Susaki, Abakarov, Makhmudov, Sharshenbekov named UWW's History Makers of the Year

By Eric Olanowski

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (December 21) -- After their history-making feats in 2022, Yui SUSAKI (JPN), Zelimhan ABAKAROV (ALB), Akzhol MAKHMUDOV (KGZ) and Zholaman SHARSHENBEKOV (KGZ). have been named UWW History Makers of the year.

Coming into the season, Susaki had already won Olympic gold and world titles at the U17, U20 and senior levels. In October, the Japanese superstar grabbed U23 world gold and became the first-ever wrestler to win wrestling’s Grand Slam.

Abakarov, at 29 years old, capitalized on his first opportunity to wrestle at the world championships with five dominant wins – highlighted by a 7-2 win over defending world champ Thomas GILMAN (USA) en route to becoming Albania’s first-ever world champ.

Heading into Belgrade, Kyrgyzstan was 0-3 in gold medal matches at the senior world championships. But Makhmudov only needed 2:06 to rewrite Kyrgyzstan’s history books with a one-sided 8-0 win over Zoltan LEVAI (HUN) in the 77kg finals.

48 hours later, Sharshenbekov followed in his countryman’s footsteps and used Makhmudov’s gold as motivation to win Kyrgyzstan’s second-ever world title. After falling twice in the world finals, there was no way he would to be denied a third shot to win world gold.

Your 2022 History Makers of the Year, Susaki, Abakarov, Makhmudov and Sharshenbekov.


Sharshenbekov secures UWW’s Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Year award

By United World Wrestling Press

CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (December 30) -- Zholoman SHARSHENBEKOV (KGZ) has secured United World Wrestling’s 2022 Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Year award.

Sharshenbekov reached the World Championships finals two times prior to his appearance in the 2022 finals, but this year, he broke the final barrier and won the gold medal in Belgrade.

Wrestling at 60kg, the Kyrgyzstan star defeated Edmond NAZARYAN (BUL), 11-2, in two minutes and 30 seconds to seal a memorable world title.

Had it not been for compatriot Akzhol MAKHMUDOV (KGZ) at 77kg 48 hours before, Sharshenbekov would have been the first-ever male world champion for his country. Despite that, Sharshenbekov announced himself as a serious contender for the Paris Olympics.

The World Championships was not the only highlight of the year for Sharshenbekov.

He also won the Asian Championships in April over Mehdi MOHSEN NEJAD (IRI) to set the pace for the season.

The two championships gold medals and a bronze medal at the Bolat Turlykhanov Cup Ranking Series, collectively, awarded Sharshenbekov 55000 ranking points, making him the top-ranked wrestler at the end of the year.