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)


Iran beats Azerbaijan to win Greco-Roman World Cup

By Vinay Siwach

BAKU, Azerbaijan (November 6) -- What a Greco-Roman World Cup that was. Iran and Azerbaijan were neck-to-neck with both winning five bouts. But the classification points gave Iran the win. Iran claims the World Cup it last won in 2016. Azerbaijan finishes second for the second time in a row.

The All-World team finishes third.


21:10: Iran wins the Greco-Roman World Cup! Aliakbar YOUSOFI (IRI) with a barrage of stepouts to beat Beka KANDELAKI (AZE) 6-3 and win the title for Iran on classification points. Kandelaki led 3-1 at the break but Yousofi broke Kandelaki and scored four stepouts in the second period along the fleeing point. Iran finishes with 21 classification points to 19 of Azerbaijan.

21:00: It all comes down to this bout. Aliakbar YOUSOFI (IRI) vs Beka KANDELAKI (AZE) at 130kg for the World Cup title. Both teams are tied for classification points with 18 each. The winner takes it all. Kandelaki begins with a turn from par terre to lead 3-0. Yousofi gets a stepout just before the break. He begins the second period with a stepout. Kandelaki's lead is cut to 3-2. A tiring Kandelaki can't stop the stepouts. He trails 5-3 with two minutes remaining. Another stepout and the win for Yousofi.

20:45: Mehdi BALIHAMZEHDEH (IRI) beats Arif NIFTULLAYEV (AZE) and Iran has cut it down to 5-4. Balihamzehdeh was trailing 2-1 but a takedown and turn to lead 5-2 and the win. The title comes down to the final bout at 130kg. A win is all that is needed.

20:33: Abolfazl CHOUBANI (IRI) the hero for Iran! He keeps Iran in the match with a 2-1 win over Murad AHMADIYEV (AZE). Azerbaijan still leads 5-3 but Iran will hope to win the final two bouts and make it 5-5 to stand a chance.

20:20: Now at 82kg, Mohammadhossein MAHMOODI (IRI) will look to bring back Iran in this. But Rafig HUSEYNOV (AZE) with exposure when he was put in par terre to lead 2-1. He locked Mahmoodi's elbow to get the points. A par terre position for Huseynov in the second period. Mahmoodi is cautioned for two points but no more damage was done. Huseynov wins 5-1. Azerbaijan leads 5-2.

20:10: This is now turning out to be a difficult one for Iran. Sanan SULEYMANOV (AZE) with a controlled 7-1 win over Aref HABIBOLLAHI (IRI) at 77kg. The win has propelled Azerbaijan to a 4-2 lead. Two more wins out of four bouts will seal it for Azerbaijan.

19:50: A challenge that Iran will regret if the final result doesn't go in its favor. Mohammadreza ROSTAMI (IRI) was leading Ulvi GANIZADE (AZE) 3-3 with over a minute remaining. A challenge for negative wrestling but it was clean. Ganizade got the 4-3 lead and the win. Azerbaijan is now in the lead 3-2.

19:35: Two young stars. Two of the best at 67kg. Two wrestlers who will be dominant for a long time. Seyed SOHRABI (IRI) and Hasrat JAFAROV (AZE) on the mat now. Sohrabi gets the early call for passivity. But he doesn't get any turn from par terre. Relentless from both wrestlers. Sohrabi will go at the break leading 1-0. Sohrabi with a body lock and tries to throw Jafarov but, are you kidding me, Jafarov with a one-handed counter for four! Iran challenges the call but it is a clear four. Jafarov leads 5-1. A victory for Jafarov at 67kg over Sohrabi. The crowd is electric.

19:25: World bronze medalist Taleh MAMMADOV (AZE) now wrestling Iman Hossein Khoon MOHAMMADI (IRI) at 63kg. He is cautioned for two points for negative wrestling. 2-0 lead for Khoon Mohammadi who scores a takedown as well to lead 4-0 at the break. The second passivity against Mammadov and Khoon Mohammadi asks for standing. Mammadov is cautioned again and Khoon Mohammadi leads 7-0. A stepout to complete an 8-0 win for Iran which leads 2-1 now.

