Kayaalp Wins 10th Euro Title; Evloev Leads 3 Russians Into GR Finals

By Vinay Siwach

WARSAW, Poland (April 24) -- Normally, teams wait until the tournament finishes to click their group photos after they finish on the podium. But Saturday was not a normal day for Turkey and no one wanted to wait another day.

As soon as the medal ceremony for 130kg finished, Turkey team jumped on the stage to take pictures, with every member showing the number ten with their hands.

It was a tribute as Riza KAYAALP (TUR) won his 10th senior European Championships title on Saturday at the Sportowa COS Torwar stadium in Warsaw, Poland.

Greco-Roman action continued on day six of the Championships as five gold medals were decided with Russia capturing two of them. Hungary, Serbia and Turkey claimed the remaining three.

Kayaalp had to wait until the final match of the day to claim his historic title. The Turkey legend had dominated his competition on Friday to reach the final against Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO), same wrestler he had defeated to win the 2019 European title.

For the record, Kayaalp won the final 3-1 against Kajaia after scoring a takedown and one point for Kajaia's passivity. He gave up a point for his own inactivity in the second period but that did not mean much as he claimed the gold medal with ease.

The 31-year-old the value of winning a gold medal in an Olympic year, especially given how unpredictable the 130kg weight category is around the world.

“It feels great to win 10 gold medals in 11 [European Championships] finals,” Kayaalp said. “In Greco Roman it is much more difficult to win it. It is good step for Tokyo as well.”

With 90 days still left for the Games, the two-time Olympic medalist feels he can still improve and will return to Warsaw to compete at the Poland Open Ranking series event.

“I will continue to improve. I will compete in Poland to see how well prepared I am for Tokyo,” he said.

Another world champion and Olympic medalist who added to his European Championships count was Tamas LORINCZ (HUN). His last European title came way back in 2014, since then winning two bronze medals at the 2017 and 2018 Championships.

Wrestling in the final of 77kg, Lorincz made little work of one of the three finalists from Turkey on Saturday Yunus BASAR (TUR), completing a technical superiority 8-0 win.

Turkey's Ekrem OZTURK (TUR) also finished with a silver medal at 55kg as Emin SEFERSHAEV (RUS) claimed the gold medal with a 7-0 win.

Beginning on a slow note, Sefershaev waited for Ozturk's passivity but failed to capitilise on the par terre position. He later scored his second point via a pushout to extend his lead to 2-0.

To Ozturk's surprise, he was once again called for passivity in the second period and Sefershaev did not make any mistake this time with a huge four-point throw to make it 7-0. Any tries of Ozturk's were denied as the Russian gave his country the first of the two gold medals.

Russia captured the title at 63kg as well with Zhambolat LOKYAEV (RUS) defeating Taleh MAMMADOV (AZE) 5-0 in the final. It was their second bout in four months as the Individual World Cup winner Lokyaev had defeated Mammadov 2-0 in the quarterfinal in Belgrade.

After getting warned for passivity, Mammadov failed to stop Lokayev from a lift from the par terre position and gave up four points. It was enough for the Russian to hold on to the lead until the final whistle.

The surprise of the day came at 87kg as Friday's star performer Kiryl MASKEVICH (BLR) fell in the final against Zurabi DATUNASHVILI (SRB) 5-1 as the Serb avenged his 3-10 loss to Maskevich at the Individual World Cup in December.

Maskevich has defeated a world medalist, a world champion and secured a come-from-behind fall on Friday but looked off color a day later. He got the advantage when Datunashvili was warned for inactivity but Belrussian failed to capitalize.

In turn, he gave up four points from par terre when he was warned for passivity, giving the Serb a 5-1 lead.

He got another chance late in the second period when he got Datunashvili in par terre again but could not complete his signature body lock throws, ending his roller-coaster campaign with a silver medal.

Datunashvili, a transfer from Georgia, broke out in a celebration with his coach after winning the gold medal, a first for the country in Greco-Roman after four years.

Zurabi DATUNASHVILI (SRB) defeated Kiryl MASKEVICH (BLR) in the 87kg final. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

In the bronze medal bouts at 55kg, former world champion Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE) defeated Fabian SCHMITT (GER) 8-0 with two big throws in the first period while Rudik MKRTCHYAN (ARM) claimed the second bronze by beating Artsiom KATSAR (BLR) with a similar scoreline.

History was created in 63kg weight category as Aleksandrs JURKJANS (LAT) won his country first senior European medal since 1938. He ended the 83-year wait by capturing the bronze medal with a 7-5, come-from-behind victory over Hrachya POGHOSYAN (ARM).

Leri ABULADZE (GEO) was quick to finish his bronze medal bout against Mihai MIHUT (ROU) 9-1 to claim the third spot.

