Live Blog: World Championships, Day 7

By Ken Marantz & Vinay Siwach

BELGRADE, Serbia (September 16) -- The World Championships enter day seven with three freestyle weight classes. Defending world champions in all three weights are wrestling in Belgrade. Thomas GILLMAN (USA) at 57kg, Kyle DAKE (USA) at 74kg and Kamran GHASEMPOUR (IRI) at 97kg are in action.


The semifinals are set

Thomas GILMAN (USA) vs. Wanhao ZOU (CHN)
Stevan MICIC (SRB) vs. Zelimkhan ABAKAROV (ALB)

Kyle DAKE (USA) vs. Yones EMAMI (IRI)


14:09: Tajmuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK) goes ahead with a stepout in the second period, then clinches the win with a takedown at the edge to beat Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) 4-1 to advance to the 74kg semifinals.

14:05: Younes EMAMI (IRI) begins with a spin for four over Turan BAYRAMOV (AZE). He moves to defensive mode but Bayramov pulls off an arm spin but only for two. He challenges but lost challenge. Bayramov with two more but he trails 5-4. Emami with a stepout and a late takedown for an 8-4.

14:05: Frank CHAMIZO (ITA), chasing his third world and first since 2017, cuts it close once again but he's into the 74kg semifinals with a 6-3 win over Hetik CABOLOV (SRB). Cabolov ties up the legs to score a takedown to go up 3-1 a minute into the second period, but Chamizo reverses for a point. Back on their feet, Chamizo spins behind to take the lead 4-3 with :50 left. Cabolov has a chance to win it when he gets in on a single and lifts the leg in the air, but Chamizo not only defends, he gets a 2-point exposure.

13:57: How about that from Kyle DAKE (USA)! A huge body lock and he throws Sagar JAGLAN (IND) for a huge five. He gets the fall and a place in the 74kg semifinals.

13:53: He had to wrestle the full six minutes but Kamran GHASEMPOUR (IRI) never looked in trouble. He confirms his place in the 92kg semifinals with a 7-2 win over Ahmed BATAEV (BUL).

13:52: The two bronze medalists at 92kg a year ago in Oslo will square off later tonight for a place in the final after both Osman NURMAGOMEDOV (AZE) and J'den COX (USA) won their quarterfinals by 11-0 technical fall. Nurmagomedov finished off his rout with a takedown and four rolls off the lace lock, while Cox used a takedown and gut wrench.

13:50: Miriani MAISURADZE (GEO) gave up two points to Adilet DAVLUMBAYEV (KAZ) but he rolls into the semifinals with a 12-2 technical superiority.

13:43: Local favorite Stevan MICIC (SRB) spends the first period fending off low single attempts by Toshihiro HASEGAWA (JPN), who only gets an activity point for his effort. Micic spins behind for a takedown in the second period, then twists the Japanese down for 4. An unsuccessful challenge gives Micic a 7-1.

13:41: Zelimkhan ABAKAROV (ALB) starts his 57kg quarterfinal by lifting Gulomjon ABDULLAEV (UZB) up high for a 4-point takedown. He ends it with a takedown and three rolls off the lock for a 13-2 technical fall.

13:40: Thomas GILMAN (USA) is up against Zanabazar ZANDANBUD (MGL) and he is up 4-0 with two takedowns. Gilman gives up a point in the second period. He moves into the semifinals with a 5-1.

13:33: 57kg quarterfinals with Darian CRUZ (PUR) and former U23 world bronze medalist Wanhao ZOU (CHN). Cruz is called passive and Zou has a 1-0 lead. In the second period, Cruz gets the point for Zou's passivity. He leads 1-1 on criteria. Zou with a takedown with 16 seconds remaining. He wins the quarterfinal 3-1.

13:26: Tajmuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK), holding the lead on criteria, scores a takedown with :12 left to clinch a 3-1 victory over Daichi TAKATANI (JPN) and fill the final quarterfinal spot at 74kg.

