Kayaalp Wins Historic Ninth European Title; Russia Leads Azerbaijan by 34 Points

By Eric Olanowski

BUCHAREST, Romania (April 13) – Turkey’s Riza KAYAALP authored a new page in the Turkish wrestling history books on Saturday night by winning his ninth European title. Kayaalp entered the night tied with Hamza YERLIKAYA, who also had eight European titles, but surpassed Yerlikaya with his Day 6 win at the Polyvalent Hall in Bucharest, Romania.

In his 130kg gold-medal bout, Kayaalp scored three points from a stepout and a takedown to defeat Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO), 3-0. 

Meanwhile, Vitalii KABALOEV, Stepan MARYANYAN, and Roman VLASOV circled the mat with the Russian flag draped above their head after wrapping up their Greco-Roman gold-medals matches early. Their trio of Saturday night gold medals gave the Russian Federation the 34 point lead over Azerbaijan heading into the final day of wrestling. 

Kabaloev and Vlasov both ended their matches with opening period falls, while Maryanyan picked up the technical superior win in his gold-medal match.  

In the 55kg finals, Kabaloev poured it on Romania’s Florin TITA and picked up the fall in the opening period. Before the throw that ended the match, the Russian scored a takedown, inactivity point, followed by a pair of two-point gut wrenches, and commanded the 7-0 lead before throwing his Romanian opponent to his back for the fall to win his first continental title. 

Roman Vlasov also ended his finals match by a fall in the opening period. In the 77kg gold-medal bout, Vlasov scored two four-point throws, then planted Germany’s Roland SCHWARZ on his back and won his fourth European title. 

In the 63kg finals, defending world champion Maryanyan blew through Rio Olympic bronze medalist Stig-Andre BERGE (NOR), 9-1, and won his second European title, but first since 2015. 

Maryanyan scored an inactivity point and a pair of gut wrenches and held onto the 5-1 lead before capping off his run to a gold medal with a four-point throw. 

The final gold medal of the night went to Ukraine’s Zhan BELENIUK. The second-ranked wrestler in the world at 87kg was the second non-Russian wrestler to reach the top of the podium and claim a gold medal on Day 6. In the finals, Beleniuk picked up a stepout and exposed Islam ABBASOV (AZE) using a four-point head pinch to grab his third European title with the 5-1 victory. 

The finals day of wrestling at the 2019 European Championships begins at 18:00 local time, and can be followed live on www.unitedworldwrestling.org

Team Scores
GOLD - Russia (92 points) 

SILVER - Azerbaijan (58 points)
BRONZE -  Germany (50 points)
Fourth -Turkey (47 points)
Fifth - Georgia (41 points)

GOLD - Vitalii KABALOEV (RUS) df. Florin TITA (ROU), via fall
BRONZE - Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE) df. Serif KILIC (TUR), 8-0 
BRONZE - Fabian SCHMITT (GER) df. Anders ROENNINGEN (NOR), 2-1

GOLD - Stepan MARYANYAN (RUS) df. Stig-Andre BERGE (NOR), 9-0 
BRONZE - Taleh MAMMADOV (AZE) df. Slavik GALSTYAN (ARM), 6-2
BRONZE - Levani KAVJARADZE (GEO) df. Michal Jacek TRACZ (POL), 5-2

GOLD - Roman VLASOV (RUS) df. Roland SCHWARZ (GER), via fall
BRONZE - Viktor NEMES (SRB) df. Fatih CENGIZ (TUR), 3-1 

GOLD - Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) df. Islam ABBASOV (AZE), 5-1 
BRONZE - Denis KUDLA (GER) df. Mikalai STADUB (BLR), 3-1 

GOLD - Riza KAYAALP (TUR) df. Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO), 3-0 
BRONZE - Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) df. Tuomas LAHTI (FIN), 4-0 


Moldova’s Ciobanu and Denmark’s Bisultanov Make History at European C’Ships

By Eric Olanowski

BUCHAREST, Romania (April 14) – Moldova’s Victor CIOBANU and Denmark’s Rajbek BISULTANOV reached the top of the European championship podium and made history for their countries on the closing day of the wrestling in Bucharest. 