At 77kg, Antonio KAMENJASEVIC (CRO) hung on for 5-1 win over Michael WIDMAYER (GER) and Sanan SULEYMANOV (AZE) won the bronze medal by beaten Dmytro PYSHKOV (UKR) 6-0.

Former and current world champions at 87kg Milad ALIRZAEV (RUS) and Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) won the bronze medals. The Russian claimed a big win over Turpan BISULTANOV (DEN) 8-1 while Beleniuk had a close bout against fellow world medalist Denis KUDLA (GER), winning it 1-1.

The 130kg bronze medals were settle with just one point difference in both bouts as world medalist Eduard POPP (GER) overcame Oleksandr CHERNETSKYY (UKR) 2-1 and Zurabi GEDEKHAURI (RUS) won 3-2 against Romas FRIDRIKAS (LTU).

Evloev shines as Russia reach 3 finals

After sending two wrestler to the finals on Friday, Russia improved and entered three on Saturday, led by two-time defending world champion Musa EVLOEV (RUS).Just like the freestyle 97kg category is dominated by Russia, the Greco-Roman is no different, thanks to Evloev.

Close to two months after winning the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series in Rome, Evloev was back on the mat, demolishing his opponents in his usual calm and composed manner.

He began with a 4-0 win over Markus RAGGINGER (AUT) and followed it with a technical superiority win over Yevhenii SAVETA (UKR). In the semifinals, he met Nikoloz KAKHELASHVILI (ITA), a silver medalist from last year's European Championships.

Evloev was the first to go into a par terre position and gave a 1-0 lead to Kakhelashvili. But the Italian's flee in gave Evloev two points and a 2-1 lead. He later got another point for Kakhelashvili's inactivity. The 3-1 score was enough to take him to the final.

Evloev will look to reclaim the title he had won in 2019 but skipped the 2020 tournament where the gold medal was won by Armenian legend Artur Aleksanyan (ARM).

Trying to stop him in the final will be 38-year-old Balazs KISS (HUN). He won the semifinal against Mikalai STADUB (BLR) with an identical score of 3-1.

With the entry into the final, Kiss has confirmed atleast a silver medal, a first for him in 11 attempts at the European Championships. His previous three medals have all been bronze.

Saturday was the first time he reached the finals of the tournament since began competing at the senior level dating back to 2003. In the last 18 years he has competed at 11 Championships, including this year, and one Games.

2018 World Champion and 2019 runner-up Sergey EMELIN (RUS) will look to add to Russia's tally of gold medals in Warsaw as he reached the final at 60kg.

Emelin was at his brutal self as he finished all his bout well before time, winning all three of them via technical superiority.

His wins include a 9-0 scoreline over Grzegorz KUNKEL (POL) in the qualification round, 8-0 over Jozsef ANDRASI (HUN) in the quarterfinal and 9-0 over Razvan ARNAUT (ROU) in the semifinal.

But the final may not see the same as he wrestles two-time junior world champion and European silver medalist Kerem KAMAL (TUR) on Sunday. Kamal will like to change the colour of his medal from last year as he finished with a silver and a bronze in 2019.

Kerem KAMAL (TUR) Senior European Championships 2021

His road to the final was unlike Emelin as he had to work harder for his wins. In the quarterfinal he defeated Viktor PETRYK (UKR) 5-1 before beating Hleb MAKARANKA (BLR) 7-2 in a closely contest semifinal.

Kamal scored a point via pushout before Makaranka gave up another for inactivity. He went for big throw but could only get two points after a successful challenge. Makaranka got one for reversal but still trailed 1-4.

The Belarussian was awarded a point for Kamal's passivity but he failed to complete a throw from par terre, instead giving exposure to Kamal for two points. It was challenged by his corner but was unsuccessful as Kama secured a 7-2 win.

At the Olympic weight category of 67kg, Mateusz BERNATEK (POL) delighted the home country as he reached the final with a thrilling 5-4 win over Slavik GALSTYAN (ARM).

By assuring himself atleast a silver medal, Bernatek claimed his first European medal at the senior level, and deservedly so.

Galstyan ran to a 4-0 lead with a slip by and roll within the first period of the bout. But he was warned for passivity and Bernatek got him him in a front headlock lift for two points. While going for the second one, he was failed and Galstyan grabbed the opportunity to pin him.

Poland corner challenged the call for a leg foul and they did it successful. That gave Bernatek two more points and a 5-4 lead over Galstyan which stayed till the end.

Mateusz Lucjan BERNATEK (POL) Senior European Championships 2021
Mateusz Lucjan BERNATEK (POL) after winning his semifinal. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

He will wrestle Mate NEMES (SRB) who defeated Murat FIRAT (TUR) 3-3 on criteria in the other semifinal at 67kg.