13:06: Only a few matches on Mat A to finish up before the start of the quarterfinals, in which all of the matches in each weight are started concurrently. Meanwhile, Feyzullah AKTURK (TUR) fills the final last-8 spot at 92kg with an 8-0 win over Simone IANNATTONI (ITA). Still two matches at 74kg to go.

12:57: Miriani MAISURADZE (GEO), holding the criteria advantage, prevents Sohsuke TAKATANI (JPN) from finishing off a deep takedown in the final seconds of their match at 92kg, and manages to keep his whizzer and a knee down as they go out of bounds with :01 left. The Japanese side challenges, but the call of no point is confirmed, giving Maisuradze a 2-1 and a place in the quarterfinals.

12:51: Osman NURMAGOMEDOV (AZE), a bronze medalist a year ago in Oslo at 92kg and the world U23 champion, gets a quick takedown and a pair of gut wrenches against Maxwell LACEY (CRC). Back on his feet, Nurmagomedov spins behind for a takedown, then a quick roll and it's over at 10-0 at 2:14 and he's into the quarterfinals.

12:47: Sagar JAGLAN (IND), a bronze medalist from world U20 in Sofia, picks up another technical superiority win against Diego SANDOVAL (MEX). He will now face Kyle DAKE (USA) in the quarterfinal.

12:38: Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) continues to play with fire. After leading 5-0 against Seungbong LEE (KOR), he gives up four points. A takedown helps him lead 7-4 before he wins 11-4

12:33: Gulomjon ABDULLAEV (UZB), who finished 7th at the Tokyo Olympics, just knocked off the silver medalist, Ravi DAHIYA (IND), and in a dominant fashion. Abdullaev scores exposure points when Dahiya tried to counter by coming over the top and finishes off a 10-0 technical fall with his third takedown of the match.

12:33: Kyle DAKE (USA) with a workman-like technical superiority win on Mat C against Suldkhuu OLONBAYAR (MGL). Dake's big attacks are working well and he is now into the quarterfinals.

12:30: On Mat D, Toshihiro HASEGAWA (JPN) keeps Beka BUJIASHVILI (GEO) on his toes with his constant attacks. But Bujiashvili also defends well. A scramble gives them two each with Hasegawa leading 4-2. He ultimately wins 8-2.

12:27: Returning silver medalist Tajmuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK), who won his second straight European gold earlier this year, dumps Cesar BORDEAUX (BRA) for a second 4-point takedown of the match to finish off a 12-0 technical fall at 74kg.

12:20: Minutes after Ghasempour won his bout, J'den COX (USA) comes on the mat against Yuxiang BI (CHN). He gets the grand amplitude throw for five and guts to win 10-0.

12:17: Kamran GHASEMPOUR (IRI) comes out blazing against  Adlan VISKHANOV (FRA) and is up 7-0 in no time. He continues his quick attacks and wins 10-0 inside the first period.

12:15: Reigning world champion Thomas GILMAN (USA) up against Georgii OKOROKOV (AUS) and he dumps him for a four and then adds a stepout. Okorokov does well to keep Gilman quiet for a long time but he ultimately goes down 11-0.

12:13: Asian bronze medalist Daichi TAKATANI (JPN) rallies for a stunning 6-6 victory over Asian silver medalist Nurkozha KAIPANOV (KAZ) at 74kg. Trailing 6-0 in the second period, Takatani constantly fights off Kaipanov's counter lifts to score the three takedowns he needs, with the third and final one coming with :01 on the clock! It's quite a scalp for Takatani, as Kaipanov is a two-time Asian champion and was a world silver medalist at 70kg in 2019.

