Greco-Roman World Cup lineups announced

By Eric Olanowski

BAKU, Azerbaijan (October 18) --- United World Wrestling has announced the entries for the 2022 Greco-Roman World Cup, which will take place in Baku, Azerbaijan, November 5-6.

The two-day dual meet competition will feature the top five teams from the 2022 World Championships, and for the first time ever, an All-World team comprised of the highest-placing athletes from Belgrade whose teams finished outside of the top five in the team standings.

The two-day event will be split into two groups.

Group A will feature the 1st, 4th, and 5th place teams from Belgrade–Turkey, Iran, and Kyrgyzstan, respectively.
Group B will house the 2nd, 3rd and 6th place teams from Worlds–Azerbaijan, Serbia and the All-World team, respectively.

On Saturday, November 5, each team will compete against the other pair of nations in their groups to determine the top two teams.

Session One (10:00): TUR vs. IRI, AZE vs. SRB
Session Two (17:00): IRI vs. KGZ, SRB vs. All-World
Session Three (19:30): TUR vs. KGZ, AZE vs. All-World

Then, on Sunday, November 6, the teams with the best records from Group A and Group B will wrestle for the Greco-Roman World Cup team title, while the teams with the second-best record will square off in the 3rd-4th place match.

Session One (17:00): 3rd place final matches
Session Two: (18:30): 1st place final matches

The Greco-Roman World Cup will feature an All-World team for the first time ever.

The inaugural All-World team in Baku will consist of nine '22 world medal winners--including four runner-ups and three bronze-medal finishers from Belgrade.

The four silver medalists wrestling on the All-World team are Nugzari TSURTSUMIA (GEO), Leri ABULADZE (GEO), Zoltan LEVAI (HUN) and Jalgasbay BERDIMURATOV (UZB). The trio of bronze-medal finishers on the All-World team are Aidos SULTANGALI (KAZ), Andrii KULYK (UKR) and Mantas KNYSTAUTAS (LTU).

Joni KHETSURIANI, Alex KESSIDIS (SWE) and Nikoloz KAKHELASHVILI (ITA), who finished in fifth place at the World Championships, rounds out the ten-man All-World squad.

Turkey, the reigning Greco-Roman world champions, is bringing arguably the most loaded squad to Baku. They'll be led by world gold medalists Burhan AKBUDAK and Metehan BASAR. Akbudak won his gold in Belgrade, while Basar won world titles in '18 and '19. They are also bringing Selcuk CAN, Yunus BASAR and Ali CENGIZ, who finished with world bronze medals in Serbia.

Eldaniz AZIZLI, the newly-minted two-time world champion, leads the host nation's entries. He'll be joined on Azerbaijan's team by fellow Belgrade medalists Taleh MAMMADOV, Hasrat JAFAROV, Ulvu GANIZADE and Arif NIFTULLAYEV.

Ganizade won silver in Serbia, while Mammadov, Jafarov and Niftullayev bagged bronze medals in Belgrade.

Rafig HUSEYNOV and Sanan SULEYMANOV, who won world gold and silver in Oslo, respectively, are also featured on Azerbaijan's World Cup team.

Serbia showed out at the 2022 World Championships, winning four of the ten Greco-Roman gold medals. They'll bring two of the four world champions--Sebastian NAD and Mate NEMES--to Baku. Ali ARSLAN and Zurabi DATUNASHVILI have elected to sit out of the Greco-Roman World Cup and will be replaced by Nemes/Aleksa ERSKI and Zarko DICKOV, at 72kg and 87kg, respectively.

Iran is sitting their first-team guys and is sending a squad filled with age-group talent. The most notable wrestlers on their team are 2021 senior world champ Aliakbar YOUSOFIAHMADCHALI and 2019 senior world bronze medal winner Ali NEJATI.

Kyrgyzstan is in a similar position as Iran. They'll sit their first teamers and will be without 2022 world champions Zholaman SHARSHENBEKOV and Akzhol MAKHMUDOV. Without their pair of superstars, Kyrgystan will lean on Tokyo Olympian Uzur DZHUZUPBEKOV to lead the team in Baku.

Wrestling in Azerbaijan starts November 5-6 and will be streamed live on www.uww.org or on "The Home of Wrestling,' United World Wrestling's brand new app.

