U20 World Championships day two semis set

By Vinay Siwach

SOFIA, Bulgaria (August 16) -- After the USA dominated day one of the U20 World Championships, it's time for the second day with five more freestyle weight classes in action in Sofia. Wrestlers from 61kg, 74kg, 86kg, 92kg and 125kg.


14:21: The 92kg last four

Adlan VISKHANOV (FRA) vs. Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (IRI)

14:15: The semifinals pair at 86kg

Ismail KUCUKSOLAK (TUR) vs. Bennett BERGE (USA)

14:05: The 74kg semifinals for the evening session

Sagar JAGLAN (IND) vs. Ryunosuke KAMIYA (JPN) 

14:00: Here are the semifinals for 61kg


13:53: The 125kg semifinals are set

Amirreza MASOUMI (IRI) vs. Nicholas FELDMAN (USA) 

13:43: Erfan ELAHI (IRI) up against '21 U17 world champion Sagar JAGLAN (IND) in the quarterfinals. Elahi with two quick stepouts to lead 2-0. But Jaglan with a takedown and lace to make it 8-2 at the break. Jaglan is cautioned for feeling and the score is cut to 8-4. But he scores a takedown and makes it 10-4. Huge win for Jaglan over returning world champion

13:40:  Another Iran win. At 125kg, '21 U17 world champion Amirreza MASOUMI (IRI) beats Merab SULEIMANASHVILI (GEO) 14-4 to enter the semifinal. He will wrestle Nicholas FELDMAN (USA)

13:37: The 61kg quarterfinal between Armin HABIBZADEH (IRI) and Nicholas BOUZAKIS (USA) is living up to the expectation. Bouzakis had a 6-4 lead but Habibzadeh managed to get a takedown to lead 6-6 before another double leg shot made it 9-7. Both wrestlers continued to go but Habibzadeh managed to win 13-11

13:30: Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA) has done it! He leg laces Aref RANJBARI (IRI) to 10-0. A scream to confirm how important that was for him.

13:25: Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE) is having a field day in Sofia. He now wins 10-0 against Jafar CHULIBOYEV (UZB) to enter the semifinal at 74kg. He will wrestle the winner of  Luka CHKHITUNIDZE (GEO) vs. Tymur HUDYMA (UKR) 

13:15: A 10-0 win for Firouzpour at 92kg and he will wrestle Krisztian ANGYAL (HUN) who had to battle Kutman TOLOBALDIEV (KGZ) before winning 15-12. Adlan VISKHANOV (FRA) also comes from 5-2 down against AKASH (IND) to win 7-6

12:45: Jaxon SMITH (USA) with a big 8-1 win over Ion DEMIAN (MDA) at 92kg. Senior Asian champion Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (IRI) is wrestling Satoshi MIURA (JPN). He leads 3-0 at the break 

12:35: Here are the quarterfinals matchups at 125kg:

Namoz ABDURASHIDOV (UZB) vs. Roger Rujie LI (CAN) 
Mahendra GAIKWAD (IND) vs. Adil MISIRCI (TUR)
Georgi IVANOV (BUL) vs. Nicholas FELDMAN (USA) 

12:25: Will Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA) win the gold at 86kg this year? The returning silver medalist has reached the quarterfinals with an 11-0 win over Angelos KOUKLARIS (GRE)

12:00: At 61kg, Nicholas BOUZAKIS (USA) trailed early but secures a fall over Abdullah TOPRAK (TUR) while Jeyhun ALLAHVERDIYEV (AZE) wins 10-0 over Mika LEHMKUEHL (RSA)

11:45: Erfan ELAHI (IRI) and Alexander FACUNDO (USA) coming up on Mat D. Elahi scores a stepout but Facundo answers with a takedown. Elahi gets the single leg and adds 2 more to lead 3-2 at the break. The two trade a takedown each in the second period as Elahi keeps the 5-4 lead with over a minute left. Facundo gets a double leg but the time runs out.

11:30: At 74kg, returning silver medalist from 70kg Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE) begins with a 13-0 win over Ulukbek ASILBEKOV (KGZ). He will be the favorite to reach the final from one side of the bracket.

