Russia Wins Freestyle Team Title at European Championships

By Eric Olanowski

BUCHAREST, Romania (April 10) – The Russian Federation trailed Azerbaijan by five points heading into the final day of wrestling at the European championships but closed out the freestyle competition with a Day 3 gold medal and two bronze medals to win the team title six points ahead of second place Turkey. 

Russia’s lone Day 3 champion came at 86kg, where Vladislav VALIEV (RUS) pitched his fourth shutout of the tournament, defeating Moldova’s Piotr IANULOV (MDA), 4-0. Valiev, the 2017 world bronze medalist, combined to outscore his five continental opponents, 30-1 en route to his first European title. 

Russia’s Timur BIZHOEV (RUS) and Anzor KHIZRIEV (RUS) won the 74kg and 125kg bronze medal respectively and helped the Russian Federation jump into the tournament’s top spot. 

Turkey finished in second place with 156 points. 

At 125kg, Turkey's Olympic champion Taha AKGUL won his third consecutive European title and seventh overall continental championship with a staggering 7-0 win over a vulnerable Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO). The Georgian wrestle had his left knee heavily taped and limited in what he could do in the gold-medal bout. 

Akgul, the 2016 Olympic champion dominated the 125kg finals match with a pair of takedowns, a leg lace, and a brutality point, and cruised past his biggest rival for the second consecutive time in the European finals. 

Turkey also had a pair of bronze medalists in Recep TOPAL and Fatih ERDIN. Topal was the bronze-medal winner at 61kg, and Erdin finished in third place at 86kg. 

Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE) won the 92kg gold medal with a 3-0 win over Poland's Zbigniew BARANOWSKI (POL). (Photo: Max Rose-Fyne)

Azerbaijan finished in third place with 145 points.

In the 92kg finals, London Olympic Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE) blew open the match against Zbigniew BARANOWSKI (POL) after only leading 3-0 after the first period. In the second period, Sharifov scored three takedowns and won his first continental title with a 9-1 victory.  

Meanwhile, the final two freestyle Day 3 gold medals went to Arsen HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) and Frank CHAMIZO (ITA). 

The Armenian youngster, Arsen Harutyunyan, was down 8-0 after the first 90 seconds of the 61kg gold-medal bout but stormed back to outscore returning European runner-up Beka LOMTADZE (GEO), 17-3 in the final four minutes to win his first senior-level European title. 

Harutyunyan already had a cadet and junior European title on his resume, and added a senior European title with his come-from-behind win on Wednesday night. 

At 74kg, Frank Chamizo picked up his third European title at his third different weight class with an 8-0 throttling of France’s Zelimkhan KHADJIEV (FRA), improving on his bronze-medal finish from last year's Kaspiisk European Championships. 

Chamizo scored three takedowns in the first period and a takedown in the second period, and shutout Moldova's Piotr IANULOV (MDA), 8-0. 

Freestyle Team Scores
GOLD - Russia  (162 points)
SILVER - Turkey (156 points) 
BRONZE -  Azerbaijan  (145 points) 
Fourth - Georgia  (104 points) 
Fifth - Ukraine (80 points) 

BRONZE - Recep TOPAL (TUR) df. Nikolai OKHLOPKOV (ROU), via fall 
BRONZE - Randy VOCK (SUI) df. Elmedin SEJFULAU (MKD), 6-5 

GOLD - Frank CHAMIZO MARQUEZ (ITA) df. Zelimkhan KHADJIEV (FRA), 8-0 
BRONZE - Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO) df. Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR), 12-1 
BRONZE - Timur BIZHOEV (RUS) df. Khadzhimurad GADZHIYEV (AZE), 6-4 

GOLD - Vladislav VALIEV (RUS) df. Piotr IANULOV (MDA), 4-0 
BRONZE - Fatih ERDIN (TUR) df. Mihai PALAGHIA (ROU), 8-2 

GOLD - Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE) df. Zbigniew BARANOWSKI (POL), 9-1 
BRONZE - Istvan VEREB (HUN) df. Ibrahim BOLUKBASI (TUR), 4-2
BRONZE - Irakli MTSITURI (GEO), df. Magomed KURBANOV (RUS), 3-2

BRONZE - Oleksandr KHOTSIANIVSKYI (UKR) df. Robert BARAN (POL), 3-2 
BRONZE - Anzor KHIZRIEV (RUS) df. Rares CHINTOAN (ROU), 11-0


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