Russia Closes Out Dominant Performance in Belgrade with 4 More FS Gold Medals

By United World Wrestling Press

Finals Highlights
Day 7 Photos
Interview with Vazgen TEVANYAN (ARM)

BELGRADE, Serbia (December 18) -- Russia made a triumphant return to the international wrestling stage with a dominant performance at the 2020 Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia. 

A day after winning four freestyle gold medals, Russia bagged four more freestyle gold medals on Friday to finish with eight of the ten freestyle gold medals. The eight gold medals put Russia firmly atop the freestyle team standings. Turkey finished in second place, 106 points behind Russia. 

Russia concluded the Individual World Cup with 24 medals overall, including 17 gold medals.  

Abasgadzhi MAGOMEDOV (61kg), Akhmed USMANOV (79kg), Dauren KURUGLIEV (86kg) and Abdulrashid SADULAEV (97kg) added to Russia's gold medal tally on the event's final day. 

Magomedov, a 2018 junior world champion, was the first Russian to compete for gold on Friday. He picked up a 5-1 over 2016 world bronze medalist Akhmednabi GVARZATILOV (AZE) in the 61kg final. Magomedov scored a takedown in each of the two periods, while holding the Azerbaijani wrestler to a single point off a reversal.

Akhmed USMANOV (RUS) gets a turn in the 79kg final (Photo: Gabor MARTIN, UWW)

Usmanov, a 2016 junior world silver medalist, cruised to an 11-0 technical superiority over Muhammet KOTANOGLU (TUR) in the 79kg final. The Russian scored an early takedown off a single leg before turning Kotanoglu twice to go up 6-0. Kotanoglu attempted a throw early in the second period, which Usmanov countered, scoring two points before turning the Turkish wrestler to close out the technical superiority.

Dauren KURUGLIEV (RUS) won the gold at 86kg (Photo: Kadir CALISKAN, UWW)

The 2017 European champion Kurugliev controlled Zbigniew BARANOWSKI (POL) 5-1 in the 86kg final. Kurugliev fired off a double leg in the first 10 seconds of the match and secured a takedown to go up 2-0. He extended his lead to 3-0 early in the second period after getting a step out. A short time later, Kurugliev was hit with a caution, giving Baranowski his first point. The score stayed 3-1 in favor of the Russian until the final 30 seconds when Baranowski attempted a shot, which Kurugliev countered for a takedown. 

Olympic champ Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) finished on top at 97kg (Photo: Gabor MARTIN, UWW)

Sadulaev, a Rio Olympic champion and four-time world champion, won by injury default as Aliaksandr HUSHTYN (BLR) was unable to compete in the 97kg final. The Russian Tank outscored his opponents 32-3 in Belgrade. 

Vazgen TEVANYAN (ARM) celebrates after winning the gold medal at 65kg (Photo: Kadir CALISKAN, UWW)

Vazgen TEVANYAN (ARM), a 2019 U23 European champion, captured gold at 65kg with a 9-1 win over 2019 world bronze medalist Iszmail MUSZUKAJEV (HUN). The Armenian used a late surge to help him earn the victory. The two wrestlers traded passivity points, with Muszukajev scoring the second one in the final period to take the lead on criteria. With under a minute remaining, Tevanyan fired off a shot to Muszukajev's left leg and secured a takedown to go up 3-1. He then locked up a gut wrench and turned Muszukajev three times to earn a decisive victory.

The bronze medals at 61kg went to Agustin DESTRIBATS (ARG) and Georgi VANGELOV (BUL). The 23-year-old Destribats, who already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics at 65kg, looked impressive in earning a 5-2 win over Razmik PAPIKYAN (ARM). Vangelov, a 2020 Yasar Dogu gold medalist at 57kg, scored late to edge Muhamad IKROMOV (TJK), 9-8.