11:10: The first qualification bouts are at 125kg. Home wrestler Georgi IVANOV (BUL) starts the day with a win for Bulgaria. He beats Ryusei FUJITA (JPN) 8-2. In a 34-point slugfest, Merab SULEIMANASHVILI (GEO) comes back from 6-0 down to beat Lyova GEVORGYAN (ARM) 13-11. On Mat B, Adil MISIRCI (TUR) beats Bekzat TAZHI (KAZ)

11:00: Welcome to the second day of the U20 World Championships. The repechage rounds will kick off the day before we move on to the qualification rounds of the five weight classes


Iran crowns trio of U20 world champs, wins team title

By Vinay Siwach

SOFIA, Bulgaria (August 21) -- When Alireza MOHMADIPIANI (IRI) was in Bulgaria last time, he was wrestling at his first senior tournament at the Dan Kolov in Sofia. Mohmadipiani finished with a bronze medal after losing the semifinal to European silver medalist Gela BOLKVADZE (GEO) in the semifinal.

Despite the loss, Mohmadipiani took home a lesson from the loss of being on the attack from the word go in a bout.

He used a similar strategy in the 82kg final against '21 U17 world champion Achiko BOLKVADZE (GEO) to win the gold medal at the U20 World Championships in Sofia.

Mohmadipiani was one of the three gold medalists for Iran on Sunday as the latest edition of the U20 World Championships came to an end with Iran winning the Greco-Roman title with 174 points. Azerbaijan finished second with 119 points while Ukraine managed to jump to third with 93 points.

The two other gold medals on Sunday were captured by wrestlers from Azerbaijan. A historic bronze medal was also won by Richard KARELSON (EST), becoming the first-ever medalist from the country at U20 Worlds.

For Iran, Mohmadipiani had the most convincing victory even though he faced one of the most accomplished wrestlers entered in the competition.

18-year-old Bolkvadze began aggressively against Mohmadipiani but lost some steam as the bout went on. He was called passive and Mohmadipiani failed to get a turn. But 20 seconds later, Mohmadipiani got him into a body lock and pushed him to the mat to get four points.

In the second period, Bolkvadze got the opportunity to level scores but he failed to get any points from par terre.

Bolkvadze struggled to keep up with the pace of the bout and the referee warned him for blocking. On the second warning, he was cautioned with two points. Mohmadipiani got the win when Bolkvadze received his second caution and two points.

"Bolkvadze is a good wrestler and he won a gold medal last year [at U17," Mohmadipiani said. "I won the Asian Championships. So great bout but I won against him at the end."

With the U20 title in the bag, the Iran youngster is hoping to quickly move to seniors from next year onwards. But he knows the challenge that comes with it.

"The weight class has many good wrestlers," he said. "We have Azerbaijan [Rafig HUSEYNOV] and Turkey [Burhan AKBUDAK] but I'm well trained and I think I can win.”

Saeid ESMAEILI (IRI)Saeid ESMAEILI (IRI) defeated Suren AGHAJANYAN (ARM) in the 60kg final. (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)

At 60kg, Saeid ESMAEILI (IRI) had all but lost the gold to Suren AGHAJANYAN (ARM) as he trailed 6-2 with 22 seconds left in the final. But Esmaeili got his hands around Aghajanyan’s waist before moving into a bearhug and he secured a four-point throw to win 6-6.

Aghajanyan scored exposure from par terre to lead 3-2 before Esmaeili scored a takedown on the edge just before the break.

In the second period, Esmaeili worked more but there was no passivity call as Aghajanyan scored two stepouts to lead 5-2.

Esmaeili tried going for a takedown but his hands moved below the Aghajanyan’s waist and the move was illegal. Iran challenged the call but lost. It seemed that the final was all locked up when the U20 Asian champion stunned Aghajanyan, and the crowd with the throw to take the criteria lead.

