WATCH: 10 Greco-Roman Finals from European Championships
Friday, April 8, 2022 - 06:38 By Vinay Siwach
BUDAPEST, Hungary (April 7) -- The European Championships saw 10 Greco-Roman champions being crowned. One of them, Riza KAYAALP (TUR), won his 11th European title and is now two away from breaking the all-time record 12.
Azerbaijan won the team title over Turkey while Georgia finished third in the title race. Azerbaijan had all ten wrestlers in medal bouts with eight coming home with at least a medal. Only two wrestlers failed to win a medal in Budapest.
Watch all the 10 gold medal bouts from the European Championships.
55kg GOLD - Eldaniz Azizli (AZE) vs Nugzari Tsurtsumia (GEO)
Azizli wrestled his rival and world champion from 2019 Nugzari Tsurtsumia (GEO). Prior to this meeting, the two had wrestled each other four times with Azizli enjoying a perfect 4-0 record over Tsurtsumia. He extended that record to 5-0 when he won 8-2 in the 55kg final.
Azizli got the point for his opponent's passivity and a roll gave him a 3-1 lead. Tsurtsumia tried exposing with a head pinch but in turn, ended up giving two points. In the same action, Azizli scored two more and led 7-1 with two minutes remaining before closing out the bout 8-2.
60kg GOLD - Kerem Kamal (TUR) vs Edmond Nazaryan (BUL)
Kerem KAMAL (TUR) was third time lucky in the final as he won the gold after previously losing two finals in 2020 and 2021. But in his third final in three years, he defeated former European champ Edmond NAZARYAN (BUL) 5-0 to win at 60kg.
63kg GOLD - Leri Abuladze (GEO) vs Taleh Mammadov (AZE)
Georgia did have a gold medalist Saturday as U23 World champion Leri Abuladze (GEO) added a European title to his resume. He wrestled Taleh Mammadov (AZE) in the 63kg final and controlled it well. His one scoring action in par terre in the second period was enough to give him a 3-1 win over Mammadov, his first in two meetings.
67kg GOLD - Murat Firat (TUR) vs Krisztian Vancza (HUN)
Murat FIRAT (TUR) denied Krisztian VANCZA (HUN) a gold medal at home. In the close final, Firat used an exposure close to the zone to win 3-1. Vancza had his chance to take the lead when Firat was called passive but he did not manage to score any points from par terre in the second period.
72kg GOLD - Robert Attila Fritsch (HUN) vs Shmagi Bolkvadze (GEO)
Robert FRITSCH (HUN) upset Rio bronze medalist Shmagi BOLKVADZE (GEO), 3-2, at the 72kg final. In one of the closest bouts of the tournament, Bolkvadze led 1-0 at the break for a passivity point. But Fritsch bounced back with a gut wrench from par terre to lead 3-1. A reversal point for Bolkvadze but his lead to 3-2 but he managed to hang on for the win.
77kg GOLD - Malkhas Amoyan (ARM) vs Yunus Emre Basar (TUR)
Malkhas AMOYAN (ARM) won the 77kg European title. The world champion at 72kg was making his debut at 77kg and wrestled Yunus Basar (TUR) in the final. He was called passive and gave up a gut wrench to trail 3-0 at the break. But he got the same action using a chest wrap in the second period to lead 3-3 on criteria.
Turkey challenged the call asking for a leg foul but the judges found no negative wrestling which gave another point to Amoyan, extending his lead 4-3 with two minutes remaining.
The silver medalist from Warsaw European Championships was again called passive but this time Basar could not get any exposure from par terre as Amoyan let out a loud scream to celebrate his maiden gold at the continental championships.
82kg GOLD - Rafig Huseynov (AZE) vs Gela Bolkvadze (GEO)
In a historic feat, Rafiq HUSEYNOV (AZE) became the first-ever Azerbaijan wrestler to win three European titles. Wrestling Gela BOLKVADZE (GEO) in the 82kg final, Huseynov gave up a point for passivity but defended the par terre position. Georgia asked for a challenge for Huseynov's fleeing but lost it. Huseynov got the second point from Bolkvadze's passivity and kept the 2-1 lead to win the gold.
87kg GOLD - Turpan BISULTANOV (DEN) vs Nicu OJOG (ROU)
Bisultanov won the gold for Denmark at the European championship, outscoring his opponents 35-0 over two days and with his crowd-pleasing style became a fan favorite in Budapest. Wrestling Nicu Ojog (ROU) in the 87kg final, Bisultanov took only one minute and 13 seconds to finish the bout 8-0. In his four bouts, he did not wrestle the full six minutes in any, spending just over 13 minutes on the mat.
97kg GOLD - Kiril MILOV (BUL) vs Arvi SAVOLAINEN (FIN)
Kiril MILOV (BUL) upgraded from his silver in 2019. With fond memories of Budapest, he changed the color of his medal with an error-less performance in the final against Arvi SAVOLAINEN (FIN), 4-1. Milov got the match-deciding gut wrench in the second period to defeat the former U23 world champion Savolainen who won the title in Budapest three years ago.
130kg GOLD - Riza KAYAALP (TUR) vs Danila SOTNIKOV (ITA)
Riza Kayaalp (TUR) is on a mission to break Alexander Karelin (RWF) record of 12 European gold medals. He took another step closer to that by winning his 11th gold in Budapest. The four-time world champion defeated Danila Sotnikov (ITA), 4-0 in the 130kg final using a head-pinch exposure when the Italian was trying to push him out.