Iran Three-Peats As Americans Capture Bronze at Freestyle World Cup

By Tim Foley

Iran Three-Peats As Americans Capture Bronze at Freestyle World Cup

LOS ANGELES (March 16) – Flags, chants and songs persisted for a second night inside the LA Forum as the Iranian men’s freestyle team wrestled past a tough Russian squad to earn their third-straight World Cup title in men’s freestyle.

Though the zip code read Inglewood Sunday night’s finals often felt more like a stadium in Tehran. More than 3500 fans came to support teams from around the world, but no country was better represented than Iran, and when the wrestling was over Iran had powered past Russia for a dominating 6-2 team victory.

“I really didn't anticipate so many Iranians here,” said Iranian 61kg wrestler Masoud ESMAILPOOR. “It was like being in Iran. God willing, we'll come back again. We love to face America and compete with America.”

The night started with what would prove to be best-contested match of the event as two-time 55kg world champion Viktor LEBEDEV bested reigning 55kg world champion Hassan RAHIMI in an electric 4-3 decision at 57kg. Lebedev was down 3-2 with :15 on the clock when the Russian transitioned from a double leg and scrambled behind Rahimi for the last-second victory.

Though the upset at 57kg took some early energy out of the crowd, Masoud ESMAILPOOR hunkered down in the second match of the night at 60kg and worked outside singles legs and open doubles to beat Russia’s Aleksandr BOGOMOEV, 12-6.

The 66kg match was suppose to be closely contested until Iranian Sayed Ahmad PAHNEHKOLAIE found a four-point tight waist from the standing position. From there Pahnehkolaie poured on offensive attack after offensive attack, earning a technical superiority over Emeev, 10-0 and giving Iran the 2-1 team lead.

At 70kg Iran’s Mostafa HOSSEINKHANI squared off against Russia’s Khetik TSABOLOV in what had promised to be a competitive matchup at the newly formed non-Olympic weight category. After an early four-point moved was overruled, Hossenikhani put pressure on Russia’s Tsabalov and came away with the 9-0 victory, which pushed the team score to 3-1.

AKBARI, who the night before lost a heartbreaking match to American superstar Jordan BURROUGHS, suffered a bad loss to the energetic Akhmed GADZHIMAGOMEDOV who used three takedowns and a four-point maneuver to move past Akbari, 10-0. The Russian noted the fan support and gave them a sporting, though direct, fist pump after his win moved the team score to 3-2 in favor of the Iranians.

At 85kg it was Ehsan LASHGARI and Russia’s Anzor URISHEV who kept a physical match close. Lashgari, a two-time world medalist earning the 2-1 victory and moving the team score forward to 4-2.

Two-time world champion and team leader Reza YAZDANI sealed the gold medal for the Iranian team with a brutal onslaught of action against Russia’s Yuri BELONOVSKY, opening up a 10-1 lead in the first period before sealing up the match in the second with another takedown and 12-2 technical superiority victory.

Yazdani fell ill after the match and was ushered away by a medical team to receive treatment.

“I felt short on breath and they checked everything out – my heart and lungs,” said Yazdani. “I've been having some lung problems for about two years. Whenever I get a cold, it acts up. I had cold two weeks ago and was still not fully recovered.”

In the final match of the tournament 125kg wrestlers Anzor Khezriev (RUS) and Komeil GHASEMI (IRI) battled for six minutes, with Ghasemi prevailing, 3-0.

Before the gold medal finals, it was the Americans who enjoyed the rabid fan support of the Iranian side.

Angel ESCOBEDO (USA) started the American side off with an impressive, crowd-pleasing 11-0 technical superiority victory over Ukraine’s Sergiy RATISHNY. Yasar Dogu champion and No. 8 ranked Jimmy KENNEDY followed up with a 5-1 win over Vasyl FEDROYSHYN.

Brent METCALF found his favorite left side high crotch five times on way to earning a 12-2 technical superiority victory over Ivan PETRIV. Metcalf was a perfect 5-0 at the World Cup. Nick MARABLE followed up Metcalf’s performance with had fought 3-2 win over Andriy KVYATKOVSKY (UKR) at 70kg.

The most impressive American performance of the night belonged to two-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs (USA). Burroughs brandished his double leg on more than four occasions and even attempted new par terre techniques en route to securing a 15-2 technical superiority over Giya CHYKHLADZE.

“I wanted to score more from par terre,” laughed Burroughs. “But, I ended up giving up that reversal. My goal is to score points all the time, and I’m happy that I could score on my feet.”

