ROME, Italy (July 25) -- Four different continental champions reached the gold medal bouts on day one of the U17 World Championships in Rome, Italy.

Ronit SHARMA (IND) at 48kg, Faraim MUSTAFAYEV (AZE) at 55kg, Joel ADAMS (USA) at 65kg and Laszlo DARABOS (HUN) at 110kg will be looking to add a world gold after being crowned continental champions last month.

Out of the five weight classes that were competed on the opening day at the Pala Pellicone, Azerbaijan put all five wrestlers into the semifinal with Turkey and Iran sending three each. India and Ukraine entered two wrestlers each in the semifinals while Kazakhstan, the USA, Bulgaria, Uzbekistan and Hungary put a wrestler each in the last four.

By the end of the day, Azerbaijan, India, Turkey and Iran managed to send two wrestlers each to the five finals, two of which will see rematches of the continental finals.

Ronit SHARMA (IND)Ronit SHARMA (IND) defeated Said KHALILOV (AZE) 7-0 win the semifinals. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Sharma set up a rematch of the U17 Asian Championships final against Ali AHMADI VAFA (IRI). He won the bout in Bishkek 7-6 despite losing the earlier group stage bout to Ahmadi Vafa. With the head-to-head record tied at 1-1, it will be interesting to see who takes the lead when the two clash in the final Tuesday.

Outscoring his opponents 26-0 in three bouts, Sharma was equally impressive in the semifinal against Said KHALILOV (AZE). He opened the scoring with a takedown and showcased solid defense using underhook. After the break, Khalilov was called passive which resulted in Sharma getting a turn from par terre to lead 5-0. He ended the bout 7-0.

Ahmadi Vafa had the same score against Arsen ZHUMA (KAZ), an Asian bronze medalist, in the semifinal. But his earlier bouts were close one-point wins. He began with a 2-1 win against Tigran GALSTYAN (ARM) before beating Kurmanbek ALIMZHANOV (KGZ) 5-4, thanks to a late exchange that resulted in two points for each wrestler.

Laszlo DARABOS (HUN)U17 European champion Laszlo DARABOS (HUN), red, defeated U17 Asian champion Mohammad JAHANGIRI (IRI) in the 110kg quarterfinals. (Photo: Martin Gabor)

In another continental final rematch, U17 European champion at 110kg Laszlo DARABOS (HUN) will face Cemal BAKIR (TUR) on Tuesday.

Darabos dominated like he did in Bucharest a month ago and a golden repeat is on the cards if he continues his form Tuesday. He had pinned Bakir for the gold ar the Euros.

Incidentally, the semifinals at 110kg in Rome were the same as the U17 European Championships and both Darabos and Bakir ended up having similar scores from that tournament.

Darabos wrestled Dmytro STRYZHEKOZIN (UKR) in the semifinal and once the Ukrainian was called passive in the first period, the Hungarian wrestlers worked a strong gut wrench to end the bout 9-0 before the break.

In the quarterfinals, he defeated U17 Asian champion Mohammad JAHANGIRI (IRI) in a tense fashion, winning 5-4.

Bakir took a minute extra than Darabos but he got the job done in an equally dominant fashion. Mazaim MARDANOV (AZE) gave up a takedown in the first period to trail 2-0 at the break. But the referee called him passive and from there, Bakir scored six points, three turns from par terre, to win 9-0.

With the win, he gets a chance to avenge his European loss to Darabos and claim the gold medal at the World Championships.

Joel ADAMS (USA)Joel ADAMS (USA) hits a five-point throw against Takaku SUZUKI (JPN) at 65kg. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

One of the stars of the day was Joel ADAMS (USA) as the Pan-Am champion put on a show to reach the 65kg final against Ahoura BOUVEIRI (IRI).

Adams began the tournament with a dreamy five-pointer against Takaku SUZUKI (JPN). He then toyed with Saya BRUNNER (SUI) for an 8-0 win in the pre-quarters. He faced his toughest test in Aleksandre RUSITASHVILI (GEO) in the quarterfinals but dominated the bout for a 6-0 win.