In the 60kg finals, Victor Ciobanu pulled off perhaps the biggest upset of these European Championships, defeating defending world and European champion Sergey EMELIN (RUS), 5-5, on criteria, and became the first-ever Moldovan Greco-Roman European champion.  

The Moldovan caught the Russian off balance in the opening period, capitalizing on a four-point offensive maneuver, and took the 4-0 lead into the second period. In the final period, the Russian fired back and gained the 5-4 lead, but a late stepout handed the Moldovan wrestler the 5-5 criteria advantage, and ultimately his nations first continental title.

And in the 82kg finals, Rajbek Bisultanov ended Denmark’s 93-year drought without a European gold medal, becoming the first wrestler from his nation to circle the mat with a Danish flag since Johannes JACOBSEN did so at the Riga European title in 1926. 

Bisultanov fell behind 1-0 to Georgia’s Lasha GOBADZE (GEO), but scored two exposure points and a takedown, ending the opening frame with a 4-1 lead. In the closing period, the Danish wrestler was dinged for a caution-and-two but held on to win 4-3. 

Meanwhile, Abuiazid MANTSIGOV and Musa EVLOEV capped off the 2019 European Championships with individual gold medals, bringing their overall total to five golds, and helping the Russian Federation repeat as Greco-Roman team champions, 60 points ahead of second-place Turkey. 

Russia, who entered Day 7 with a 34 point lead, extended their lead on the final day with their two champions, a second place finish from Sergey Emelin, and bronze medal wins from Artem SURKOV and Aleksandr KOMAROV.

In total, Russia closed out the European Championships with medals in nine of ten weight classes. They had five champions, a second-place finisher, and three bronze medal winners. 

Turkey, who finished in second place with 132 points, finished the day with a solo champion, a runner-up finish from Cengiz ARSLAN, and bronze medal finishes from Kerem KAMAL and Emrah KUS. 

Turkey’s Day 7 champion, Atakan YUKSEL, gave his country their second gold medal of the weekend. Yuksel trailed for four and a half minutes but picked up an inactivity point, followed by a pair of exposures to win, 5-1, against Poland’s Gevorg SAHAKYAN. 

Azerbaijan (76 points), Germany (72 points), and Georgia (71 points) rounded out the top-five team finishers at the 2019 European Championships. 

GOLD - Russia  (192 points)
SILVER - Turkey (132 points)
BRONZE - Azerbaijan (76 points)
Fourth - Germany (72 points)  
Fifth - Georgia (71 points) 

GOLD - Victor CIOBANU (MDA) df. Sergey EMELIN (RUS), 5-5 
BRONZE - Kerem KAMAL (TUR) df. Virgil MUNTEANU (ROU), 4-1  

GOLD - Atakan YUKSEL (TUR) df. Gevorg SAHAKYAN (POL), 5-1 
BRONZE - Artem SURKOV (RUS) df. Sachino DAVITAIA (GEO), 2-1
BRONZE - Karen ASLANYAN (ARM) df. Mate NEMES (SRB), 4-2 

GOLD - Abuiazid MANTSIGOV (RUS) vs. Cengiz ARSLAN (TUR), 9-6
BRONZE - Dominik ETLINGER (CRO) df. Hrant KALACHYAN (ARM), 4-3

GOLD - Rajbek BISULTANOV (DEN) df. Lasha GOBADZE (GEO), 4-3 
BRONZE - Emrah KUS (TUR) df. Hannes WAGNER (GER), 2-1 
BRONZE - Aleksandr KOMAROV (RUS) df. Vili Tapio ROPPONEN (FIN), 8-0 

GOLD - Musa EVLOEV (RUS) df. Kiril Milenov MILOV (BUL), 8-0 
BRONZE - Matti KUOSMANEN (FIN) df. Orkhan NURIYEV (AZE) , 3-2
BRONZE - Daigoro TIMONCINI (ITA) df. Fatih BASKOY (TUR), 2-1