12:12: Stevan MICIC (SRB) began slowly with just a takedown in the first period. But he unleashes a leg lace in the second period and secures a 12-1 win over Rakhat KALZHAN (KAZ)

12:06: Zanabazar ZANDANBUD (MGL) gets a fall over former U20 world champion silver medalist Muhammet KARAVUS (TUR) at 57kg. Uses a cradle to get the pin.

12:02: Hetik CABOLOV (SRB), who won world silver in 2017, gets a 4-point takedown en route to a 10-0 technical fall for the home team over Kamil RYBICKI (POL) at 74kg.

11:56: Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR) gives no chance to Asomiddin HASANOV (UZB) and moves into the 1/8 finals with a 10-0 technical superiority at 74kg.

11:50: Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) may have underestimated his opening bout opponent Giorgi SULAVA (GEO). The Georgian raced to a 6-0 lead before Chamizo got a takedown and three exposures to lead 8-6. Sulava did score another takedown but Chamizo managed to scrape through for a 12-8 win.

11:38: Defending world champion Kyle DAKE (USA) with his big moves against Islambek OROZBEKOV (KGZ) and he starts with a 10-0 at 74kg. He is followed by Younes EMAMI (IRI) who wins 10-0 against Enrique PEREZ (GUA) in one minute.

11:37: Sohsuke TAKATANI (JPN), who won a 2014 bronze medal at 74kg, is now wrestling at 92kg, and opened with a 10-0 technical fall over Jinmyeong KIM (KOR). Takatani competed in his third Olympics in Tokyo at 86kg. His younger brother Daichi is entered in his old weight class of 74kg.

11:30: Asian champion and Olympic silver medalist Ravi DAHIYA (IND), looking to become just the second world freestyle champion in Indian history, overwhelms Razvan KOVACS (ROU) at 57kg with a 10-0 technical fall.

11:25: Vicky HOODA (IND) must be kicking himself. He had a 3-0 lead for the longest time but Radoslaw MARCINKIEWICZ (POL) scored four points in the final minute to win the 92kg bout 4-3.

11:18: Gulomjon ABDULLAEV (UZB) was made to work a little but he wins 11-0 against Diamantino FAFE (GBS) at 57kg.

11:14: Toshihiro HASEGAWA (JPN) and Kamil KERYMOV (UKR) showing the quality at 57kg. Hasegawa got a 10-4 lead with his quirky style but Kerymov got a headlock for four. Hasegawa survived the pin but could not remain at the same level and Hasegawa wins 16-9.

11:13: The horn-honking and chanting from the Iranian fans begins long before 2021 silver medalist Alireza SARLAK (IRI) takes the mat against Wanhou ZOU (CHN) at 57kg, but the Chinese spoils the fun with a dramatic 6-2 win. Just as Sarlak is receiving an activity point to go ahead 2-1, Zou scores a takedown with :30 left. In a last-second scramble, Sarlak goes for the counter lift, but it's Zou who scores an exposure.

11:07: European champion Vladimir EGOROV (MKD) repeats his victory from the semifinals in Budapest over Manvel KHNDZRTSYAN (ARM), but has a much harder time than that 10-0 win in June. He barely grapevines his leg in for a takedown in the final seconds for a 7-5 win.

11:05: Reineri ORTEGA (CUB) warms up with an 11-0 technical superiority over Jakobo TAU (RSA) and he moves into the 1/8 finals.

11:00: U23 world champion  Aliabbas RZAZADE (AZE) was looking for the fall against Sunggwon KIM (KOR) in at 57kg but Kim survives that. But he can't stop Rzazade from winning the bout 4-4 on criteria. Kim had a stepout and passivity while Rzazade had two takedowns.

10:55: Franklin MAREN (CUB), a world bronze medalist in 2018, loses 12-2 to  Zielimkhan TOHUZOV (UKR) in the qualification round at 74kg. Tohuzov executes a beautiful fireman's carry for 4. After Maren responds with takedown, Tohuzov gets a takedown and rolls back-and-forth for the win. With 34 entries in the weight class, Tohuzov will have to win three more times just to make tonight's semifinals.

