final that made the headlines. With three wrestlers in the 87kg category, Lorincz and Takacs met in the last-four bout. Both wrestlers exchanged points for passivity but it was the latter who took a 3-1 lead for exposure and kept it till the end, hand Lorincz his first Ranking Series defeat in 25 bouts.

Kayaalp was the final gold medal of the day. While there were some nervous moments for the multi-medalist at the Olympics as he took the bouts till the last minute, he cruised to his second Ranking Series gold, first in three years. It was a deliberate method by him.

"It's good to wrestle in Rome and prepare for the upcoming tournaments," he said. "I wanted to take the matches as long as possible from my side."

Kayaalp will now be headed back to Turkey for a training camp before heading to Poland for the European Championships. He will also be part of the second Ranking Series event, also to be held in Poland.

Action will continue on day two in Rome with remaining three Greco-Roman and four women's freestyle weight categories.



GOLD - Emin SEFERSHAEV (RUS) df. Ahmet UYAR (TUR), via inj. def.
BRONZE - lZhanserik SARSENBIYEV (KAZ) df. Ildar HAFIZOV (USA), 7-5
BRONZE - Krisztian KECSKEMETI (HUN) df. Joshua Xavier MEDINA(PUR), 2-1

GOLD - Aidos SULTANGALI (KAZ) df Sultan ASSETULY (KAZ) via inj. def.
BRONZE -Neeraj NEERAJ (IND) df. Samuel JONES (USA), 6-4
BRONZE -Mohammad ALAJMI (KUW) df. Marat GARIPOV (RUS), via inj. def.

BRONZE - Almat KEBISPAYEV (KAZ) df. Enes BASAR (TUR), 3 - 2
BRONZE -Nazir Rachidovitch ABDULLAEV (RUS) df. Murat FIRAT (TUR), 1-1

GOLD - Istvan TAKACS (HUN) df David LOSONCZI (HUN) 4-1
BRONZE - Bekkhan OZDOEV (RUS) df. Josef Patrick RAU (USA), 8-0 
BRONZE - Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) df. Simone FIDELBO (ITA), 8-0

BRONZE - Olzhas SYRLYBAY (KAZ) df. Ondrej DADAK (CZE), 9-0
BRONZE - Cenk ILDEM (TUR) df. Luca SVAICARI (ITA), 7-1

GOLD - Riza Kayaalp (TUR) df Abdellatif Mohamed Ahmed MOHAMED (EGY) 7-0
BRONZE - Naveen NAVEEN (IND) df. Stepan DAVID (CZE), 1-1


'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