U23 World Championships day five semifinals set

By Vinay Siwach

PONTEVEDRA, Spain (October 21) -- The U23 World Championships enters day five with freestyle action in five weight classes -- 57kg, 65kg, 70kg, 79kg, and 97kg. The bouts will go through the semifinal round before the evening session which will see the medal bouts of women's wrestling.


The semifinals for the evening session



Yahya THOMAS (USA) vs. Amirmohammad YAZDANI (IRI)

Carter STAROCCI (USA) vs. Daulet YERGESH (KAZ)

Amirali AZARPIRA (IRI) vs. Ertugrul AGCA (GER)
Tanner SLOAN (USA) vs. Islam ILYASOV (AZE) 

14:45: Aman wins 13-2 against Abe to move into the 57kg semifinal against Bekzat ALMAZ UULU (KGZ) who defeated Munkh Erdene BATKHUYAG (MGL) via fall. The other semifinal will have Giorgi GEGELASHVILI (GEO) going up against Ahmet DUMAN (TUR) who defeated Kamil KERYMOV (UKR) 14-4. 

14:30: At 97kg, Tanner SLOAN (USA) with a 6-3 win over Andro MARGISHVILI (GEO) and moves into the semifinals against Islam ILYASOV (AZE) who defeats Yunus GAFUROV (KAZ) 4-0.

14:15: Giorgi ELBAKIDZE (GEO) hangs on for a 5-4 win against U20 world champion Kanan HEYBATOV (AZE) at 70kg. Earlier at 57kg, Giorgi GEGELASHVILI (GEO) avenged his U23 European final loss against Horst LEHR (GER). Gegelashvili was leading 4-3 when he tried a four but Lehr countered. Both wrestlers got two points each. Lehr, still needing a takedown to win, tried a desperate chest wrap but gave up four points. Gegelashvili won 11-6

14:00: Amirali AZARPIRA (IRI) wins 10-0 against Richard VEGH (HUN) and moves into the semifinals at 97kg. On Mat C, Matthews with a comeback against Askarov won made it 4-3 and tried scoring a takedown but Askarov with an ankle pick and win 6-4. On Mat A, Starocci moves into the semifinal with a 7-1 win over Balta.

13:55: Big matches going on concurrently. Cole MATTHEWS (USA) has Adlan ASKAROV (KAZ) at 65kg on Mat C. Defending champion Amirali AZARPIRA (IRI) wrestling Richard VEGH (HUN) at 97kg on Mat B and Carter STAROCCI (USA) is up against Abdulvasi BALTA (TUR) at 79kg.

13:50: Erik ARUSHANIAN (UKR) and Dominik LARITZ (SUI) wrestled for only two minutes and 13 seconds but racked up 16 points. Arushanian wins 16-4 to move into the quarterfinals at 65kg.

13:45: Amirmohammad YAZDANI (IRI) has to show up back on the mat in a quick time. He wrestles Kota TAKAHASHI (JPN) at 70kg. He has takedown but also gives up one. He leads 5-3 at the break. He then makes it 7-3 but Takahashi answers with two takedowns to lead 7-7. Yazdani with a suplex for 4! Two exposures on Takahashi make it 15-7. Yazdani wins 17-7

13:37: More action at 57kg as Bekzat ALMAZ UULU (KGZ) beats Vitali ARUJAU (USA) 11-6 to set up a quarterfinal against Munkh Erdene BATKHUYAG (MGL) while AMAN (IND) moves into the quarterfinal against Abe.

13:30: Ahmad MOHAMMADNEZHAD (IRI) is wrestling world bronze medalist Horst LEHR (GER). A 2-2 first period with Lehr leading on criteria. Horst with a five! He goes behind Mohammadnezhad and launches a suplex. Perfection. He gives up a takedown but leads 7-4. He moves on with a 9-4 win.