In the semifinals, he was up against Petro SHAFRANSKYI (UKR) and began with a one-on-two drag and got the takedown. Just when Shafranskyi looked to get heavy in the second period, Adams hit a duck under and scored another takedown. He won 6-0 to set up the final against Ahoura BOUVEIRI (IRI).

Bouveiri defeated Ali ALIZADA (AZE), 1-1, as the two wrestlers exchanged passivity points in the semifinal.

At 55kg, Faraim MUSTAFAYEV (AZE) will look to add world gold to his European title after he reached the 55kg final. But he will have to work harder than he did Monday as he faces a strong opponent in SURAJ (IND).

Mustafayev wrestled three bouts to make the final and looked effortless in all of them. In the quarterfinal, he faced Saba SURMANIDZE (GEO) and pinned him, an equally dominant win as his European quarterfinals in which he won 8-0 against Surmanidze.

In the semifinal, Halil CINAR (TUR) tried stopping Mustafayev but got taken down early in the bout. Mustafayev used an exposure and stepout to lead 5-0. In the second period, he got a takedown and a big throw to win 11-0.

SURAJ (IND)SURAJ (IND) will face European champion Faraim MUSTAFAYEV (AZE) for the 55kg gold in Rome. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Suraj, who finished fifth at the U17 Asian Championships after losing to Khurshidbek NORMUKHAMMADOV (UZB) and then to Byeonggi SEO (KOR), avenged his opening round loss to Normukhammadov at the biggest stage. He beat the Uzbekistan wrestler 7-3 in the semifinal.

It looked like Normukhammadov will take the bout again after leading 3-0. But Suraj added a takedown before the break to cut the lead to 3-2. When he got the par terre advantage in the second period, he got two turns over Normukhammadov with ease and controlled the bout to win 7-3.

Ismayil RZAYEV (AZE)Ismayil RZAYEV (AZE) celebrates after beating Seyed Reza AZARSHAB (IRI) in the 80kg semifinal. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

At 80kg, a mini-European battle ensued throughout the day. In the end, silver medalist in Bucharest Ismayil RZAYEV (AZE) and fifth-placer Alperen BERBER (TUR) made it to the final and will wrestle for the gold.

European champion Mihai GUTU (MDA) lost to Luka GELASHVILI (GEO) 5-2 in the qualification. Later, Gelashvili suffered a 3-0 defeat against Berber, who had lost to Gutu in the opening rounds of the Euros.

In the semifinals, Rzayev faced U17 Asian silver medalist Seyed Reza AZARSHAB (IRI) but was quick to finish the bout after getting the gut wrench from par terre in a 9-0 win.

Berber too was quick to move on with a 9-0 win over Andrey ATANASOV (BUL) and set up the gold bout against Rzayev.

After the medal bouts of these five weights, qualifying and semifinals of the remaining five Greco-Roman weights -- 45kg, 51kg, 60kg, 71kg and 92kg -- will be in action Tuesday.




SF 1: Ronit SHARMA (IND) df. Said KHALILOV (AZE), 7-0
SF 2: Ali AHMADI VAFA (IRI) df. Arsen ZHUMA (KAZ), 7-0


SF 1: Faraim MUSTAFAYEV (AZE) df. Halil CINAR (TUR), 11-0
SF 2: SURAJ (IND) df. Khurshidbek NORMUKHAMMADOV (UZB), 7-3


SF 1: Joel ADAMS (USA) df. Petro SHAFRANSKYI (UKR), 6-0
SF 2: Ahoura BOUVEIRI (IRI) df. Ali ALIZADA (AZE), 1-1

GOLD: Ismayil RZAYEV (AZE) vs Alperen BERBER (TUR)

SF 1: Ismayil RZAYEV (AZE) df. Seyed Reza AZARSHAB (IRI), 9-0
SF 2: Alperen BERBER (TUR) df. Andrey ATANASOV (BUL), 9-0


SF 1: Cemal BAKIR (TUR) df. Mazaim MARDANOV (AZE), 9-0
SF 2: Laszlo DARABOS (HUN) df. Dmytro STRYZHEKOZIN (UKR), 9-0