U23 World Championships day six semis set

By Vinay Siwach

PONTEVEDRA, Spain (October 22) -- The U23 World Championships enters day six, the last full day of the tournament with five freestyle weight classes. Wrestlers in 61kg, 74kg, 86kg, 92kg and 125kg will be in action.


Semifinals for the evening session


Temuri BERUASHVILI (GEO) vs. Mohmmadsadegh FIROUZPOUR (IRI)
Vasile DIACON (MDA) vs. Khadzhimurad GADZHIYEV (AZE)

Tatsuya SHIRAI (JPN) vs. Evsem SHVELIDZE (GEO)

Miriani MAISURADZE (GEO) vs. Jacob Thomas CARDENAS (USA)
Feyzullah AKTURK (TUR) vs. Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (IRI)

Alisher YERGALI (KAZ) vs. Amirreza MASOUMI (IRI)

15:10: In the final bout of the session, Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (IRI) into the semifinals with a 12-0 win over Tejvir BOAL (CAN).

14:55: Arsen HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) with a 9-3 win over Assyl AITAKYN (KAZ) and the defending champion is back in the semifinals at 61kg.

14:40: Down goes defending champion Mukhammed ALIIEV (UKR). Evsem SHVELIDZE (GEO) first made it 5-4 and when Aliiev tried scoring a stepout, Shvelidze countered with a takedown. A big chest lock for four and the fall.

14:30: Temuri BERUASHVILI (GEO) pulls off a stunning win at 74kg against David CARR (USA) in the quarterfinals. Carr led 3-2 when Beruashvili scored a stepout with 11 seconds remaining. Carr tries to get a stepout but Beruashvili circles back and Carr cannot score the takedown as well. A lost challenge makes it 4-3

14:28: Trent HIDLAY (USA) with another controlled win. He moves into the 86kg semifinals with a 6-0 victory over Maksat SATYBALDY (KAZ). A strong arm-trap to the 4 points early in the first period.

14:22: Miriani MAISURADZE (GEO) is in the 92kg semifinals. Sergey SARGSYAN (ARM) had built an 8-0 lead over Maisuradze but the second period was a completely different story as Sargsyan scored three takedowns before a leg lace got him a 16-8 win.

14:10: Andrii DZHELEP (UKR) and Emrah ORMANOGLU (TUR) put on a show in that 61kg quarterfinal. Ormanoglu led 3-2 before a takedown and when Dzhelep got him into a body, Ormanoglu countered with a powerful throw to extend his lead to 7-2, a score by which he won.

14:00: Feyzullah AKTURK (TUR) with a solid 10-0 win over U23 European silver medalist Johannes MAYER (GER). He moves into the 92kg quarterfinal against Gkivi BLIATZE (GRE). 

13:40: Two big losses for the USA hurting them for the team race. Taiyrbek ZHUMASHBEK UULU (KGZ) beats Aaron NAGAO (USA) 9-0 at 61kg and Manashvili wins 16-4 against Cassioppi at 125kg.

13:34: Anthony CASSIOPPI (USA), the defending world champion at 125kg, is up against Solomon MANASHVILI (GEO) and in trouble. Manashvili builds up an 8-2 lead before Cassioppi tries a headlock but fails. Manashvili leads 12-4 at the break.

13:30: Andrii DZHELEP (UKR) makes it look so easy. He wins 11-4 against Kodai OGAWA (JPN) to move into the 61kg quarters.

13:15: Assyl AITAKYN (KAZ) shows how it is done against Armin HABIBZADEH (IRI). The Kazakhstan wrestler makes quick moves against a very defensive Habibzadeh to win 9-1. He will take on defending champion Arsen HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) in quarters.

13:00: At 125kg, Alisher YERGALI (KAZ) is a big contender to win the gold. He is into the 1/8 final against Vakhit GALAYEV (AZE). 

12:20: U20 world champion Amirreza MASOUMI ((IRI) turning up the heat here. He storms to an 11-0 win over Adil MISIRCI (TUR) and moves into the 125kg quarterfinals

12:00: Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (IRI) is on a different level at these age-group World Championships. He beats Rizabek AITMUKHAN (KAZ) 11-2 and advances at 92kg. He has unfinished business at U23 Worlds.

11:50: Another defending champion begins with a win. Arsen HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) leg laces Yousef EISSA (EGY) to start at 61kg.

11:35: Defending champion at 86kg Mukhammed ALIIEV (UKR) was down 9-5 against Ivars SAMUSONOKS (LAT) in the opening bout but Aliiev rallied for 14 answered points to win 19-9 and advanced.

11:00: This is the start of the day we were looking for. Sajjad GHOLAMI (IRI) had built a 6-0 lead but Trent HIDLAY (USA) never stopped coming at him. Gholami eventually felt the pressure and succumbed to a 13-6 loss at 86kg.

10:30: Welcome to day six of the U23 World Championships as the final five weight classes of freestyle go on the mat. We will move straight into the qualification rounds after repechage.


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