The American’s winning streak continued at 85kg where emerging star Clayton FOSTER upended 2013 world champion Ibrahim ALDATOV, 7-2.

“Clayton’s been progressing for us nicely,” said USA head wrestling coach Zeke Jones. “He had a great training camp and has always done what is asked of him, and now he’s seeing the results.”

America’s only loss of the night came at 97kg as Ukraine’s Pavlo OLIINYK powered past J.D. BERGMAN (USA), 4-1.

First-Place Match
Iran 6, Russia 2
57 kg – Viktor LEBEDEV (RUS) df. Hassan RAHIMI (IRI), 4-3
61 kg – Masoud ESMAILPOOR (IRI) df. Aleksandr BOGOMAEV (RUS), 12-6
65 kg – Sayed Ahmad PAHNEHKOLAIE (IRI) df. Alibeggadzhi EMEEV (Russia) by TF, 10-0
70 kg – Mostafa Hosseinkhani (IRI) df. Khetik Tsabolov (RUS), 9-0
74 kg – Akhmed GADZHIMAGOMEDOV (RUS) df. Ezzatollah AKBARI (IRI) by TF, 11-0
84 kg – Ehsan LASHGARI (IRI) df. Anzor URISHEV (RUS), 2-1
97 kg – Reza YAZDANI (IRI) df. Yuri BELONOVSKIY (RUS), 12-2
125 kg – Komeil GHASEMI (IRI) df. Anzor KHEZRIEV (RUS), 3-0

Third-Place Match
USA 7, Ukraine 1
57 kg – Angel ESCOBEDO (USA) df. Sergiy RATUSHNY (UKR) by TF, 11-1
61 kg – Jimmy KENNEDY (USA) dec. Vasyl FEDORYSHYN (UKR), 5-1
65 kg – Brent METCALF (USA) df. Ivan PETRIV (UKR) by TF, 12-2
70 kg – Nick MARABLE (USA) df. Andriy KVYATKOVSKY (UKR), 3-2
74 kg – Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) df. Giya CHYKLADZE (UKR) by TF, 15-4
86 kg – Clayton FOSTER (USA) df. Ibragim ALDATOV (UKR), 7-2
97 kg – Pavlo OLIINYK (UKR) df. J.D. BERGMAN (USA), 4-1
120 kg – Tervel DLAGNEV (USA) won by forfeit

Fifth-Place Match
Mongolia 5, India 3
57 kg – Amit KUMAR (IND) df. Batbold NOMIN (MGL), via injury
61 kg – Enkhsaikhan NYAM-OCHIR (MGL) df. Bajrang (IND), 6-5
65 kg – Ganzorig MANDAKHRANAN (MGL) df. Rajneesh (IND), 11-0
70 kg – Amit Kumar DHANKAR (IND) df. Ankhbayar Batchuluun (MGL), 13-8
74 kg – Parveen RANA (IND) df. Purevjav Unurbat (MGL), 6-3
86 kg – Orgodol UITUMEN (MGL) df. Pawan Kumar (IND), 10-0
97 kg – Dorjkhand KHUDERBULGA (MGL) df. Saywart Kadian (IND), 3-1
125 kg – Jargalsaikhan CHULUUNBAT (MGL) won by forfeit

Seventh-Place Match
Turkey 6, Japan 2
57 kg – Nebi UZUN (TUR) won by forfeit
61 kg – Recep TOPAL (TUR) won by forfeit
65 kg – Daichi TAKATANI (JPN) df. Selahattin KILISALAYAN (TUR) by FALL, 3:46
70 kg – Mustafa KAYA (TUR) df. Ken HOSAKA (JPN) by FALL, 3:32
74 kg – Sohsuke TAKATANI (JPN) df. Murat ERTURK (TUR) by TF, 10-0
86 kg – Fatih ERDIN (TUR) df. Atsushi MATSUMOTO (JPN), 13-8
97 kg – Ali BONCEOGLU (TUR) df. Koki YAMAMOTO (JPN), 8-2
125 kg – Hamza OZHARDENIZ (TUR) df. Nobuyoshi ARAKIDA (JPN), 11-5

