Team USA Sends Four Wrestlers to #WrestleBudapest Finals

By Vinay Siwach

BUDAPEST, Hungary (July 19) --- As soon as James MULLEN (USA) won his semifinal at 110kg, his USA teammate James ROWLEY (USA) began calculating the team scores. “That's 80 points,” he would shout to his team in the warm-up hall.

USA took a huge step towards the team title at the cadet World Championships which got underway in Budapest Monday as they entered four wrestlers in the five finals for Tuesday, the most for any country. India were the second best behind USA with two finalists while Russia, Iran, Georgia and Kazakhstan sending one each. Wrestlers from USA and India will meet in the two finals – 48kg and 80kg – on Tuesday.

That gives them a 30-point lead going into Tuesday which will see five more freestyle weight classes in action apart from the medal bouts of 48kg, 55kg, 65kg, 80kg and 110kg.

Two 15-year-olds made it to the final of 48kg in contrasting fashion as Pan Am champion Luke LILLEDAHL (USA) registered a thrilling win in the semifinals while Aman GULIA (IND) dominated his semifinal to win in a minute and five seconds.

Luke LILLEDHALE USALuke LILLEDAHL (USA) won his semifinal at 48kg 4-3. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Lilledahl, who trains in Missouri, will be looking to give himself an early birthday present, hopefully a gold, as he turn 16 years old in two weeks' time. He had a tough day in office as he began with a stunning 9-9 win over Akhmad MUSAKHADZHIEV (RUS) which saw USA challenge a call and winning it. He then handled Azim ABDYKALYKOV (KGZ) 8-1 before beating Nurdanat AITANOV (KAZ) 4-3 in the semifinals. He needed a late takedown with a double to win the bout.

Assessing his bouts, Lilledahl said he could have done better but he is now preparing for his final against India.

“[My wrestling was] not the best and I still have work to do,” Lilledahl said. “I am representing my country so I have to do my best no matter what. [For the final], just prepare mentally and watch some videos.”

Gulia went for a leg-lace to finish his opponent Rezo MARSAGISHVILI (GEO) 10-0 in the semifinal. In the morning session he had conceded only one point while scoring 14.

The Indian stayed back to watch Lilledahl's semifinal and observed a few things before the two meet in the final on Tuesday.

“He only shows false attack and dodges,” Gulia said. “I'll watch his videos from today and then prepare for final.”

UWW Photo

At 55kg, the weight class where USA did not have a finalist, saw Russia and Kazakhstan advance. Magomed BAITUKAEV (RUS) had a few slip ups in the semifinal against Abdullah TOPRAK (TUR) but eventually managed to win 10-6.

The wrestler from Chechnya was unfazed by the occasion of a World Championships final and said he will prepare for it as he does for any other bout.

His opponent, Abdinur NURLANBEK (KAZ) looked in the zone as he defeated Vaibhav PATIL (IND) 6-4 in the semifinals. Earlier in the day, he had defeated returing fifth-place and 2021 cadet European silver medalist Javi JAVIDOV (AZE) 10-0.

Nurlanbek challenged a takedown from Patil which had given Indian the lead. Kazakhstan won the challenge and kept off Patil's late attacks for the win.

Patil had earlier in the day ended the hopes for cadet European champion Andranik AVETISYAN (ARM) with a cradle pin despite the Armenian leading. He also pulled off a four-point throw in the dying seconds against Husanboy USMONOV (UZB). But his strategy did not work against the Kazak.

Meyer SHAPIRO USAMeyer SHAPIRO (USA) will wrestle in the 65kg final. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Meyer SHAPIRO (USA) was the second USA wrestler to reach the final. Like Lilledahl, he had to go through a Russian wrestler to reach the final against Giorgi GOGRITCHIANI (GEO).

After a pin to start his day. Shapiro wrestled Khabib ZAVURBEKOV (RUS) and both exchanged attacks before Shapiro went for a final one. He managed to come out on top 8-6 but such was the intensity of the bout that he thought he had lost.