Firat was leading 3-1 after a passivity and gut wrench points but committed a leg foul in the second period which gave Nemes a 3-3 lead, based on the caution Firat had received.

Junior World and European champion Malkhas AMOYAN (ARM) made it to the final at 72kg and will face Olympic bronze medalist Shmagi BOLKVADZE (GEO).

The Armenian defeated Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series gold medalist this year Robert FRITSCH (HUN) 3-1 while the Georgian was quick to stop another local wrestler from reaching the final by beating Roman PACURKOWSKI (POL) 6-0.

With Pacurkowski's defeat, world medalist Selcuk CAN (TUR) and former world champion Frank STAEBLER (GER) will return empty-handed from Warsaw. Can lost 3-11 in the quarterfinal after he had defeated Staebler 6-6 in the pre-quarters.

At 82kg, Adlan AKIEV (RUS), who is participating in a European Championships after four years, reached the final against Radzik KULIYEU (BLR).

The finals of 60kg, 67kg, 72kg, 82kg, and 97kg will be held on Sunday, the final day of the 2021 senior European Championships in Warsaw.

Greco-Roman Finals Matches

GOLD - Sergey EMELIN (RUS) vs. Kerem KAMAL (TUR)

SEMIFINAL - Sergey EMELIN (RUS) df. Razvan ARNAUT (ROU), 9-0

GOLD - Mateusz BERNATEK (POL) vs. Mate NEMES (SRB)

SEMIFINAL - Mate NEMES (SRB) df. Murat FIRAT (TUR), 3-3

GOLD - Shmagi BOLKVADZE (GEO) vs. Malkhas AMOYAN (ARM)

SEMIFINAL - Shmagi BOLKVADZE (GEO) df. Robert Attila FRITSCH (HUN), 3-1

GOLD - Adlan AKIEV (RUS) vs. Radzik KULIYEU (BLR)

SEMIFINAL - Adlan AKIEV (RUS) df. Aivengo RIKADZE (GEO), 6-1
SEMIFINAL - Radzik KULIYEU (BLR) df. Rajbek Alvievich BISULTANOV (DEN), 1-1

GOLD - Musa EVLOEV (RUS) vs. Balazs KISS (HUN)

SEMIFINAL - Balazs KISS (HUN) df. Mikalai STADUB (BLR), 3-1

Tamas LORINCZ (HUN) Senior European Championships 2021
Tamas LORINCZ (HUN) won his fourth European title on Saturday. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Greco-Roman Medal Bouts Day 6


BRONZE - Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE) df. Fabian SCHMITT (GER), 8-0
BRONZE - Rudik MKRTCHYAN (ARM) df. Artsiom KATSAR (BLR), 8-0

GOLD - Zhambolat LOKYAEV (RUS) df. Taleh MAMMADOV (AZE), 5-0

BRONZE - Leri ABULADZE (GEO) df. Mihai Radu MIHUT (ROU), 9-1
BRONZE - Aleksandrs JURKJANS (LAT) df. Hrachya POGHOSYAN (ARM), 7-5

GOLD - Tamas LORINCZ (HUN) df. Yunus Emre BASAR (TUR), 6-0

BRONZE - Antonio KAMENJASEVIC (CRO) df. Michael Felix WIDMAYER (GER), 5-1


BRONZE - Milad Valerikovitch ALIRZAEV (RUS) df. Turpan Ali Alvievich BISULTANOV (DEN), 8-1
BRONZE - Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) df. Denis Maksymilian KUDLA (GER), 1-1

GOLD -Riza KAYAALP (TUR) df. Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO), 3-1

BRONZE - Eduard POPP (GER) df. Oleksandr CHERNETSKYY (UKR), 2-1


Saravi Dominates #WrestleWarsaw to Claim Spot on Iran Olympic Team

By Vinay Siwach

WARSAW, Poland (June 13) --- After the 97kg Greco-Roman final, Mehdi BALIHAMZEHDEH (IRI) went up to the judge to seek answers. His actions were justified as he had not only lost the gold medal to compatriot Mohammadhadi SARAVI (IRI) but also the opportunity to represent Iran at the Tokyo Olympics.

Iran, treating the Poland Open as the selection trial for Tokyo Games, had entered the two and on Sunday, they dominated the field and reached the final. This was the last category that was undecided for Iran after three freestyle and one Greco-Roman class finalized in Warsaw.


Poland Open

They had to wait till the end of the day as it was the final bout and then more as both Iran wrestlers had mistakenly wore opposite singlets. 50 seconds into the bout they changed the singlets and resumed the bout. Saravi got the advantage of Balihamzehdeh being passive in the first period and he got an exposure to lead 3-0.