Ninth-Place Match
Georgia 4, Armenia 4 (Georgia wins by criteria)
57 kg – Artak HOVHANNISYAN (ARM) df. Beka BUJASHVILI (GEO) by TF, 13-3
61 kg – Valodya FRANGULYAN (ARM) df. Beka LOMTADZE (GEO) by criteria, 18-18
65 kg – Zurabi LAKOBISHVILI (GEO) won by forfeit
70 kg – Levan KELEKSASHVILI (GEO) df. Davit APOYAN (ARM), via default
74 kg – Giorgi MARSAGISHVILI (GEO) df. Varuzhan Kajoyan (ARM) by FALL, 1:39
86 kg – Vahe TAMRAZYAN (ARM) won by forfeit
97 kg – Viktor KAZISHVILI (ARM) df. Nodar EGADZE (GEO) by FALL, 2:21
125 kg – Giorgi SAKANDELIDZE (GEO) df. Andranik GALSTYAN (ARM) by TF, 11-0

Pool A Standings
1. Iran, 4-0
2. USA, 3-1
3. India, 2-2
4. Turkey, 1-3
5. Armenia: 0-4

Pool B Standings
1. Russia, 4-0
2. Ukraine, 3-1
3. Mongolia, 2-2
4. Japan, 1-3
5. Georgia, 0-4

Pool B, Round IV

Russia 7, Georgia 1

57 kg – Vladimir FLEGONTOV (RUS) df. Otari GOGAYA (GEO), 10-2
61 kg – Aleksandr BOGOMOEV (RUS) df. Beka LOMTADZE (GEO), 6-2
65 kg – Alibeggadzhi EMEEV (RUS) df. Zurabi JAKOBSHVILI (GEO), 4-2
70 kg – Khetik Tsabolov (RUS) df. Levan KELEKHSASHVILI (GEO) by TF, 11-0
74 kg – Atsamaz SANAKOEV (RUS) df. Giorgi MARSAGISHVILI (GEO), 5-2
86 kg – Shamil KUDAIMAGOMEDOV (RUS) won by forfeit
97 kg – Vladislav BAICAEV (RUS) df. Nodar EGADZE (GEO) by TF, 10-0
125 kg – Giorgi SAKANDELIZE (GEO df. Anzor KHERIZ (RUS) by TF, 10-0

Ukraine 5, Mongolia 3
57 kg – Sergiy RATISHNY (UKR) df. Batbold NOMIN (MGL) by TF, 14-4
61 kg – Enkhsaikhan NYAM-OCHIR (MGL) df. Vasyl FEDROYSHYN (UKR), 6-3
65 kg – Ganzorig MANDAKHRANAN (MGL) df. Ivan PETRIV (UKR), 7-0
70 kg – Andriy KVYATKOVSKY (UKR) df. Ankhbayar BATCHULUUN (MGL) Dec 13-8
74 kg – Purevjav UNURBAT (MGL) df. Giya CHYKHLADZE (UKR), 8-6
86 kg – Ibrahim ALDATOV (UKR) df. Orgodol UITUMEN (MGL), 10-5
97 kg – Pavlo OLIINYK (UKR) df. Dorjkhand KHUDERBULGA (MGL), 7-3
125 kg – Alen ZASIEIEV (UKR) df. Jargalsaikhan CHULUUNBAT (MGL), 6-1

Pool A, Round IV

USA 8, Turkey 0
57 kg – Angel ESCOBEDO (USA) df. Nebi UZUN (TUR) by FALL, 2:50
61 kg – Jimmy KENNEDY (USA) df. Recep TOPAL (TUR) by TF, 10-0
65 kg – Brent METCALF (USA) df. Selahattin KILISALAYAN (TUR) by TF, 10-0
70 kg – Nick MARABLE (USA) df. Mustafa KAYA (TUR) by TF, 13-0
74 kg – Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) df. Murat ERTUK (TUR) by FALL, 2:17
86 kg – Clayton FOSTER (USA) df. Fatih ERDIN (TUR), 16-9
97 kg – J.D. BERGMAN (USA) df. Ali BONCEOGLU (TUR), 6-4
125 kg – Tervel DLAGNEV (USA) wins by forfeit

Iran 8, India 0
57 kg – Hassan RAHIMI (IRI) won by forfeit
61 kg – Masoud ESMAILPOOR (IRI) df. Bajrang BAJRANG (IND), 5-0
65 kg – Meisam NASIRI (IRI) df. RAJNEESH (IND), 5-0
70 kg – Mostafa HOSSEINKHANI (IRI) df. Amit Kumar DHANKAR (IND), 5-0
74 kg – Reza AFZALIPAEMAMI (IRI) df. Parveen RANA (IND), 6-0
86 kg – Ehsan LASHGARI (IRI) df. Pawan KUMAR (IND) by TF, 10-0
97 kg – Hamed Talebi ZARINKAMAR (IRI) df. Saywart KADIAN (IND) byt TF, 11-0
125 kg – Parviz Hadi BASMANI (IRI) won by forfeit