Download the United World Wrestling app: Google Play | Apple App Store

Greco-Roman World Cup Entries:
1. Turkey
55kg - Ekrem OZTURK
55kg - Muhammet Emin CAKIR
60kg - Kerem KAMAL
60kg - Mukremin AKTAS
63kg - Ahmet UYAR
67kg - Murat FIRAT
72kg - Selcuk CAN
77kg - Yunus Emre BASAR
77kg - Yuksel SARICICEK
82kg - Burhan AKBUDAK
87kg - Ali CENGIZ
97kg - Metehan BASAR
97kg - Mustafa OLGUN
130kg - Osman YILDIRIM

2. Azerbaijan
55kg - Eldaniz AZIZLI
55kg - Ibrahim NURULLAYEV
60kg - Murad MAMMADOV
60kg - Nihat Zahid MAMMADLI
63kg - Taleh MAMMADOV
63kg - Ziya BABASHOV
67kg - Hasrat JAFAROV
67kg - Namaz RUSTAMOV
72kg - Ulvu GANIZADE
72kg - Gurban GURBANOV
77kg - Sanan SULEYMANOV
77kg - Eljan MAMMADOV
82kg - Rafig HUSEYNOV
82kg - Nasir HASANOV
87kg - Lachin VALIYEV
87kg - Murad AHMADIYEV
97kg - Zamir MAGOMEDOV
130kg - Sabah Saleh SHARIATI
130kg - Beka KANDELAKI

3. Serbia
55kg - Sabolc LOSONC
60kg - Aleksandar BERAROV
60kg  Sebastian KOLOMPAR
63kg - Stefan LISCEVIC
63kg - Perica DIMITRIJEVIC
67kg - Sebastian NAD
72kg - Aleksa ERSKI
72kg - Mate NEMES
77kg - Aleksa ILIC
82kg - Milos PEROVIC
82kg - Viktor NEMES
87kg - Zarko DICKOV
97kg - Mihail KAJAIA
130kg - Sabolc HORVAT

4. Iran
55kg  - Mohammad Mahdi Meraj JAVAHERI FARID
55kg - Poya Soulat DAD MARZ
60kg - Pouya Mohammad NASERPOUR
60kg - Mehdi Seifollah MOHSEN NEJAD
63kg - Saeid Morad Gholi ESMAEILI LEIVESI
63kg - Iman Hossein Khoon MOHAMMADI
67kg - Hojat Hassan REZAEI
67kg - Seyed Danial Seyed Shamsollah SOHRABI
72kg - Mohammadreza Mahmoud ROSTAMI
72kg - Amir Ali ABDI
77kg - Aref Mozafar HABIBOLLAHI
77kg - Mohammad Reza Hojatollah MOKHTARI
82kg - Mohammadhossein Ebrahim MAHMOODI
82kg - Alireza Azizkhoon MOHMADIPIANI
87kg - Hamidreza Abbas BADKAN
87kg - Abolfazl Ali CHOUBANI
97kg - Ali Ramezanali ABEDIDARZI
97kg - Mehdi Mohammad BALIHAMZEHDEH
130kg - Fardin Shaban HEDAYATI
130kg - Aliakbar Hossein YOUSOFIAHMADCHALI

5. Kyrgyzstan
60kg - Nurmukhammet ABDULLAEV
63kg - Kaly SULAIMANOV
67kg - Khalmurat IBRAGIMOV
72kg - Adilkhan NURLANBEKOV
77kg - Akylbek TALANTBEKOV
82kg - Kalidin ASYKEEV
87kg - Azat SALIDINOV
130kg - Erlan MANATBEKOV

6. All-World
55kg - Nugzari TSURTSUMIA (GEO)
60kg - Aidos SULTANGALI (KAZ)
- Andrii KULYK (UKR)
- Zoltan LEVAI (HUN)

87kg - Turpan Ali Alvievich BISULTANOV (DEN)
- Kiril Milenov MILOV (BUL)

#WrestleBaku, #WrestleParis

Aliyev leads as Azerbaijan wins six Paris 2024 quota at European qualifier

By Vinay Siwach

BAKU, Azerbaijan (April 7) -- Haji ALIYEV (AZE) on the mat in front of a packed stadium in Baku for an Olympic spot. The fans cheered every time he scored. It only got louder as he inched towards victory. As the final whistle blew, Aliyev stretched his arms and fell on the mat even as the National Gymnastics Arena in Baku was defeaning.

Two-time Olympic medalist Aliyev, 32, qualified Azerbaijan for the Paris Olympics at 65kg with an entertaining 6-4 victory over European champion Islan DUDAEV (ALB). Aliyev was back.

Since winning the silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics, Aliyev has not dominated the 65kg weight class. He finished fifth at the 2022 World Championships and eighth at the 2023 edition.

Azerbaijan was losing confidence in its star as the Paris Olympics came closer with it still to earning a qualification. Aliyev was under pressure and his conditioning was being questioned. And a few youngsters were knocking on the door.

Yet, Aliyev entered the European OG Qualifier in Baku as the favorite. In front of the home crowd and as the captain of the Azerbaijan Freestyle team, Aliyev had to deliver.

After seeing off Khamzat ARSAMERZOUEV (FRA) and Niurgun SKRIABIN (AIN), Aliyev faced Dudaev for Paris qualification. Dudaev won the European Championships in Bucharest in February after defeating Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (AIN).