“My second match was super tough,” Shapiro said. “Definitely the best kid in the bracket. Honestly, anything could have happened in the end and I thought I lost because I could not see the score board. I was freaking out but turns out I had won. Later, I brought the pieces together and wrestled hard in the semifinals.”

He did not waste any time in the semifinal to handed a 10-0 defeat to Aghanazar NOVRUZOV (AZE).

Gogritchiani, who trains in Racha, had a contrasting semifinal as he defeated Ali REZAEIAGHOUZGELEH (IRI) 6-6 after a successful challenge to reclaim his lead in the final minute. Two points were awarded to Iran but Georgia challenged the call and instead, the two points were awarded to Gogritchiani. The Iran wrestler did get two stepouts but those were not enough for the win.

“I wrestled very well,” he said. “In the last match with the Iranian I was sure I won those two points in the challenge. In tomorrow’s final I’ll do my best to get the gold medal.”

When Shapiro was asked who he is going to prepare for the final, he said he wanted to relax.

“I am not really worried about that,” he said. “I will watch a film [of Gogritchiani] and whatever happens, happens.”

Another India-USA was set at 80kg as Rowley made his way to wrestle Sagar JAGLAN (IND), defeating a Russian wrestler on the way.

Sagar JAGLAN INDSagar JAGLAN (IND) pinned Tornike SAMKHARADZE (GEO) in the semifinal at 80kg. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Rowley was slow to start as he wrestled Mustafagadzhi MALACHDIBIROV (RUS) in the 1/8 finals. A late takedown was what gave him an 8-6 win. In the quarterfinals, he picked up pace and defeated cadet European champion Oleksandr MAMROSH (UKR) before getting a technical superiority win over Gabriele NICCOLINI (ITA) 12-2.

“It kept getting better [for me],” Rowley said. “ My first match was slow and second was a little better. In the third, I blew him out of water.

“For the final, I will get the mindset right and win.”

He will face Jaglan in the final who won three out of his four bouts after trailing initially. But that was just another example of the exceptional motor skills of Indian wrestlers, made popular by Bajrang PUNIA (IND).

In the semifinal against cadet European Championships semifinalist Tornike SAMKHARADZE (GEO), he was trailing 4-6 as the Georgian struggled to catch his breath. Jaglan managed to put him on his back and get the fall.

A similar story saw him beat Radomir STOYANOV (BUL) in opening round. The Indian was trailing 1-9 but rebounded against a panting Stoyanov to win 15-10. Then against Musza ARSUNKAEV (UWW), he took advantage of a tiring opponent to win 14-9. A 12-4 win against Sattarkhan ALLAHVERDILI (AZE) earned him a place in the semifinal.

At 110kg, Amirreza MASOUMI VALADI (IRI) has begun well to follow his father's footsteps at the super-heavyweight category. Son of World Championships silver medalist and Beijing Olympic fifth placer Fardin MASOUMI VALADI, Amirreza stormed into the final with a 5-1 win over cadet European champion Ilia ZHIBALOV (RUS).

“Before coming here, I trained two months for this competition and I had great bouts,” Masoumi Valadi said.

He will face Pan-Am champion James MULLEN (USA) in the final. Mullen defeated Alikhan KUSSAINOV (KAZ) 7-1 in the semifinal.

Amirreza Fardin MASOUMI VALADI (IRI)Amirreza MASOUMI VALADI (IRI) will wrestle for gold at 110kg (Photo: UWW)



SF 2: Luke LILLEDAHL (USA) df Nurdanat AITANOV (KAZ), 4-3


SF 1: Magomed BAITUKAEV (RUS) df Abdullah TOPRAK (TUR), 10-6
SF 2: Abdinur NURLANBEK (KAZ) df Vaibhav PATIL (IND), 6-4


SF 2: Meyer SHAPIRO (USA) df Aghanazar NOVRUZOV (AZE), 10-0


SF 1: Sagar JAGLAN (IND) df Tornike SAMKHARADZE (GEO), via fall
SF 2: James ROWLEY (USA) df Gabriele NICCOLINI (ITA), 12-2


SF 1: Amirreza MASOUMI VALADI (IRI) df Ilia ZHIBALOV (RUS), 5-1
SF 2: James MULLEN (USA) df Alikhan KUSSAINOV (KAZ), 7-1


Russia, Georgia Win Two #WrestleBudapest GR Titles; Ukraine Shines on Day 6

By Vinay Siwach

BUDAPEST (Hungary) July 24 --- The celebrations were subdued and all Daniil CHASOVNIKOV (RUS) could think of after winning his first world title was about his parents.

