World Championships day six semis set

By Ken Marantz & Vinay Siwach

BELGRADE, Serbia (September 15) -- The freestyle action in men's begins on day six of the World Championships in Belgrade with superstars competing in 70kg, 79kg, 86kg and 125kg at the Stark Arena.


The semifinals for the evening session


Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR) vs. Mohammad NOKHODI (IRI)

Hassan YAZDANI (IRI) vs. Boris MAKOEV (SVK)

Amir Hossein ZARE (IRI) vs. Taha AKGUL (TUR)

14:38: Ali UMARPASHAEV (BUL) trailed Yudai TAKAHASHI (JPN) 3-2 till the final five seconds when he got Takahashi's knee touching the mat to win 4-3. Japan challenges the call but there is a clear touch. Umarpashaev wins 5-3.

14:36: Vasyl MYKHAILOV (UKR), the winner of the Rome tournament in June, plows into the 79kg semifinals with a 10-0 technical fall over Georgios KOUGIOUMTSIDIS (GRE). After a first-period takedown, Mykhailov gets a takedown and two exposures in the second period and then ends the match with a third takedown.

14:35: Mohammad NOKHODI (IRI) puts on a takedown clinic, scoring four in a 10-5 victory over Olympic bronze medalist Bekzod ABDURAKHMONOV (UZB) to make the 79kg semifinals.

14:30: Jordan BURROUGHS (USA), chasing his sixth world title, looks as good as ever. He makes it look so easy as he did against Arsalan BUDAZHAPOV (KGZ), steamrolling to an 11-0 win.

14:25: Amir ZARE (IRI) and Taha AKGUL (TUR) set up a mouth-watering semifinal at 125kg with similar one-sided victories on adjacent mats. Zare uses a spin-behind takedown to finish up a 10-0 technical fall over Oleksandr KHOTSIANIVSKYI (UKR). About a minute later, Akgul defeats Amarveer DHESI (CAN) 8-2. The only difference was a nifty ankle pick that Dhesi used to score a takedown against Akgul.

14:25: Lkhagvagerel MUNKHTUR (MGL) led Oleg BOLTIN (KAZ) 4-2 in the 125kg quarterfinals but Boltin kept the pressure on. Munkhtur, however, manages to keep the score and win. He will face Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO).

14:23: Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) is moving into the semifinals at 125kg as he beats Hayden ZILLMER (USA) 9-4 in a very controlled bout.

14:13: Zurabi IAKOBISHVILI (GEO) gets a stepout in the first period and an activity point in the second, and that's all the scoring in a tense 70kg quarterfinal victory over Servet COSKUN (TUR).

14:11: Zain RETHERFORD (USA) keeps his gold-medal hopes alive with a solid 5-0 victory over Arman ANDREASYAN (ARM) to make the 70kg semifinals. After getting an activity point in the first period, Retherford stays on the attack and scores a takedown and three stepouts for the win.

14:07: Ernazar AKMATELIEV (KGZ) completes a technical superiority win as well. Ramazan RAMAZANOV (BUL) did try some tricks but Akmataliev keeps the counters coming and wins 11-0. He will face Narikuni in the semifinals, a rematch of the Asian Championships final which was won by Narikuni.

14:06: Asian champion Taishi NARIKUNI (JPN) with an anti-climatic technical superiority win over Ilyas BEKBULATOV (UZB). He goes for a big four exposure and then a chest wrap gut for a 10-0 win at 70kg.

13:56: Boris MAKOEV (SVK) got a 4-0 lead against Tarzan MAISURADZE (GEO) but the Georgian has since bounced back with two takedowns and a stepout to lead 5-4. Slovakia challenge the call and the two points are taken off. 4-3 lead for Makoev. He got a takedown but Maisuradze changed the direction and got the two. He is awarded two more but Slovakia challenges asking for two and two. The review takes out two from Maisuradze. 5-4 lead for the Georgian. But Makoev with a two in the final second to win 6-5.

13:53: Asian champion Azamat DAULETBEKOV gets a 4-point cradle to the back in the second period against Olympic bronze medalist Myles AMINE (SMR) and he's into the 86kg semifinals with a 9-1 victory.

13:48: David TAYLOR (USA) looks just awesome in his quest for a second world title, putting away Ethan RAMOS (PUR) by technical fall 11-0 in 1:34. A takedown and two gut wrenches, then another takedown and another gut wrench finished the job. A capricious challenge at the end was unsuccessful, adding another point.  

13:45: The quarterfinals begin at 86kg Hassan YAZDANI (IRI) taking on Sebastian JEZIERZANSKI (POL) on Mat C. He gets a stepout to start. Takedown and gut to make it 5-0. Yazdani keeps the pressure and wins 11-0 within three minutes.

13:38: Mohammad NOKHODI (IRI) is through to the 79kg quarterfinals with a 10-0 technical fall over Aulguun ALTANZUL (MGL), much to the delight of the horn-honking, chanting Iranian fans at Stark Arena.