He threatened to beat Aliyev, leading 3-0 at the break. But Aliyev managed to get on a single leg and score a takedown to close the gap to 3-2. He again hit the same shot and got a takedown before using the lace to make it 6-3. Dudaev tried hard but Aliyev was too good with his defense and only gave up a stepout for one up.

Azerbaijan will most likely give Aliyev the spot in Paris 2024, his third in his career. Aliyev will be looking to win his third Olympic medal after a bronze medal in Rio 2016 and a silver in Tokyo 2020.

The second Paris 2024 quota at 65kg was won by Goderdzi DZEBISASHVILI (GEO) who defeated Maxim SACULTAN (MDA), 2-1, in the other semifinal. The two wrestlers exchanged passivity but Sacultan was put on the activity clock in the second period, giving Dzebisashvili the criteria win. 

Aliyev's win was one of the five that Azerbaijan had to become the first country to win all six Freestyle Olympic quotas. Apart from Aliyev, Aliabbas RZAZADE (AZE), Turan BAYRAMOV (AZE), Osman NURMAGOMEDOV (AZE), Giorgi MESHVILDISHVILI (AZE) earned quotas.

Rzazade seemed in a hurry to be off the mat as he opened the scoring against former European champion Vladimir EGOROV (MKD). He kicked off the bout with a stunning ankle pick for a takedown in the first five seconds of the bout and tried to soak in the Baku pressure by pacing around the mat as Egorov took time to return to the center.

In the second period, Rzazade scored a stepout when Egorov was on the activity clock, giving Rzazade a 4-0 lead. Egorov scored a takedown and was given one more point for Rzazade's fleeing at the end but the Azerbaijan wrestler won 4-3 to win the quota at 57kg.

Former world bronze medalist Aryan TSIUTRYN (AIN) defeated Tokyo Olympian Georgi VANGELOV (BUL), 7-3, in a one-sided semifinal to earn the second quota at 57kg.

At 86kg, Nurmagomedov showed his skills to beat Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR), 4-1, to earn a qualification. He also defeated Ramazan RAMAZANOV (BUL) in the quarterfinals.

Wrestling internationally for the first time since 2021, Olympic and world bronze medalist Artur NAIFONOV (AIN) confirmed his Paris 2024 spot after a gritty 4-0 win over Vladimeri GAMKRELIDZE (GEO). In the quarterfinal, Naifonov held off European champion Dauren KURUGLIEV (GRE) 2-1.

Giorgi MESHVILDISHVILI (AZE) confirmed the qualification at 125kg after he defeated Alen KHUBULOV (BUL), 7-0. The other qualification went to Dzianis KHRAMIANKOU (AIN) who defeated Kamil KOSCIOLEK (POL), 9-2.

A last-minute replacement for Abdulrashid SADULAEV (IND), Alikhan ZHABRAILOV (AIN) still got the job done of qualifying after he defeated Illia ARCHAIA (UKR), 11-0 to earn the Paris 2024 quota.

The second spot at 97kg was won by Aliaksandr HUSHTYN (AIN) after his opponent Radoslaw BARAN (POL) pulled out due to an injury he suffered in the quarterfinal.

At 74kg, Turan BAYRAMOV (AZE) did let the ghost of past affect him as he held on to a 8-8 win over Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) in a thrilling bout.

Chamizo trailed 8-6 but got awarded two caution points and almost scored a takedown which was reverted on challenge and Bayramov got a criteria win and an Olympic quota.

Tokyo Olympic silver medalist Magomedkhabib KADIMAGOMEDOV (AIN) held on to a 3-2 win over European champion Taimuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK) to win the quota. All five points were technical points.




57kg Paris Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Aliabbas RZAZADE (AZE) df. Vladimir EGOROV (MKD), 4-3
SF 2: Aryan TSIUTRYN (AIN) df. Georgi VANGELOV (BUL), 7-3

65kg Paris Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Goderdzi DZEBISASHVILI (GEO) df. Maxim SACULTAN (MDA), 2-1
SF 2: Haji ALIYEV (AZE) df. Islam DUDAEV (ALB), 6-4

74kg Paris Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Turan BAYRAMOV (AZE) df. Frank CHAMIZO (ITA), 8-8
SF 2: Magomedkhabib KADIMAGOMEDOV (AIN) df. Taimuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK), 3-2

86kg Paris Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Artur NAIFONOV (AIN) df. Vladimeri GAMKRELIDZE (GEO), 4-0
SF 2: Osman NURMAGOMEDOV (AZE) df. Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR), 4-1 

97kg Paris Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Alikhan ZHABRAILOV (AIN) df. Illia ARCHAIA (UKR), 11-0
SF 2: Aliaksandr HUSHTYN (AIN) df. Radoslaw BARAN (POL), via inj. def.

125kg Paris Qualification Bouts
SF 1: Dzianis KHRAMIANKOU (AIN) df. Kamil KOSCIOLEK (POL), 9-2