The 17-year-old Russian lost his parents when he was five and Saturday, he wished they were alive to see him win the cadet World Championships gold with a stunning win in the 110kg final.

"I made my mother and father happy," he said after the final, controlling his emotions as he spoke.

Chasovnikov was in a destructive mood as he hammered Nikita OVSJANIKOV (GER) 9-0 in the first period. After getting awarded for the German's passivity, Chasovnikov added eight points from par-terre in quick succession and claimed the win.

Cadet World Championships Budapest

His victory was an improved performance from the cadet Euros final in which the Russian had won 5-3. He later said that the final was exactly like he planned.

"My final match went very well. I have done everything as I planned. Rolled him in par-terre," he said. "I beat the same guy at the European championships final as well 5-3. Now 9-0. I have given it all."

He revealed that it was his confidence in Budapest that allowed him to win so strongly against the German wrestler. 

"Last time at the European Championships I was scared, it was my first international tournament, I didn’t believe in myself. But this time I concentrated well and everything went well," he said.

Chasovnikov was raised by his grandparents and after some training in football, it was his uncle, a former Greco-Roman wrestler, who put him in the same sport.

"I don’t have a mother and father," he said. "Since I was five, I was brought up by my grandmother and grandfather. My uncle is a former Greco-Roman wrestler. I started training in football, but I didn’t like it. My weight was already 45 kg when I was five years old. My uncle told me to start wrestling training. I didn’t like it in the beginning, then I started winning the competitions.

"I made my mum and dad happy. I dedicated the victory to my parents and all those people who supported me."

Valerii MANGUTOV (RUS)Valerii MANGUTOV (RUS) won the gold medal at 55kg. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

The second Russian to win the gold Saturday was Valerii MANGUTOV (RUS) at 55kg as he beat Cory LAND (USA) 8-0 in the final.

Mangutov was in no mood to let his American opponent get any openings as he scored four points in each period to claim the victory and his world title.

“I am glad that I won the gold medal. It’s been a long way,” Mangutov said. “During the day I was trying to get ready morally. I prepared a plan on how to wrestle and everything went well [in the final].

His world title is even sweeter as he had lost in the first round of the 2019 Worlds in Sofia. In fact, his opponent Saturday, Land was also there but had failed to medal as well.

“I have corrected all the mistakes I had back in 2019, and today I got my gold,” he said and also revealed that it was his grandfather who introduced him to wrestling when he was five-years-old.

“My grandfather brought me to wrestling and since then my father comes to training every day.” he said. “I find inspiration in my close people, my parents who believe in me, all those people who support me. I am very grateful to all of them.”

Despite winning two gold medals, Russia trails Georgia in the Greco-Roman team title at the tournament. Georgia also won two gold and also a bronze to lead the race.

luka JAVAKHADZE (GEO)Luka JAVAKHADZE (GEO) celebrates after winning the 45kg gold medal in Budapest. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

For Georgia, Luka JAVAKHADZE (GEO) should not have been in Budapest, let alone the podium. He had lost the Georgian national championships and his name was struck off the World team. It was only after the national winner failed to make the weight that Javakhadze's name was added again. On Saturday, he made the most of the lucky break.

Javakhadze claimed his first world title at the cadet level on the penultimate day, opening the country's account by winning the 48kg world title, beating cadet European silver medalist Servet ANGI (TUR) 7-5 in the final.

After leading 3-0 at the break in the final, the Georgian gave up five points in the second period but scored four for himself to win 7-5.

While he had all the luck he needed to be on the team and win, his teammate, Anri PUTKARADZE (GEO) did not.

