Two-Time Olympic Champ Vlasov Leads Three Russians Into Day Six Finals

By Eric Olanowski

BUCHAREST, Romania (April 11) – The Russian Federation’s Greco-Roman train is on track to defend their European team title from last year after opening up the Greco-Roman share of the competition by inserting three wrestlers into the Day 6 finals. 

The loaded five-man day-five squad featured reigning world champions Stepan MARYANYAN and Sergey SEMENOV, two-Olympic champions Davit CHAKVETADZE and Roman VLASOV, and U23 world runner-up Vitalii KABALOEV. 

Stepan MARYANYAN (RUS) will wrestle for his first European title since 2015. (Photo: Gabor Martin) 

Both reigning world champions Maryanyan and Semenov were undefeated on the day heading into the semifinals, but only Maryanyan came out on top of his semifinals match and will wrestle for gold on Saturday night.

Maryanyan, the reigning world champion at 67kg, picked up shutout wins over Michal Jacek TRACZ (POL) and Justas PETRAVICIUS (LTU), then scored an 11-3 win over last year’s European eighth-place finisher, Levani KAVJARADZE (GEO) to lock up his spot in tomorrow’s finals. 

Maryanyan, who will be looking for his first continental top finishes since 2015, will wrestle Rio Olympic bronze medalist Stig-Andre BERGE (NOR) in the 67kg finals match. 

Berge grabbed a 5-2 win in the semifinals over Taleh MAMMADOV (AZE) and will wrestle in his second consecutive European title match. He fell short in last year’s finals to Mihai MIHUT (ROU). 

Russia’s second reigning world champion who was looking to make the finals was Sergey Semenov. Semenov fell to Georgia’s Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO), 3-2, in the semifinals, ending his run to a continental title. 

The Georgian big man will see eight-time European champion Riza KAYAALP (TUR) in the finals. In Kayaalp’s semifinals match, he avenged his opening round world championship loss to Heiki NABI (EST), 4-0. If the Turkish superstar is able to win tomorrow night, he’ll surpass Kamza YERLIKAYA (TUR) Turkish record of eight European titles. 

Meanwhile, the story was the same for the Russian Olympic champions as one came out on top and one fell short of his goal of winning a European title. 

London and Rio Olympic gold-medal winner Roman Vlasov scored four wins on Friday and made it to the 77kg finals. But, Rio Olympic champion Davit Chakvetadze wasn’t so lucky and dropped a one-point match to Azerbaijan’s Islam ABBASOV in the quarterfinals. Abbasov ended up making it to the finals where he’ll square off against Ukraine’s Rio runner-up Zhan BELENIUK. 

Vlasov, the defending 77kg European champion, completed his run to the finals with wins over tenth-ranked Bozo STARCEVIC (CRO), Ukraine’s Mykola DARAGAN, 2017 world champion Viktor NEMES (SRB), and U23 world bronze medalist Fatih CENGIZ (TUR). 

Vlasov will wrestle Germany’s Roland SCHWARZ in tomorrow night’s gold-medal match. Schwarz barreled past Bulgaria’s Daniel ALEKSANDROV, 10-2, to make the finals. 

Vitalii KABALOEV was one of three Russian's who made the Day 6 finals. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

The final Russian who was in action on Day 5 was Vitalii Kabaloev. In his European debut, the U23 world runner-up scored perhaps one of the most shocking upsets of the tournament, knocking off defending world champion Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE), 7-5. 

Kabaloev will go toe-to-toe with Romania’s Florin TITA (ROU), who used the home crowd to help push him to the 5-4 victory over Anders ROENNINGEN (NOR). 

The Day 6 finals behind at 18:00 local time, and can be followed on www.unitedworldwrestling.org.

GOLD - Vitalii KABALOEV (RUS) vs. Florin TITA (ROU)
SEMIFINAL - Vitalii KABALOEV (RUS) df. Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE), 7-5 
SEMIFINAL - Florin TITA (ROU) df. Anders ROENNINGEN (NOR), 5-4 

GOLD - Stepan MARYANYAN (RUS) vs. Stig-Andre BERGE (NOR)
SEMIFINAL - Stig-Andre BERGE (NOR) df. Taleh MAMMADOV (AZE), 4-2 

GOLD - Roman VLASOV (RUS) vs Roland SCHWARZ (GER) 
SEMIFINAL - Roman VLASOV (RUS) df. Fatih CENGIZ (TUR), 3-1 

SEMIFINAL - Islam ABBASOV (AZE) df. Mikalai STADUB (BLR), 4-0 

SEMIFINAL - Riza KAYAALP (TUR) df. Heiki NABI (EST), 4-0 
SEMIFINAL - Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO) df. Sergey SEMENOV (RUS) 3-2


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