Ali ABEDIDARZI (IRI)Ali ABEDIDARZI (IRI) scored six stepout points against Iussuf MATSIYEV (KAZ) in the 97kg final. (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)

The third gold medal for Iran came in emphatic fashion as Ali ABEDIDARZI (IRI) won the 97kg weight class over Iussuf MATSIYEV (KAZ).

Matsiyev took a 4-0 lead with a stepout and turn from par terre and Abedidarzi was struggling to get going with his attacks. But just before the break, he scored two stepouts and Matsiyev was hit with caution for fleeing.

Abedidarzi scored three more stepouts in the second period to claim the lead 5-4. When Matsiyev was called passive, Abedidarzi continued the bout from standing and scored three points to win 9-4.

Kanan ABDULLAZADE (AZE)Kanan ABDULLAZADE (AZE) won the gold at 67kg after beating Nika BROLADZE (GEO). (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)

Azerbaijan won the remaining two gold medals as Kanan ABDULLAZADE (AZE) won the 67kg weight class while Gurban GURBANOV (AZE) won at 72kg.

Abdullazade wrestled Nika BROLADZE (GEO) in the final and fell when the latter took the 1-1 criteria lead. Broladze planned to keep the lead until the end of the six minutes but Abdullazade scored a stepout with a minute and 13 seconds left.

Broladze, with time running out, tried to throw Abdullazade but both wrestlers fell with no control. But in the same sequence, Abdulladze managed to run around and score a go-behind to extend his lead to 4-1 for the win.

Gurban GURBANOV (AZE)Gurban GURBANOV (AZE) celebrates after emerging as the champion at 72kg. (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)

Gurbanov had a similar script for his final as he defeated Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA), 4-0, in the 72kg final. Perhaps he did not plan to get the first passivity point but Solovei was called passive and forced into par terre.

The former U17 world champion got the turn using a gut wrench to lead 3-0 at the break. He then continued to wrestle aggressively in the second period and Solovei was again called passive. This time Gurbanov did not get the turn but the score read 4-0.

Solovei got his chance to score when the third passivity was called against Gurbanov but Solovei had nothing left in him to turn the Azerbaijan wrestler.

Richard KARELSON (EST)Richard KARELSON (EST), blue, won Estonia's first-ever medal at U20 World Championships. (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)

Estonia’s historic medal

No Estonia Greco-Roman wrestler even won a medal at the U20 Worlds but Richard KARELSON (EST) changed that on Sunday as he won a bronze medal in the 97kg weight class after beating Roman BALCHIVSCHII (MDA), 8-0, in the bronze medal bout.

In June, Karelson had become the first U20 European champion from Estonia in Greco-Roman. He was the second ever Estonian Greco-Roman wrestler to enter the final.

Incidentally, his father is also named Richard.

“It’s a great feeling,” Karelson said. “I hope I can work on this and win at the U23 Worlds as well. I know that the competition will be harder than this.

Karelson's father was the one who forced his son into wrestling after he was growing too fast.

In the previous two U20 Worlds, Karelson had finished 15th in Ufa and 12th in Tallin, his hometown. But with the bronze medal in Sofia, Karelson hopes he can lift his performance moving forward.

"The U20 European gold and this bronze medal will help me get some funds," he said. "Now I hope to continue this performance and train more."

With the U17 and U20 behind, the action now moves on to the World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia in two weeks. 

IranIran won the Greco-Roman team title at the U20 World Championships. (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)



BRONZE: Nihat MAMMADLI (AZE) df. Koto GOMI (JPN), 3-3 


BRONZE: Seyed SOHRABI (IRI) df. Nestori MANNILA (FIN), 11-2

GOLD: Gurban GURBANOV (AZE) df. Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA), 4-0

BRONZE: Irfan MIRZOIEV (UKR) df. Igor BOTEZ (ROU), 7-6




BRONZE: Rohit DAHIYA (IND) df. Ruslan ABDIIEV (UKR), 8-7 (via cautions)
BRONZE: Alperen BERBER (TUR) df. Fares GHALY (EGY), 9-1


BRONZE: Nurmanbet RAIMALY UULU (KGZ) df. Luka KATIC (SRB), 9-0