Imed KHUDZHADZE (UKR)Imed KHUDZHADZE (UKR) won the world title at 65kg. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Putkaradze was wrestling in the 65kg final and was up 6-0 in the first 40 seconds of the bout against Imed KHUDZHADZE (UKR). The two had met in the cadet European Championships final just two months back with Khudzhadze winning 9-4. But this time, Putkaradze had it figured out. Or so he thought.

Khudzhadze scripted an incredible comeback from 0-6 down to level it 6-6 and hold the criteria to beat his Georgian rival and win the cadet World Championships gold medal at 65kg, giving Ukraine it's first title.

"I can’t express what I feel. It was a very tough match," Khudzhadze said. "I was losing 6-0, but the will to get this belt helped me to score six points and win the match.

"Honestly, I didn’t expect the Georgian to be so assertive. He scored 6 points in the first 40 seconds of the match."

He also praised his opponent's skills despite knowing that he had lost to Khudzhadze just a couple of months back.

"I think I would not be able to concentrate that way against the guy I lost," he said. "The Georgian wrestler is unbelievable. I wish him all the best, I wish him a lot of victories, but not in my weight category."

Khudzhadze is a Georgia native with his father, who was born in Georgia, also being a wrestler. It was his father who put him in the sport.

After his loss, Putkaradze was unable to control his emotions, ruing the chance of joining his two other teammates who won gold medals Saturday as Greco-Roman got five new world champions in Budapest. Russia claimed the remaining two titles.

Achiko BOLKVADZE (GEO)Achiko BOLKVADZE (GEO) defeated Kamaludin MAGOMEDOV (RUS) via fall at 80kg. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

At 80kg, a Georgia-Russia final saw Achiko BOLKVADZE (GEO) defeat Kamaludin MAGOMEDOV (RUS) via fall which made a big difference in the title race.

The cadet European champion Bolkvadze held a slender one point lead at 3-2 going into the break but was warned for passivity in the second period. At 3-3, the Georgian scored two points and then held Magomedov to his back to get the pin.

Ukraine puts three in final

After just one wrestler in the final Saturday, Ukraine managed to send three in the five finals that will take place Sunday – the final day of the World Championships in Budapest. Kyrgyzstan and Iran also improved their performances and sent two wrestlers each to the finals. Moldova, Belarus and Uzbekistan also marked their presence with one wrestler each in the final.

Nikita DEMENTIEV (UKR)Nikita DEMENTIEV (UKR) reached the final at 45kg in Budapest. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

At 45kg, cadet European silver medalist in 2021 Nikita DEMENTIEV (UKR) made his way to the final after a dominating 10-0 win over Nurbolot BERDIKULOV (KGZ) in the semifinal. He was flawless Saturday apart from the quarterfinal against as he claimed the win 1-1.

He will take on Ozodbek KHALIMBOEV (UZB) in the final. The Uzbek was in a class of his own as he won his first two bouts via fall and the semifinal via technical superiority. Combined, he outscored his opponents 24-0.

Yurii TOVT (UKR) was the second Ukrainian to reach the final and he will take on Nuristan SUIORKULOV (KGZ) at 51kg.

Nuristan SUIORKULOV (KGZ)Nuristan SUIORKULOV (KGZ) defeated Beso MAKHARADZE (GEO) in the 51kg semifinal. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Tovt won the semifinal against Hayk LYUDVIGYAN (ARM) via fall, his second of the day while Suiorkulov, 16, defeated Beso MAKHARADZE (GEO) 8-3 in the semifinal.

“I feel no difference between 2019 and now at all, it feels the same,” Suiorkulov, who finished 12th at the 2019 Worlds, said. “I’ll prepare for the final well. I am ready to wrestle the final match even now.”

Another Kyrgyzstan wrestler who booked his spot in the final was Razzak BEISHEKEEV (KGZ). In a close semifinal, he managed to hang on to a 10-0 victory over SUMIT (IND). It was his aggressive start in the first period that gave him a 10-6 lead at the break.

While Sumit did try to make a comeback and scored two points, he was not able to stop his Kyrgyz opponent from reaching the 60kg final in which he will wrestle Seyyedmostafa REZAEI DARYAKENARI (IRI).