13:15: Amirmohammad YAZDANI (IRI) and Syrbaz TALGAT (KAZ) going down on Mat C at 70kg. Yazdani starts with a takedown before Talgat adds a stepout. Yazdani with a stepout and takedown to lead 5-3 at the break. Talgat starts the second period with a stepout. Yazdani answers with a double leg for two. A single leg for Talgat and he scores a stepout. Yazdani leads 7-5 and shoots a low attack and converts it into a takedown. Talgat tries to attack but is easily countered by Yazdani who now leads 11-5. Yazdani ends it with a 15-5 technical superiority win

13:00: These 65kg quarterfinals!

Vazgen TEVANYAN (ARM) vs. Ryoma ANRAKU (JPN)
Hamza ALACA (TUR) vs. Samuel ALVAREZ (PUR) 

12:50: Former U20 world champion Toshiya ABE (JPN) begins with a 6-0 win against Logan SLOAN (CAN) at 57kg. He moves closer to a rematch against Vitali ARAJAU (USA) who he beat to win the U20 gold.

12:30: At 97kg, Richard VEGH (HUN) pulls off a last-second move to beat Radu LEFTER (MDA) 7-6. Lefter was the returning silver medalist. But the returning gold medalist Amirali AZARPIRA (IRI) moves into the quarterfinals with a 12-2 win over Vasyl SOVA (UKR)  

11:55: Vagzen TEVANYAN (ARM) and Adlan ASKAROV (KAZ) continue their winning runs and move into the quarterfinals at 65kg. On Mat A, Ahmad MOHAMMADNEZHAD (IRI) scores a late exposure after getting thrown for four to win 5-4 against Manvel KHNDZRTSYAN (ARM) at 57kg.

11:35: At 70kg, Kota TAKAHASHI (JPN) works up a 7-4 win over European silver medalist Arman ANDREASYAN (ARM). Takahashi has a win over world champion Taishi NARIKUNI (JPN). The next bout is between Hibiki ITO (JPN) and Ertugrul AGCA (GER) at 97kg. Ito, towering 1.95 meters, is the child of a former Olympic wrestler and an Olympic bronze medalist Volleyball player. He has built a 4-2 at the break against Agca. A double-leg attack from Agca gives him a 4-4 criteria lead. A late stepout from a tiring Agca seals it even as Ito tried to get a takedown.

11:25: On Mat A, Vagzen TEVANYAN (ARM) with a dominant 10-0 win over  Daniel COLES (CAN) at 65kg. He is followed by Adlan ASKAROV (KAZ) who also notches up a technical superiority win over Constantin CHIRILOV (BUL)

11:15: A quick 10-0 technical superiority win for senior and U23 European champion Georgios KOUGIOUMTSIDIS (GRE) over Zsombor NAGY (HUN) at 79kg, 

11:00: Erik ARUSHANIAN (UKR), the U20 world champion from 2019, gets started with a 10-0 win over Ivan BADAVROV (BUL) at 65kg.

10:50: A thriller to begin the day! Former U17 world champion Hamza ALACA (TUR) had raced to a lead before Kian MAHMOUD (IRI) mounted a comeback. Alaca struggled with his conditioning but he held on for an 8-7 win.

10:30: Another exciting morning here in Pontevedra. The action on the mat is in the same line with 57kg, 65kg, 70kg, 79kg and 97kg weight classes in action.


Shirai gives Japan special gold; Georgia win team title

By Vinay Siwach

PONTEVEDRA, Spain (October 23) -- Not only Japan won a freestyle gold at the U23 Worlds after four years, but it was also a historic one.

No Japanese freestyle wrestler has won a world title in over 80kg at any age group. Tatsuya SHIRAI (JPN) changed that Sunday with gold at 86kg in Pontevedra, Spain.

On the final day of the U23 World Championships, he stunned one and all to beat Trent HIDLAY (USA) to win 3-3 in the gold medal bout to end a long drought for Japan.

With gold and two bronze medals, Japan finished eighth in the team race which was surprisingly won by Georgia with 141 points. Favorites Iran finished second with 134 points while the USA managed to get third with 112 points.

Georgia crowned two championships while Iran had four but only one wrestler of the former did not reach the medal bouts. Iran had a rather tricky tournament with only five wrestlers reaching the medal bouts.

The USA failed to crown a world champion for the first time since the 2018 U23 World Championships. It won three silver and two bronze medals.