10:29: Hello from the Stark Arena in Belgrade for the morning session of Day 8. Competition continues in freestyle with the qualification rounds through the quarterfinals at 57kg, 74kg and 92kg. Enjoy!


Wrestling scores big at World C'ships with 706 percent jump in engagements

By United World Wrestling Press

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (October 4) -- Wrestling scored big both on and off the mat during this year’s UWW World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, recording a staggering growth in viewership and engagement numbers digitally. Fans watched twenty-seven million minutes, close to 10 million page views on the mobile app, and a massive 706 percent jump in social media engagements in the last year.

The 2022 edition of the UWW’s flagship event, held September 10-18 was the first digitally-focussed World Championships. Special emphasis was laid on providing a high-quality fan experience that was easy to navigate and, at the same time, engaging to follow on the website, app, and various social media platforms. And the athleticism of the wrestlers drove the digital consumption, with wrestling recording impressive numbers across all platforms.

"The latest numbers from the World Championships show the importance of digitalization and with the current times, UWW is moving into the digital era," Nenad LALOVIC, UWW President, said. "The growth is reflected by the increased engagement across UWW’s new digital platforms and social media channels. This year's World Championships and the millions of fans who watched, interacted, or helped us grow, have laid the foundation for expanding the federation's digital potential."

Be it the UWW website, mobile app, the new streaming hub, or social media platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, wrestling showed impressive year-on-year growth compared to last year’s World Championship on different metrics, such as social media growth, total views, total minutes and time spent on the web.

“We made the digital jump during these World Championships and the results validated our initial projections that now was the time more than ever to invest into a more robust digital experience across UWW platforms,” Gordon Templeman, UWW Commercial and Communications Director said. “There was tremendous benefit from a consolidation of tools that are more interconnected than ever before. We made an initial push in a short period of time and are optimistic for continued growth.”

Key highlights from the data analysis are:

* 27 million minutes were watched during the World Championship on the new video streaming hub, which gave the fans control of the viewing experience due to its multi-view option;

* The new UWW mobile app received 9.77 million page views and an average of 13 minutes and 46 seconds per session were spent, which is roughly equivalent to one bout. The high numbers meant the app topped the sports categories in app stores in key UWW markets;

* The total social media engagements surpassed 6.2 million in September, up by 706 percent since the 2021 World Championships.

Apart from these, the average time spent on the website grew by 41 percent to seven minutes, and the total page views across the website and mobile app were recorded at close to 19 million.

"Data is key to delivering digital experiences that fans want," Hisham Shehabi, COO, N3XT Sports, said. "Therefore, a diverse digital ecosystem helps augment fan intelligence capability. With 500 social media posts, millions in streaming viewership, and increased overall engagement, UWW's ability to customize the user experience has grown."

The massive growth is a direct consequence of the path-breaking steps taken by the UWW in the last few years under the leadership of President Lalovic. The UWW has identified and prioritized digital transformation as one of the five pillars for its 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, which was presented and approved at the 2021 UWW Congress.

UWW has taken several steps aimed at improving the fan experience and increasing the value to its partners to become future-proof and modernize further. A new mobile app was launched along with a video hub, which offered features like the multi-functionality view during the live streaming. This is one of the best examples of fan-led design and development as this was in direct response to the fans’ behavior while streaming.

“We focused our efforts on digital tools that would improve the competition for our fans and those at the competition. Launching an App, developing a video hub and putting in motion an audience database was a challenge, but the World Championships were too big of an opportunity not to start in this new digital direction,” said Sebastien Guenat, UWW Director of IT.

The 2022 World Championships also helped the UWW to establish itself as a true media and entertainment content house, creating more than 500 posts during the World Championships for use across its channels.

All these initiatives have helped the UWW establish a direct relationship with the fans and expand the digital footprint, as evident from the latest figures.