Balihamzehdeh was hoping that Saravi will be warned for inactivity as well but that did not happen as the latter kept on the pressure throughout the period. It ended 3-0 in favour of Saravi, completing the Iran team for the upcoming Games.

His gold medal also pushes him to third position in the Tokyo seeding as he collected 16 points. His total of 52 points takes him ahead of Cenk ILDEM (TUR) who is now out of the seeding.

Tadeusz MICHALIK (POL) finished fifth in Warsaw and collected 10 points for a total of 42 to edge past Ildem by a point.

There was no other major shuffle in the Olympic seedings for the weight classes that were in action on Sunday.

At 87kg, veteran Uzbek wrestler Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB) won a bronze medal to collect 12 points but that doesn't change his third position in the seedings.


The gold medal was captured but he upcoming star and two-time U23 world champion Semen NAVIKOV (UKR). In the final, he defeated Istvan TAKACS (HUN) 2-1 with all points scored on referees call.

Takacs had earlier stopped Rio Olympic bronze medalist Assakalov's run in the tournament with a 2-1 win in the semifinal. The Uzbek then came back in the bronze medal bout against Arkadiusz KULYNYCZ (POL) with a big fall.

The next big thing in Ukrainian wrestling Navikov will not be at the Olympics as another star wrestler Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) is scheduled to wrestle in the Japanese capital city.

In the remaining three weight categories, hosts Poland captured two gold medals while the third went to Uzbekistan.

Michal TRACZ (POL) wrestled Ekrem OZTURK (TUR) in the 60kg final and held on for 3-2 win for his home country. In the nordic style bracket, he won two bouts to reach the semifinal in which he came out on top against Mukhammadkodir YUSUPOV (UZB) 3-2.

Ozturk had a back-and-forth semifinal against Olivier SKRZYPCZAK (POL) as the two scored 26 points in the stipulated six minutes. In the end, Ozturk won 15-11 to reach the final.

Gevorg SAHAKYAN (POL) won the second gold medal for Poland as he defeated Mirzobek RAKHMATOV (UZB) 4-3 in the 72kg final.

The Pole had some tough bouts throughout the day as he began with a 3-1 win against Krisztian VANCZA (HUN) 3-1 before pulling through a 1-1 win against compatriot Roman PACURKOWSKI (POL).

From the other side, Rakhmatov defeated Juan AAK (NOR) 9-0 in the qualification before clinching a 7-0 win over Mateusz BERNATEK (POL) in the quarterfinal. He had a tough one against Cengiz ARSLAN (TUR) in the semifinal but managed to pull off 5-4.

Uzbekistan did get it's gold medal on Sunday as five-time ranking series finalist Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) managed to hang on and defeat Ayata SUZUKI (JPN) 5-3 in the 63kg final. Suzuki was awarded a point for Bakhramov's passivity and he later got an exposure from par terre to lead 3-0. But Bakhramov reversed it and completed a head-pinch to make it 3-2.

In the second period, he got the point for Suzuki's inactivity and then exposed him from the par terre position to lead 5-3. The Japanese did try quite a few arm throws but failed to get any points.

From Japan, world champion Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) was also scheduled to make the Poland trip but pulled out at the last moment due to unforeseen circumstances. Fumita has now not competed internationally since winning the gold medal at the Asian Championships in New Delhi in February, 2020.

Poland Open 63kg


GOLD: Michal TRACZ (POL) df Ekrem OZTURK (TUR), 3-2
BRONZE: Mukhammadkodir YUSUPOV (UZB) df Olivier SKRZYPCZAK (POL), 10-2

GOLD: Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) df. Ayata SUZUKI (JPN), 5-3
BRONZE: Christopher KRAEMER (GER) df. Artor HAGERUP (NOR), via fall
BRONZE: Krisztian KECSKEMETI (HUN) df. Mairbek SALIMOV (POL), 4-0

GOLD: Gevorg SAHAKYAN (POL) df. Mirzobek RAKHMATOV (UZB), 4-3
BRONZE: Cengiz ARSLAN (TUR) df. Juan AAK (NOR), 2-1
BRONZE: Krisztian VANCZA (HUN) df. Roman PACURKOWSKI (POL), 3-1

GOLD: Semen NOVIKOV (UKR) df. Istvan TAKACS (HUN), 2-1
BRONZE: Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB) df. Arkadiusz KULYNYCZ (POL), via fall
BRONZE: Metehan BASAR (TUR) df. Bachir SID AZARA (ALG), 1-1

GOLD: Mohammadhadi SARAVI (IRI) df. Mehdi BALIHAMZEHDEH (IRI), 3-0
BRONZE: Islam ABBASOV (AZE) df. Gerard Cyprian KURNICZAK (POL), 4-0