19:15: Nihat MAMMADLI (AZE) replaces an injured Murad MAMMADOV (AZE) at 60kg. He is facing Mehdi MOHSEN NEJAD (IRI). A passivity call against Mammadli but Mohsen Nejad doesn't get the turn. A stepout for Mohsen Nejad as he leads 2-0 at the break. In the second period, Mohsen Nejad gets the advantage again. This time he turns Mammadli but gets stuck on the second attempt. Mammadli with a turn as well to make it 5-4. But Mohsen Nejad hangs on for the win. It's tied 1-1.

19:05: The first match is at 55kg. Two-time world champion Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE) takes on U23 world champion Poya DAD MARZ (IRI). Azizli wins 4-1 and puts Azerbaijan in the lead.

Now it is time for the big match! Iran is taking on Azerbaijan in Baku for the World Cup. 

18:55: U23 world champion Fatih BOZKURT (TUR) beats Mantas KNYSTAUTAS (UWW) 3-1 but it doesn't matter as the All-World team wins the bronze medal via classification points. Both teams have five wins but the All-World team has 22 points to Turkiye's 19. What a performance from the All-World team.

18:40: What a win for Nikoloz KAKHELASHVILI (UWW)! He beats two-time world champion Metehan BASAR (TUR) 1-1 at 97kg. The win all but confirms the third place for the All-World team. Mantas KNYSTAUTAS (UWW) has to avoid getting pinned at 130kg.

18:30: Ali CENGIZ (TUR) ties with for Turkiye! He beats Alex KESSIDIS (UWW) 4-2 at 87kg and it has become a thriller. The All-World team was looking very close to winning this but it has turned around.

18:20: A rematch of the World Championships final coming up at 82kg between Burhan AKBUDAK (TUR) and Jalgasbay BERDIMURATOV (UWW). The first passivity is against Akbudak and Berdimuratov scores a turn to lead 3-0. He starts the second period with a stepout. Akbudak then goes behind and scores a four before two turns make it 8-4. A point against Akbudak for being passive but that doesn't change the final result of the bout as Akbudak wins 8-5. The All-World team still leads Turkiye 4-3.

18:10: A long bout between world silver medalist Zoltan LEVAI (HUN) and Yunus BASAR (TUR) and it is the Turkiye wrestler who comes out on top 7-6. Basar first got the turn from par terre before a surprise arm throw for a 7-3 lead. Levai did score a takedown but Basar held on top a 7-6 win. Turkiye now has two wins from six bouts.

17:55: A battle between the two world bronze medalists and Selcuk CAN (TUR) looked like winning the bout after he got the turn from par terre against Andrii KULYK (UWW). But Kulyk jumped over and pinned Can for the win. The All-World team now leads 4-1.

17:40: Murat FIRAT (TUR) brings Turkiye back into this match. He beats Joni KHETSURIANI (UWW) 1-1 as the two exchanges passivity points in this 67kg bout. The All-World team still leads 3-1 but Turkiye is crawling back.

17:32: World silver medalist Leri ABULADZE (GEO) makes it 3-0 for the All-World team. He beats Ahmet UYAR (TUR) 3-1 after getting a turn in par terre.

17:20: At 60kg, Mukremin AKTAS (TUR) and Aidos SULTANGALI (UWW) going up against each other. Aktas gets the 1-0 lead for the passivity. But he fails to get any action. Sultangali goes behind and scores a throw for four. He continues the action for a gut wrench to lead 6-1 at the break. Aktas is called passive in the second period and Sultangali was happy to get the 7-1 win. A 2-0 lead for the All-World team.

17:05: The first bout of the Turkiye vs All-Star team is at 55kg between Muhammet CAKIR (TUR) and world silver medalist Nugzari TSURTSUMIA (GEO). Early action in the bout as Tsurtsumia takes a 4-0 lead. But he tries an arm throw which Cakir defends and scores a takedown. He then goes for an arm throw and gets four to lead 6-4. A stepout makes it 7-4. Just before the break, Tsurtsumia gets a takedown on the edge. Turkiye challenges the call but loses. Cakir leads 7-7 on criteria at the break. Tsurtsumia is on the attack in the second period and scores a stepout. Cakir struggling with his conditioning now. A takedown for Tsurtsumia as he builds a 10-7 lead. No more scoring action in the bout and Tsurtsumia gives All-World team the lead.

17:00: Welcome to the medal bouts of the Greco-Roman World Cup in Baku. Turkiye will take on the All-World team for third place.