Seyyedmostafa Seyyedjafar REZAEI DARYAKENARI (IRI)Seyyedmostafa REZAEI DARYAKENARI (IRI) will wrestle for the 60kg gold. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

The Iranian wrestler completed a 3-0 win against Rati KHOZREVANIDZE (GEO). Rezaei Daryakenari was first awarded a passivity point which he carried into the break. Then he scored a takedown in the second period to complete the win.

His teammate at 71kg Alireza ABDEVALI (IRI) also marched into the final with a 7-2 win over Ruslan NURULLAYEV (AZE) in the semifinal.

He will take on Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA) who defeated Dimitar RACHEV (BUL) 7-0 in the semifinal. Solovei was wrestling at the cadet Worlds in 2019 but was in his first year as cadet. His experience now helped him reach the final.

Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA)Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA) made it to his first cadet Worlds final. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

“In 2019, I was the youngest athlete there, my goal was just to get some experience on the international event,” the 17-year-old said. “I train hard, that’s why I could win the semifinal.”

Incidentally, in 2019, Solovei, who trains and studies in Kishinev, Moldova, had lost to an Iran wrestler and now wants to avenge the first-round loss to Hojat REZAEI (IRI) from 2019.

“I hope to become a world champion. It’s important not to make any mistakes,” he said.

In a rematch of the 2021 cadet European Championships final at 92kg, Vladyslav LUB (UKR) wrestled Timur CHERNYSHEV (RUS) in the semifinal in Budapest and won 2-1. It was Lub who won at the Euros as well.

He will now wrestle Abubakar KHASLAKHANAU (BLR) in the final. The Belrusian notched up a 12-3 win over Harutyun KIRAKOSYAN (ARM) in the semifinal.

Lub, who trains in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, said that he has wrestled Khaslakhanau before, referring to his 8-5 win at the cadet Euros semifinal.

“I have wrestled against that guy from Belarus before as well,” Lub said. “With the help of God, everything will work out.”

Despite previously beating his Russian rival, Lub had his doubts of another win due his illness before coming here.

“When I stepped on the mat, I had some doubts that I would win again,” he said. “One week before the tournament I was staying in bed with a very high temperature.”

But he is now just one win away from being crowned a world champion on Sunday.

RESULTS GR Medal Bouts

GOLD: Luka JAVAKHADZE (GEO) df Servet ANGI (TUR), 9-5

BRONZE: Yussuf ASHRAPOV (KAZ) df Pavel BONDAR (RUS), 12-1

GOLD: Valerii MANGUTOV (RUS) df Cory LAND (USA), 8-0

BRONZE: Berati INAC (TUR) df Zhantoro MIRZALIEV (KGZ), 8-0


BRONZE: Nihat KARA (TUR) df Karl BAFF (SWE), 10-0

GOLD: Achiko BOLKVADZE (GEO) df Kamaludin MAGOMEDOV (RUS), via fall



BRONZE: Rafail GKIRNIS (GRE) df Artur BOICHUK (UKR), 9-4
BRONZE: Artur SARKISJAN (CZE) df James MULLEN (USA), via fall

RESULTS GR Semifinals


SF 2: Nikita DEMENTIEV (UKR) df Nurbolot BERDIKULOV (KGZ), 10-0


SF 1: Yurii TOVT (UKR) df Hayk LYUDVIGYAN (ARM), via fall
SF 2: Nuristan SUIORKULOV (KGZ) df Beso MAKHARADZE (GEO), 8-3


SF 1: Razzak BEISHEKEEV (KGZ) df SUMIT (IND), 10-8

GOLD: Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA) vs Alireza ABDEVALI (IRI)

SF 1: Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA) df Dimitar RACHEV (BUL), 7-0
SF 2: Alireza ABDEVALI (IRI) df Ruslan NURULLAYEV (AZE), 7-2

GOLD: Abubakar KHASLAKHANAU (BLR) vs Vladyslav LUB (UKR)

SF 1: Abubakar KHASLAKHANAU (BLR) df Harutyun KIRAKOSYAN (ARM), 12-3
SF 2: Vladyslav LUB (UKR) df Timur CHERNYSHEV (RUS), 2-1