13:36: Yudai TAKAHASHI (JPN), who went to his first senior worlds while still in high school in 2021, makes it to the quarterfinals this time at 79kg when he scores a stepout with :28 left to defeat  Arman AVAGYAN (ARM) 7-6. Takahashi was trailing on criteria at the time.

13:27: Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) hits those doubles like no one else. He moves into the 79kg quarterfinals with a 12-1 win over Dejan MITROV (MKD).

13:26: Taha AKGUL (TUR), going for his third world title and seventh medal overall, gets a pair of takedowns near the edge in the first period and that was enough for a 4-0 victory over DANIEL LIGETI (HUN) and place in the 125 quarterfinals.

13:19: European champion and returning bronze medalist Zurabi IAKOBISHVILI (GEO) encounters stiff resistance from Temuulen EHKHTUYA (MGL) to start his campaign at 70kg. An activity point gives him a 2-1 lead, and that's how it ends to put Iakobishvili into the quarterfinals.

13:14: Olympic silver medalist Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) warms up with a fall over DINESH (IND) and moves into the quarterfinals at 125kg. His match is followed up by Amir Hossein ZARE (IRI) against Zhiwei DENG (CHN). Zare leads 2-0 at the break. A passivity against Deng in the second period makes it 3-0. That will be the final score of the bout.

13:09: Taishi NARIKUNI (JPN) gets the fall on Mat A over Syrbaz TALGAT (KAZ) to make the 70kg quarterfinals, but not without some drama. Narikuni is trailing 4-2 in the second period when he gets in on a tackle. Talgat gets on top to defend, but Narikuni rises up and rolls forward. He is awarded 2, but Kazakhstan challenges—and the call is changed to 4! With the lost challenge point, now it's 7-4. Narikuni gets a takedown, a roll, then stacks up Talgat for the fall with :38 left.

13:09: At 125kg, Hayden ZILLMER (USA) hangs on for a 3-2 win over European bronze medalist Robert BARAN (POL). That means the USA will get team points at 125kg, a huge aspect in the team race.

13:02: Olympic champion David TAYLOR (USA) needs just 51 seconds to get a takedown, lock up an arm and roll back and forth four times to defeat Aron CANEVA (ITA) by 10-0 technical fall and advance to the 86kg quarterfinals.

13:00: Tarzan MAISURADZE (GEO) goes into the break at 86kg against 2021 bronze medalist Abubakr ABAKAROV (AZE) leading 3-1 after giving up a takedown and a fleeing penalty. Abakarov gets in on leg late in the second period, but Maisuradze defends and comes away with the win and a spot in the quarterfinals.

12:56: Ernazar AKMATALIEV (KGZ) gives up a takedown against Maxim SACULTAN (MDA) but remains unfazed. In the second period, Sacultan tries to trip Akmataliev who counters with a four and gut wrenches to a 13-2 win.  

12:50: Russian-born Iakub SHIKHDZHAMALOV (ROU) gets the early takedown against Mohammad NOKHODI (IRI), the returning silver medalist from 2021 at 79kg. Nokhodi spins behind for 2, then adds a pair of rolls to go up 6-2. A counter lift by the bearded Shikhdzhamalov and a Nokhodi reversal makes it 7-4 at the break. Shikhdzhamalov gets behind to cut the gap to 1 midway through the second period, but Nokhodi holds on for a 7-6 win.

12:48: Olympic bronze medalist Myles AMINE (SMR) up against Ivars SAMUSONOKS (LAT) and he takes the 2-0 lead with a takedown. He adds one more in the second period and will hold on for a 4-0 win.

12:43: Hassan YAZDANI (IRI) is walking out and you know that as the Iran fans cheer him. He is facing Ivan ICHIZLI (MDA) at 86kg. A slow start from the defending world champion but he works more in the second period for a 10-0 technical superiority win.

12:32: Arman AVAGYAN (ARM), a 2021 world U23 bronze medalist, wins points on both offense and defense in beating Adam THOMPSON (CAN) by 11-0 technical fall at 79kg.

12:25: Big match at 79kg as Bekzod ABDURAKHMONOV (UZB), who won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics at 74kg, facing Muhammet AKDENIZ (TUR). Abdurakhmonov went up to 86kg but has come back to 79kg for this tournament. He is up 1-0 at the break. A scramble gives two points for Abdurakhmanov and one for Akdeniz. A second scramble results in a four-pointer for Akdeniz but Uzbekistan and it's only two. Turkey leads 3-3 on criteria. A double from Abdurakhmonov and he takes the lead. An attack from Akdeniz but he gives up points. Challenge from Turkey as Akdeniz suffers a 7-3 loss. A lost challenge and Abdurakhmonov wins 8-3

12:21: 2020 Asian champion Arsalan BUDAZHAPOV (KGZ) leaves it late but gets a double-leg takedown with :25 left to defeat 2021 European silver medalist Saifedine ALEKMA (FRA) 2-2 on criteria at 79kg.

12:20: European champion Georgios KOUGIOUMTSIDIS (GRE) could not have asked for a tougher start to his World Championships. Facing Alans AMIROVS (LAT) at 79kg, he scores a stepout a point for passivity and another stepout to win 3-1.