Three-time world champion Haji ALIYEV (AZE) rebounded from a semifinal loss to Muszukajev to earn a bronze at 65kg with a 10-4 victory over Ilman MUKHTAROV (FRA). Hor OHANNESIAN (UKR) won the other bronze at 65kg with a comfortable 7-1 win over Nicolai GRAHMEZ (MDA).

Mahamedkhabib KADZIMAHAMEDAU (BLR) made quick work of Baliyan GOURAV (IND) in the first bronze-medal match at 79kg, earning a 14-1 technical superiority in the first period. After going up 10-1, Kadzimahamedau finished the match with a four-point move. Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR) held on to beat Akhsarbek GULAEV (SVK) 4-3 in the other bronze-medal match at 79kg.

Piotr IANULOV (MDA) topped world No.2 Deepak PUNIA (IND) 4-1 to earn a bronze at 86kg. The other bronze medal at 86kg went to Osman GOCEN (TUR), who defeated Taimuraz FRIEV NASKIDAEVA (ESP) 11-8.

Ahmed BATAEV (BUL) gave Bulgaria its second freestyle medalist by defeating Shamil ZUBAIROV (AZE) 8-1 in the first 97kg bronze-medal match. Suleyman KARADENIZ (TUR) edged Valerii ANDRIITSEV (UKR) 2-1 to win the other bronze at 97kg.

Freestyle Medal Match Results

GOLD: Abasgadzhi MAGOMEDOV (RUS) df. Akhmednabi GVARZATILOV (AZE) by VPO1, 5-1
BRONZE: Georgi VANGELOV (BUL) df. Muhamad IKROMOV (TJK) by VPO1, 9-8
BRONZE: Agustin DESTRIBATS (ARG) df. Razmik PAPIKYAN (ARM) by VPO1, 5-2

GOLD: Vazgen TEVANYAN (ARM) df. Iszmail MUSZUKAJEV (HUN) by VPO1, 9-1
BRONZE: Haji ALIYEV (AZE) df. Ilman MUKHTAROV (FRA) by VPO1, 10-4

GOLD: Akhmed USMANOV (RUS) df. Muhammet Nuri KOTANOGLU (TUR) by VSU, 11-0
BRONZE: Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR) df. Akhsarbek GULAEV (SVK) by VPO1, 3-2
BRONZE: Mahamedkhabib KADZIMAHAMEDAU (BLR) df. Baliyan GOURAV (IND) by VSU1, 14-1

GOLD: Dauren KURUGLIEV (RUS) df. Zbigniew Mateusz BARANOWSKI (POL) by VPO1, 5-1
BRONZE: Osman GOCEN (TUR) df. Taimuraz FRIEV NASKIDAEVA (ESP) by VPO1, 11-8
BRONZE: Piotr IANULOV (MDA) df. Deepak PUNIA (IND) by VPO1, 4-1

GOLD: Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) df. Aliaksandr HUSHTYN (BLR) by VIN, 0-0
BRONZE: Suleyman KARADENIZ (TUR) df. Valerii ANDRIITSEV (UKR) by VPO1, 2-1
BRONZE: Ahmed BATAEV (BUL) df. Shamil ZUBAIROV (AZE) by VPO1, 8-1


#WrestleBelgrade GR Preview: RWF, Iran Bring Strong Teams for U23 Worlds

By Vinay Siwach

BELGRADE, Serbia (October 22) -- Amin MIRZAZADEH (IRI) was preparing for the Senior World Championships last month when he contracted the COVID-19 virus and had to withdraw from Iran's Greco-Roman team.

A month after the senior team won second place in the team title race in Oslo, Iran, led by Tokyo Olympian Mirzazadeh, will look to replicate and even improve that position at the U23 World Championships which begin November 1, 2021 in Belgrade, Serbia.

Mirzazadeh finished fifth at the Tokyo Olympics after losing to Riza KAYAALP (TUR) in the bronze medal bout. Still, the former senior Asian champion at 130kg would like to win his second world title after winning the junior worlds 2019. In his only outing at the U23 level, he finished fifth at the 2017 World Championships.

