Punia Wins in First-Day Finale, Five Countries Share the Gold in Cadet Worlds Freestyle

By William May

TBILISI (September 17) – Asian cadet silver medalist Deepak PUNIA (IND) capped the first day of freestyle competition at the Cadet Wrestling World Championships with an 9-5 win over Nail SEYYAR (TUR) on Saturday.

Punia broke open the match knotted 4-4 after two minutes with a pair of step-out points and a throw-by to takedown on his way to a 9-5 victory over the 2015 world bronze medalist at Tbilisi Sports Palace.

Punia, who was the fifth wrestler from a different country to win a gold medal Saturday evening, adds the cadet world crown to the Asian junior title he won in May.

The other gold medal winners were Kurt McHENRY (USA) at 42kg, Petr KOPYLOV (RUS) at 50kg, Amirhossein MAGHSOUDI (IRI) at 58kg and Abubakr ABAKAROV (AZE) at 69kg.

McHenry got the evening going by breaking out into a 4-0 lead over Mahir MAMMAZADA (AZE) early in the 42kg final, only to see it fade into a 4-4 tie with the European champion holding the tie-break advantage.

With only seconds remaining in the bout and Mammazada hanging onto his leg, McHenry grabbed his opponent’s leg and flipped him over onto his back for a 2-1 exchange and – after a challenge and video review – a 7-5 victory.

At 50kg, Petr KOPYLOV (RUS) scored a pair of takedowns in the second period to hold onto an 8-5 win while holding off a second-period surge from Amir PARASTEH (IRI), a bronze medal winner last year in Sarajevo.

At 58kg, Amirhossein MAGHSOUDI (IRI) was forced to come from behind twice against Vitali ARUJAU (USA), but a four-point takedown to the back midway through the second period propelled him to a 12-8 victory.

At 65kg, European bronze medalist Abubakr ABAKAROV (AZE) needed three takedowns in the second period, with the last one securing a 6-3 win over Sajjad GHOLAMI (IRI).

In the team standings after the first day, the United States is the leader by a point with 38 points with a gold, silver and two bronze medals, with Russia second at 37, with a gold medal and three bronze medals.  Iran is two more points back with a gold and two silver medals.

The championships conclude Sunday with the final five weight categories in freestyle on tap.


42kg (16 entries)

Gold – Kurt McHENRY (USA) df. Mahir MAMMADZADA (AZE), 7-5
Bronze – Giorgi GEGELASHVILI (GEO) df. Abdymalik KARACHOV (KGZ) by Fall, 3:54 (6-3)

Semifinal – Mahir MAMMADZADA (AZE) df. Giorgi GEGELASHVILI (GEO) by Fall, 3:35 (13-4)
Semifinal – Kurt McHENRY (USA) df. Magomed ABDURAKHMANOV (RUS) by TF, 11-0, 2:29

50kg (20 entries)

Gold – Petr KOPYLOV (RUS) df. Amir PARASTEH (IRI), 8-5
Bronze – Engin CETIN (TUR) df. Asgar MAMMADALIEV (AZE), 7-0
Bronze – Tornike KATAMADZE (GEO) df. Daigo HATTORI (JPN), 8-6

Semifinal – Amir PARASTEH (IRI) df. Asgar MAMMADALIEV (AZE), 7-1
Semifinal – Petr KOPYLOV (RUS) df. Daigo HATTORI (JPN), 4-2

58kg (22 entries)

Gold – Amirhossein MAGHSOUDI (IRI) df. Vitali ARUJAU (USA), 12-8
Bronze – Denys BOROHAN (UKR) df. Ryuto SAKAKI (JPN), 3-3
Bronze – Vadim BIKOEV (RUS) df. Giorgi ELBAKIDZE (GEO), 11-8

Semifinal – Vitali ARUJAU (USA) df. Denys BOROHAN (UKR) by TF, 10-0, 2:50
Semifinal – Amirhossein MAGHSOUDI (IRI) df. Giorgi ELBAKIDZE (GEO), 4-1

69kg (23 entries)

Gold – Abubakr ABAKAROV (AZE) df. Sajjad GHOLAMI (IRI), 6-3
Bronze – David CARR (USA) df. Gegham GALSTYAN (ARM), 7-2
Bronze – Dogukan KALAYCI (TUR) df. Yuto IZUTSU (JPN), 11-10

Semifinal – Sajjad Saberali GHOLAMI (IRI) df. David CARR (USA), 8-8
Semifinal – Abubakr ABAKAROV (AZE) df. Yuto IZUTSU (JPN) by TF, 10-0, 1:09

85kg (20 entries)

Gold – Deepak PUNIA (IND) df. Nail SEYYAR (TUR), 9-5
Bronze – Alik SHEBZHUKOV (RUS) df. Mher MARKOSYAN (ARM), 5-0
Bronze – Jacob WARNER (USA) df. Jakub SZYMULA (POL) by TF, 11-0, 2:43

Semifinal – Nail SEYYAR (TUR) df. Alik SHEBZHUKOV (RUS), 4-1
Semifinal – Deepak PUNIA (IND) df. Jakub SZYMULA (POL) by TF, 10-0, 3:06