Steveson Eyeing Fourth World Title

By Eric Olanowski

TRNAVA, Solvakia (September 16) - Daton FIX (USA) and Gable STEVESON (USA), the duo of American returning champions lead a freestyle #Trnava2018 field that boasts 245 wrestlers from 40 different nations. 

The reigning 55kg champion, Fix, enters the Junior World Championships at 57kg, while Steveson, the 120kg gold-medal winner enters at 125kg. 

Steveson, the reigning three-time world champion will be looking for his fourth age-level world title. Since stepping on the international scene in 2015, Steveson has yet to drop a match on his way to claiming two Cadet World titles, and a Junior World gold medal. 

Daton FIX (USA), 2017 Tampere World champion. (Photo by Marion Stein). 

The other reigning champion, Fix, will be competing in his fifth age-level World Championship. Since taking tenth place at the 2014 Cadet World Championships, Fix has rallied to win three world medals. Fix won back-to-back bronzes, before claiming his first World gold at the Tampere World Championships. 

If Fix has hopes of winning back-to-back Junior World titles, he’ll have to go through returning bronze medalist, Arsen HARUTYUNYAN (ARM). 

Harutyunyan, the two-time age-level European champion dropped his 2017 Junior World quarterfinal bout against Ismail GADZHIEV (RUS), 11-9. Gadzhiev went on to take second place, dropping his finals bout to Fix, 12-1. 

The United States’ roster was scheduled to feature two of the three 2017 cadet world champions that were entered, but due to an undisclosed injury to Daniel KERKVLIET JR (USA), Aaron BROOKS (USA) will be the only American cadet world champion that is entered. 

Mehdi ESHGHIVASOUKOLAEI (IRI), 2017 Cadet World champion. (Photo by Martin Gabor) 

Iran’s Mehdi ESHGHIVASOUKOLAEI is the third cadet world champion that will be in action in Trnava where he’s currently entered at 61kg. 

With the absence of Kerkvliet at 97kg, the gold medal favorites are Feyzullah AKTURK (TUR)  and Zyyamuhammet SAPAROV (TKM). 

Akturk is down from 120kg where he grabbed the bronze medal at last years Junior World Champions, while Saparov is down from 100kg where he won a cadet world bronze medal. 

Piotr CARASENI (MDA), 2017 Cadet World bronze medalist. (Photo by Martin Gabor) 

Other previous age-level world medalists to pay attention to are Piotr CARASENI (MDA)(74kg), Abbas Ali FOROUTANRAMI (IRI) (92kg), Khadzhimurad GADZHIYEV (AZE)  (70kg), and Seyedabolfazl HASHEMIJOUYBARI (IRI) (86kg). 

10:30 - Qualification rounds FS – 57-65-70-79-97kg
17:15 - Semifinal FS – 57-65-70-79-97kg

10:30 - Qualification rounds FS – 61-74-86-92-125kg
10:30 - Repechage FS – 57-65-70-79-97kg
17:15 - Semifinal FS – 61-74-86-92-125kg
18:00 - Finals FS – 57-65-70-79-97kgSunday 

16:00 - Repechage FS – 61-74-86-92-125kg
18:00 - Finals FS – 61-74-86-92-125kg


Russia Wins Fifth Gold Medal, Junior World Team Title

By Eric Olanowski

TRNAVA, Slovakia (September 23) – Russia closed out the 2018 Junior World Championships winning the freestyle team title on the backs of five individual gold medals. Heading into the final day of wrestling, the Russian Federation led the second-place United States by 31 points and finished 67 points ahead of the returning champions. 

Russia grabbed a trio of gold medals on the sixth day of competition and seized championships from Abasgadzhi MAGOMEDOV (RUS) and Soslan KHINCHAGOV (RUS) on the seventh day of wrestling at Trnava’s City Sports Hall. 

Abasgadzhi Magomedov improved his 2015 cadet runner-up finish, ending the 61kg finals bout early, grabbing the 10-0 technical superiority victory over Georgia’s Ramaz TURMANIDZE. 

The 2016 junior European champion technically and tactfully scored three takedowns via short drags, and two gut-wrenches, ending the gold-medal bout in 2:50. 

Soslan KHINCHAGOV (RUS), who was competing in his first age-level world championship since claiming the silver medal at the 2015 Cadet World Championships, shutout Aly BARGHOUT (CAN), 7-0 in the 125kg finals, giving Russia their fifth and final gold medal of the tournament. 

Overall, Russia capped off the 2018 Junior World Championships with seven medalists. In addition to their five gold medals, they also won a silver and bronze medal. Though they had seven medalists a year ago, there five gold medals are an improvement from last year’s four gold medals. 

Meanwhile, in his third career freestyle tournament, Mekhi LEWIS (USA) sealed the team silver medal for the United States with a 5-1 win over Abubakr ABAKAROV (AZE) in the 74kg finals.

Lewis trailed 1-0 in the opening period, surrendering a passivity point before scoring a takedown and stepout, controlling a 3-1 lead into the final period. In the second period, Lewis scored a brutality point and a second stepout to give America their first champion across any division of the 2018 Junior World Championships. 

In the 86kg gold-medal bout, Arif OZEN (TUR) stopped Deepak PUNIA (IND) from winning India’s first freestyle junior world gold medal since 2001. 

The Turkish wrestler struck first, scoring an early takedown, which ended up being the match-deciding takedown. Ozen gave up a stepout as time expired, but won the match, 2-1, giving Turkey their first freestyle gold medal of these championships.

Abbas Ali FOROUTANRAMI (IRI) put on a takedown clinic in the 92kg championships bout, blanking Alisher YERGALI (KAZ), 11-0.

After three-minutes, Foroutanrami commanded the 3-0 lead before firing off four takedowns in the second period to end the match with the technical superiority victory.   


Team Scores 
GOLD – Russia (182 points)
SILVER – United States (115 points)
BRONZE –  Iran (98 points)
Fourth – Azerbaijan (91 points)
Fifth – India (84 points)

GOLD – Abasgadzhi MAGOMEDOV (RUS) df. Ramaz TURMANIDZE (GEO), 10-0 

BRONZE - Vazgen TEVANYAN (ARM) df. Abbos RAKHMONOV (UZB), 9 - 3
BRONZE - Syrbaz TALGAT (KAZ) df. Minsu CHO (KOR), 10-4 

GOLD - Mekhi Kevin LEWIS (USA) df. Abubakr ABAKAROV (AZE), 5-1 

BRONZE - Devid BETANOV (RUS) df. Sachin RATHI (IND), 11 - 1

GOLD - Arif OZEN (TUR) df. Deepak PUNIA (IND), 2-1 


GOLD - Abbas Ali FOROUTANRAMI (IRI) df. Alisher YERGALI (KAZ), 11-0 

BRONZE - Askhab HAMZATOV (AZE) df. Makhsud VEYSALOV (UZB), 9 - 3
BRONZE - Erhan YAYLACI (TUR) df. Khokh KHUGAEV (RUS), 7-3

GOLD - Soslan KHINCHAGOV (RUS) df. Aly Medhat Abde BARGHOUT (CAN), 7-0 

BRONZE - Khasanboy RAKHIMOV (UZB) df. Amir Nader YARI (IRI), 6 - 4
BRONZE - Samhan JABRAILOV (MDA) df. Rahid HAMIDLI (AZE), 3-1