Kudla, Gobadze, Other Favorites Tumble on Final Day of European U23 C’ships

By William May

SZOMBATHELY, Hungary (April 2) – Rio 2016 bronze medalist Denis KUDLA (GER) and two-time defending champion Lasha GOBADZE (GEO) were stung with losses Sunday, the final day of the European Under-23 Wrestling Championships.

Kudla fell to Zakarias BERG (SWE), 2-1, in the 85kg semifinals at Arena Savaria while Gobadze, who was seeking his third U23 title, was tripped up in middleweight quarterfinals, 6-5, by Ruslan YUSUPOV (RUS).

Yusupov and Berg will square off for the gold medal at 85kg in Sunday evening’s bouts, when the medal winners in the final four weight categories of the championships will be decided.

Kudla and Gobadze, meanwhile, will both wrestle in the bronze medal finals – Kudla taking on 2016 U23 champion Erik SZILVASSY (HUN) and Gobadze meeting last year’s runner-up Yoan DIMITROV (BUL).

Zviadi PATARIDZE (GEO), a two-time cadet and junior world champion, also came up short in his bid for a U23 crown, falling to last year’s U23 bronze medalist Mantas KNYSTAUTAS (LTU) in the 130kg semifinals.

Knystautas, a former world and European silver medalist, squares off with Osman YILDIRIM (TUR), the junior world silver medalist behind Pataridze last year, in the Greco-Roman finale.

Also, Roman PACURKOWSKI (POL) hopes to continue his earlier success this year – a bronze medal at the Paris Grand Prix and silver at the regional Thor Masters -- when he meets 2015 junior European bronze medalist Aslan VISAITOV (RUS) at 66kg.

At 75kg, 2016 silver medalist at 71kg Antonio KAMENJASEVIC (CRO) seeks to move up to gold facing European junior champion Zoltan LEVAI (HUN) in the final. Levai has won bronze medals at the first two U23 championships.

Medal Match Pairings and Semifinal Results


66kg (24 entries)
Bronze – Tihomir DIMITROV (BUL) v Aleksandrs JURKJANS (LAT)
Bronze – Sebastian NAD (SRB) v Sergey KOZUB (UKR)

Semifinal – Roman PACURKOWSKI (POL) df. Aleksandrs JURKJANS (LAT) by Fall, 1:15 (5-0)
Semifinal – Aslan VISAITOV (RUS) df. Sergey KOZUB (UKR), 5-2

75kg (22 entries)
Gold – Antonio KAMENJASEVIC (CRO) v Zoltan LEVAI (HUN)
Bronze – Pavlo MOLNAR (UKR) v Timur BERDIEV (BLR)
Bronze – George Vlad MARIEA (ROU) v Akhmed KAYTSUKOV (RUS)

Semifinal – Antonio KAMENJASEVIC (CRO) df. Timur BERDIEV (BLR), 5-2
Semifinal – Zoltan LEVAI (HUN) df. Akhmed KAYTSUKOV (RUS), 5-0

85kg (17 entries)
Gold – Ruslan YUSUPOV (RUS) v Zakarias BERG (SWE)
Bronze – Lasha GOBADZE (GEO) v Yoan DIMITROV (BUL)
Bronze – Erik SZILVASSY (HUN) v Denis KUDLA (GER)

Semifinal – Ruslan YUSUPOV (RUS) df. Yoan DIMITROV (BUL) by Fall, 0:41 (4-0)
Semifinal – Zakarias BERG (SWE) df. Denis KUDLA (GER), 2-1

130kg (17 entries)
Bronze – Oskar MARVIK (NOR) v Jello KRAHMER (GER)
Bronze – Artur VITITIN (EST) v Zviadi PATARIDZE (GEO)

Semifinal – Osman YILDIRIM (TUR) df. Jello KRAHMER (GER) by TF, 9-1, 1:57
Semifinal – Mantas KNYSTAUTAS (LTU) df. Zviadi PATARIDZE (GEO) by Fall, 5:30 (9-4)