However, there is no certainty for Mirzazadeh as the Russian Wrestling Federation is bringing a loaded roster to Belgrade. First, he could face Mikhail LAPTEV (RWF) who won the U23 European title in May. Laptev has been on the heels of Sergei SEMENOV (RWF) in the Greco-Roman team.

Another name that Mirzazadeh has to look out for is David OVASAPYAN (ARM). The Iranian wrestled him for the 2018 junior world gold and won that bout. But the Armenian made it to the final of the U23 Euros earlier this year.

A rematch of that final from May is well on the cards as Ovasapyan wrestled Laptev but lost 5-1. The two revenge matches will headline the weight class which goes into action on the first day of the competition along with 55kg, 63kg, 77kg and 87kg.

Both 77kg and 87kg can also see the repeat of the 2021 U23 European Championships finals at the respective weight classes. The 77kg finals opponents Sergei STEPANOV (RWF) and Per OLOFSSON (SWE) are entered into the Belgrade bracket. Stepanov defeated Olofsson 5-2 in the final. Bronze medalist from the same event Samvel GRIGORYAN (ARM) will also look to avenge his 8-3 semifinal loss to Stepanov.

But Tamas LEVAI (HUN), a certain dark horse of the weight class, will challenge everyone with his spectacular defense, along with junior world bronze medalist and Moldova's hope Alexandrin GUTU (MDA). The Moldovan lost to Olofsson 9-0 at the U23 Euros and did not compete further due to an injury.

Three-time age-group world medalist Sajan BHANWALA (IND), who finished fifth at U23 Worlds in 2019, will also look to find a place on the podium this year. However, former junior world champion Amin KAVIYANINEJAD (IRI) will not be a pushover as he won a bronze medal at the 2021 senior Asian Championships in Almaty.

MaskevichKiryl MASKEVICH (BLR) won a silver medal at the Senior World Championships in Oslo. (Photo: UWW / Tony Rotundo)

At 87kg, apart from U23 Euro champion and former junior world champion Aleksandr KOMAROV (RWF) and silver medalist Temuri TCHKUASELIDZE (GEO), Kiryl MASKEVICH (BLR) will be the biggest name to have entered the field. In Oslo, Maskevich reached the final but lost to Zurabi DATUNASHVILI (SRB) to end up with a silver. He will be looking to win the world title to add to his Individual World Cup gold that he won in Belgrade in December 2020.

Gevorg TADEVOSYAN (ARM) won a bronze at the U23 Euros after suffering a defeat at the hands of Tchkuaselidze and would like to turn around the result if the two meet again in Belgrade. 2020 senior Asian champion Sunil KUMAR (IND) would also like to win his first Worlds medal.

Leri ABULADZELeri ABULAZDE (GEO) fell short in the final of the 63kg at the Oslo World Championships. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

The first day can also see a huge 63kg clash between 2019 World bronze medalist Alireza NEJATI (IRI) at 60kg and 2021 World silver medalist Leri ABULADZE (GEO). Nejati was at the Tokyo Olympics as well but finished 10th out of 16 competitors. Abuladze escaped from difficult positions in Oslo and ended up reaching the final where he lost 4-5 to Meysam DALKHANI (IRI).

The two will also face a challenge from U23 Euro champion Hrachya POGHOSYAN (ARM) who had defeated Abuladze 1-1 in the semifinal of that tournament. He also entered at the senior World Championships but lost to Stig BERGE (NOR) in the opening round.

The 55kg weight class on the first day will feature '21 junior world bronze medalist Akyikat KULZHIGIT UULU (KGZ) and 2017 junior world champion Poya DAD MARZ (IRI). Mavlud RIZMANOV (RWF), the 2021 U23 Euro bronze medalist will also be a wrestler to keep an eye on.

On the second day of action in Belgrade, wrestlers from the 60kg, 67kg, 72kg, 82kg and 97kg weight classes will be on the mat.

