Kayaalp, Nabi to Battle for No.3 as GR Events Near Close at Paris World Championships

By William May

PARIS (August 22) – Two-time world champions Riza KAYAALP (TUR) and Heiki NABI (EST) will battle for a third title Tuesday to bring the curtain down on the Greco-Roman events at the Senior World Wrestling Championships in Paris.

Kayaalp has won world titles in 2011 and 2015 as well as owning bronze and silver medals for the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Nabi won his first world title at 96kg in 2006 and gained a second at super heavyweight in 2013 after a silver medal in London.

In the 130kg semifinals, Kayaalp forged a 2-1 victory over Pan American champion Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB) while Nabi edged Yasmani ACOSTA FERNANDEZ (CHI) by the same score.

Acosta, runner-up to Pino at the Pan American championships in May, becomes the first wrestler from Chile to advance to the medal matches at a world championships – in any age group and discipline.  Acosta will face Mykola KUCHMI (UKR) in a bronze medal bout at 130kg.

Meanwhile, in other weight categories, 2013 world champion RYU Han-Soo (KOR) advances to the gold medal final at 66kg after defeating European champion Artem SURKOV (RUS), 2-1, in the semifinals at AccorHotels Arena.

Ryu, who was also a runner-up at the 2015 world meet, will meet Mateusz BERNATEK (POL), who stopped Mohammad Morad ELYASI (IRI), 4-1 in the semifinals. In the morning session, Elyasi knocked off medal hopefuls Soslan DAUROV (BLR) and Azamat KEBISPAYEV (KAZ) in the earlier rounds.

Survivors in the all-Asian semifinals at 59kg were Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) and Meirambek AINAGULOV (KAZ). Fumita grabbed the Asian crown in May with a 2-1 victory over Ainagulov.

In the semifinals, Fumita squeaked by 2016 Asia champion Kanybek ZHOLCHUBEKOV (KGZ), 2-1, while Ainagulov scored a late takedown to defeat KIM Seung-HAK (KOR), 4-2.

The 80kg category was thrown into disarray with early losses Rio 2016 gold medal finalists Roman VLASOV (RUS) and Mark MADSEN (DEN). Emerging from the chaos were Maksim MANUKYAN (ARM), winner of the Paris Grand Prix in January, and European silver medalist Radik KULIEV (BLR).

Manukyan came out of an early scramble in the semifinal with European champion Zurabi DATUNASHVILI (GEO) for a fall at 1:55 while Kuliev held on for a 3-3 win over European Games champion Elvin MURSALIEV (AZE), who defeated Vlasov in a preliminary bout with step-out points 2-2.

Semifinal Results & Medal Final Pairings


59kg (30 entries)
Gold – Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) v Meirambek AINAGULOV (KAZ)
Bronze – Stepan MARYANYAN (RUS) v Kanybek ZHOLCHUBEKOV (KGZ)
Bronze – Dmytro TSYMBALIUK (UKR) v KIM Seung-Hak (KOR)

Semifinal – Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) df. Kanybek ZHOLCHUBEKOV (KGZ), 2-1 
Semifinal – Meirambek AINAGULOV (KAZ) df. KIM Seung-Hak (KOR), 4-2

66kg (36 entries)
Gold – RYU Han-Soo (KOR) v Mateusz BERNATEK (POL)
Bronze – Karen ASLANYAN (ARM) v Artem SURKOV (RUS)
Bronze – Atakan YUKSEL (TUR) v Mohammad Morad ELYASI (IRI)

Semifinal – RYU Han-Soo (KOR) df. Artem SURKOV (RUS), 2-1 
Semifinal – Mateusz BERNATEK (POL) df. Mohammad Morad ELYASI (IRI), 4-1

80kg (29 entries)
Gold – Maksim MANUKYAN (ARM) v Radik KULIEV (BLR)
Bronze – Pascal EISELE (GER) v Zurabi DATUNASHVILI (GEO)

Semifinal – Maksim MANUKYAN (ARM) df. Zurabi DATUNASHVILI (GEO) by Fall, 1:55 (7-0)
Semifinal –  Radik KULIEV (BLR) df. Elvin MURSALIEV (AZE), 3-3

130kg (27 entries)
Gold – Riza KAYAALP (TUR) v Heiki NABI (EST)
Bronze – Mykola KUCHMI (UKR) v Yasmani ACOSTA FERNANDEZ (CHI)

Semifinal – Riza KAYAALP (TUR) df. Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB), 2-1
Semifinal – Heiki NABI (EST) df. Yasmani ACOSTA FERNANDEZ (CHI), 2-1