One of the silver medals was won by Hidlay who was surprised by a strong defensive final by Shirai.

"The final was tiring," Shirai said. "After all, it was against the USA. I have never done this before so there was excitement and I had fun."

Shirai did not start on a positive note as Hidlay scored a stepout before making it 2-0 with Shirai's passivity points. But the Japan wrestler scored a stepout before a takedown gave him the lead with two minutes remaining.

He never engaged again. Hidlay, who backs himself with his underhook and pushout, was frustrated as his attacks were easily blocked by Shirai. The referee warned Shirai for not engaging and even penalized him for that.

But Shirai managed to hang on for the win. In freestyle, Hiroaki TAKAGI (JPN) made the 82kg final in the Espoir division (U20) but he was one of the eight wrestlers who failed to win the title.

"My focus is on weight training and sparring," he said. "That's all for me. And I want to improve my training."

At the Japan collegiate championships in August, Shirai won titles in both freestyle [92kg] and Greco-Roman [87kg} at Nippon Sports Science University. 

He now hopes to win a spot on the Japan team for the senior world championships next year. For that, Shirai will wrestle at the Emperor's Cup in December.

"There are many rivals," he said. "I will train hard and win."

Iran's dominance
Out of the five gold medals on offer Sunday, Iran won three of them. U20 world champions Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (IRI) and Amirreaza MASOUMI (IRI) added a U23 world title to their respective age-group gold medals.

The third gold was won by Mohmmadsadegh FIROUZPOUR (IRI) who defeated Khadzhimurad GADZHIYEV (AZE), 5-2, at 74kg.

Firouzpour gave up a takedown against Gadzhiyev but roared with his own takedown to lead 2-2 at the break, before hitting another own one in the second period to all but seal it for him.

Last year, Firouzpour fell in the final of the tournament but redeemed himself with the gold medal in Pontevedra.

At 92kg, the elder Firouzpour continued his unparalleled domination in age-group world championships. He finished with a bronze medal in the U23 Worlds last year but Firouzpour made sure he amends that record by winning the 92kg gold against Jacob CARDENAS (USA), 10-0.

The third gold medal was won by Masoumi who defeated Solomon MANASHVILI (GEO), 13-2, in the 125kg final. Manasvili scored two stepouts to open the scoring but that was all he would score.

Masoumi exposed the poor conditioning of Manashvili, and scored 13 answered points with ease to win his third gold at age-group tournaments.

The fifth gold was captured by Arsen HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) who became a two-time world champion at the U23 level. 

Wrestling Taiyrbek ZHUMASHBEK UULU (KGZ) in the 61kg, Harutyunyan led 1-0 with the point for passivity. But he started the second period with a takedown to make it 3-0. But Zhumashbek Uulu scored a takedown using duck under in the activity period to lead 3-3 on criteria.

Harutyunyan then rallied for a takedown and leg lace to make it 7-1. A late stepout against Harutyunyan just changed the score of the win. The two-time world bronze medal took home with gold medal 7-5.



BRONZE: Emrah ORMANOGLU (TUR) df. Aaron NAGAO (USA), 9-4

GOLD: Mohmmadsadegh FIROUZPOUR (IRI) df. Khadzhimurad GADZHIYEV (AZE), 5-2

BRONZE: Vasile DIACON (MDA) df. Hrayr ALIKHANYAN (ARM), 7-3 
BRONZE: Vadym KURYLENKO (UKR) df. Temuri BERUASHVILI (GEO), via inj. def.

GOLD: Tatsuya SHIRAI (JPN) df. Trent HIDLAY (USA), 3-3


GOLD: Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (IRI) df. Jacob CARDENAS (USA), 10-0

BRONZE: Feyzullah AKTURK (TUR) df. Rizabek AITMUKHAN (KAZ), 14-3 

GOLD: Amirreza MASOUMI (IRI) df. Solomon MANASHVILI (GEO), 13-2

BRONZE: Anthony CASSIOPPI (USA) df. Yurii IDZINSKYI (UKR), via inj. def.
BRONZE: Alisher YERGALI (KAZ) df. Milan KORCSOG (HUN), 6-1