KutuzovSergei KUTUZOV (RWF) won a silver medal at the World Championships in Oslo. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

The 72kg weight class promises to be a minefield as senior World silver medalist Sergei KUTUZOV (RWF) has entered along with U23 European champion at 67kg Krisztian VANCZA (HUN) who was also in Oslo. Kutuzov was dominant in his bouts in Oslo and suffered a heartbreaking loss in the final to Malkhos AMOYAN (ARM), the same wrestler who had defeated him in the semifinal of the U23 Europeans in Skopje.

Andrii KULYK (UKR) won a silver medal in Skopje and he will also be in Belgrade, which gives him a chance to his first world title. He defeated Idris IBAEV (GER) in the early rounds. The German also entered Belgrade.

At 60kg, Tokyo Olympian Kerem KAMAL (TUR) will be eyeing his first world title at the U23 level after missing it the last time. The Turkish wrestler, who has won a U23 European Championships, a junior world title and several others, has been off-color recently and this tournament can give him the opportunity to bounce back to top form. He did not compete at the U23 Euros this year, and in his absence, it was Anvar ALLAKHIAROV (RWF) who won the title in Skopje. No one was able to score on the young wrestler who has also won the junior world title in 2019. A clash between the exciting Kamal and Allakhiarov will be a treat for the fans at the Belexpocentar.

Kamal's brother Kadir will also be making the trip to Belgrade and he will compete in the 67kg weight class. He lost a close final against Vancza 2-2 in U23 Euros but this could be his chance to win the first gold at a World Championships. Standing in his path are Oleksii MASYK (UKR) who met him in the semifinal of the U23 Euros, a meeting which Kamal won.

Hasrat JafarovHasrat JAFAROV (AZE) is a junior world champion for Azerbaijan. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

But a bigger challenge would be to go past junior world champion Hasrat JAFAROV (AZE) and silver medalist Sahak HOVHANNISYAN (ARM). The two will be the biggest threat to the gold. In Ufa finals, Jafarov was dominant and beat Havhannisyan 7-0 to claim the gold.

This year, Jafarov has won a bronze at the U23 Euros, junior European and Worlds titles, and was at the Senior World Championships in Oslo. He went 3-2 and finished fifth after losing to Olympic and World champion Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI) and to Ramaz ZOIDZE (GEO) in the bronze medal bout.

All medalists from the 82kg weight class from U23 Euros minus Tamas LEVAI (HUN) are entered for the U23 Worlds and Shamil OZHAEV (RWF), who won gold in Skopje, will like to add the world title to his continental one. The only point Ozhaev surrendered in that event was a passivity point in the final and no other wrestler was able to score on him. Awaiting a clash with the Russian Wrestling Federation wrestler would be Yauheni YUROU (BLR) as he had lost to him 0-6 in that tournament.

The other bronze medalist Aivengo RIKADZE (GEO) is also entered while Iran decided to send Mohammad NAGHOUSI (IRI), who won a bronze medal at the Junior World Championships in Ufa.

Artur SargsianArtur SARGSIAN (RWF) will be looking to win his first world title. (Photo: UWW / Tony Rotundo)

Another big name and the favorite to win the 97kg title Artur SARGSIAN (RWF) will close out the day. He won a bronze medal at his first senior World Championships in Oslo. The big-throwing wrestler won the U23 Euros as well in May and he may face his opponent from that final Giorgi KATSANASHVILI (GEO). Sargsian did not take much time in that match to finish Katsanashvili.

But one wrestler who Sargsian will be eyeing is Arvi SAVOLAINEN (FIN). The former junior world champion has a win over the RWF wrestler. Back in 2018, Savolainen won the junior gold in Slovakia after beating Sargsian in the pre-quarterfinals 7-0. The two are likely to clash in the 97kg weight class.

The tournament will certainly miss some of the quality Greco-Roman wrestlers from Korea, Japan and China. As travel is still complicated due to the pandemic, the three Asian countries, along with many others around the world, have decided to skip the tour, the final World Championships of 2021.