12:11: A 7-0 victory on Mat B by Daniel LIGETI (HUN) over Taiki YAMAMOTO (JPN) at 125kg earns him a date in the round of 16 with former world and Olympic champion Taha AKGUL (TUR).

12:05: Five-time world champion Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) is coming up on Mat C against Sahergeldi SAPARMYRADOV (TKM). Burroughs gives up a stepout but comes back to hit the iconic double to complete a 12-1 win

12:00: World bronze medalist Zhiwei DENG (CHN) up on Mat C against Aydin AHMADOV (AZE) and he keeps it moving for six minutes and completes a 5-0 win over Ahmadov.

11:58: Two-time world medalist Reineris SALAS (CUB), a Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist at 97kg who has moved up to 125kg, falls behind on criteria when he gives up a takedown to Pan Am champ Amarveer DHESI (CAN) with two minutes left in the second period. Dhesi, with Salas on the activity clock, adds a stepout. With a minute to go, Dhesi is up 4-2, then squirms out of a takedown attempt for the win. 

11:45: Zyyamuhammet SAPAROV (TKM) got the opening arm-spin four against Hayden ZILLMER (USA) but the American rallied back to win 15-4 at 125kg.

11:39: Asian champion Taishi NARIKUNI (JPN), whose mother Akiko IIJIMA was a two-time world champion and his coach as a youth, took the first step in emulating his mom in his senior world debut with a 6-1 victory over Naveen MALIK (IND) at 70kg.    

11:35: Zain RETHERFORD (USA), a big favorite to win the gold medal at 70kg, shows why is it so. He rocks and roll Kevin HENKEL (GER) for a technical superiority win.    

11:28: A bit of bad blood on Mat A. Fati VEJSELI (MKD) gives European bronze medalist Ramazan RAMAZANOV (BUL) a shove as the two are on the mat at the end of their 70kg match, which was won 7-4 by Ramazanov.

11:20: Ilyas BEKBULATOV (UZB), making his debut at the World Championships, wins his opening match via technical superiority against Anthony WESLEY (CPV) at 70kg. Bekbulatov has been wrestling for Uzbekistan since 2019. 

11:18: Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA), coming off a gold-medal run at last month's World U20, storms out to an 8-point lead at 86kg against Ethan RAMOS (PUR), only to see his opponent come back with six of his own, all in the first period. Magamadov gets a takedown and roll, but Ramos comes back with a takedown. Then the ceiling falls on the Frenchman, as Ramos muscles him over for a fall as if to say, welcome to the big league.

11:09: At 86kg, European champion Myles AMINE (SMR), the U.S.-raised star who became a hero in his grandfather's homeland of San Marino when he won the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics,  comes out the back door to score a 2-point exposure against Zushen LIN (CHN) and go-ahead 2-2 on criteria. He does the same move in the second period, then gives up a stepout. An unsuccessful challenge gives him a 5-3 win.

11:08: Returning bronze medalist Abubakr ABAKAROV (AZE) against Khasan ZAKARIIEV (UKR) on Mat D. He gives up four early points but then bounces back in the second period with two takedowns to lead 4-4. He scores a stepout as the time expires to win 5-4

11:03: Tarzan MAISURADZE (GEO) trailed for most of the bout but he scored a takedown with 34 seconds remaining to pick up a 4-4 win over Sanjeet KUNDU (IND) at 86kg. 

10:54: Fatih ERDIN (TUR) gets a takedown and gut against Sebastian JEZIERZANSKI (POL) to lead 6-0 but the Poland wrestler returns to secure a 16-6 technical superiority using a lace.

10:49: Ivan ICHIZLI (MDA) gets a couple of rolls in defeating Bat Erdene BYAMBASUREN (MGL) 7-0 at 86kg in the opening match on Mat A. That sends him into the next round, where he will be the opening opponent for formidable three-time world champion Hassan YAZDANI (IRI).

10:29: Greetings from Belgrade for another great day of wrestling (what day isn't?) In today's morning session, the men return to the mat for the qualification rounds in freestyle at 70kg, 79kg, 86kg and 125kg. You can expect the action to be hot and heavy. 


WATCH: 10 freestyle finals from World Championships

By Vinay Siwach

BELGRADE, Serbia (September 29) -- The World Championships in Belgrade concluded with freestyle action. The USA lived up to the expectation of winning the team title, outscoring Iran to claim the trophy. Japan finished third with two gold medals. The USA won four gold, Iran won two while Albania and Turkey shared one each.

Watch all the 10 freestyle gold medal bouts from the World Championships.

GOLD: 57kg - Thomas GILMAN (USA) vs. Zelimkhan ABAKAROV (ALB)


GOLD: 61kg - Rei HIGUCHI (JPN) vs. Reza ATRI (IRI)


GOLD: 86kg - Hassan YAZDANI (IRI) vs. David TAYLOR (USA)


GOLD: 92kg - Kamran GHASEMPOUR (IRI) vs. Jden COX (USA)