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. 


Higuchi claims 61kg title in first senior world foray

By Ken Marantz

BELGRADE, Serbia (Sept. 18) -- After quixotic attempts to make Japan's team to the Tokyo Olympics at both 57kg and 65kg ultimately failed, 2016 Rio Olympic silver medalist Rei HIGUCHI (JPN) settled in at 61kg for now.

He now has his first senior world title, although it had never really mattered to him before. Higuchi put on one final, dazzling performance in sweeping past Reza ATRI (IRI) by 10-0 technical fall to win the 61kg gold as the World Championships concluded with the final three freestyle finals on Sunday in Belgrade.

"I was finally able to show my actual strength, and I'm glad I could have a solid win in the final without any incident," Higuchi said.

In other finals, Asian champion Rahman AMOUZAD (IRI) signaled a possible changing of the guard at 65kg when the 20-year-old won the gold in a 21-point thriller, while Kyle SNYDER (USA) was hardly troubled in securing his third career world gold and first since 2017 at 97kg.

Higuchi, who won his first senior Asian title in April, had Atri on his heels from the get-go, working his slick tackles to perfection and transitioning well into exposure situations.

The 26-year-old Japanese opened with a double-leg takedown to a lace-lock roll. He then got 2 with a single-leg tackle, secured an inside-leg hook, and forced Atri over for two exposures to end the match at 2:42.

"Yesterday the Iranian looked very strong, so I closely watched all of the videos of him, like the Poland tournament before the Olympics and various others," Higuchi said. "I watched them all. I think analyzing him was a reason for my victory."

With Higuchi's victory, Japan finished a surprising third in the team standings with 70 points, two ahead of Mongolia and Georgia. The United States, which had clinched the team title after the morning session on Saturday, finished on top with 198 points, followed by Iran with 150.

The bulk of Japan's points came on gold-medal runs by Higuchi and Taishi NARIKUNI (JPN), the champion at 70kg on Friday. It marked the first time that Japan had two gold medalists at the same World Championships since 1979, when Yuji TAKADA (JPN) and Hideaki TOMIYAMA (JPN), the latter currently the president of the Japan federation, won in San Diego.

Such trivia doesn't really interest Higuchi. He was more excited about surpassing his coach Kenichi YUMOTO (JPN), who won Olympic silver in 2008 and world bronze in 2011.

"I don't really think about records," Higuchi said. "I have always aimed at being fundamentally sound like coach Yumoto, and I'm so happy to have been able to top him in one way. From when I was little, I studied videos of him and tried to imitate everything he did, the way he grabs arms, gets a high crotch, his single-leg tackles."

Higuchi's run to the world gold caps the roller coaster ride his career had been on since he took the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics when he was dealt a close 3-3 loss in the final by Vladimir KHINCHEGASHILI (GEO) on a late activity point that still stings for Higuchi.

His obsession with making up for that loss and winning an Olympic gold has been the driving force over the past six years, and it was only until recently that he even regarded winning a world or Asian title as worthwhile.

"The Olympics had always been the only thing that concerned me, but eventually I changed my pessimistic thinking of not entering the World Championships or not entering the Asian Championships," he said. "I've always been thinking of how I can win an Olympic gold medal, so I'm not satisfied with this victory. There are still many issues of things I need to work on and fix."

Higuchi's attempt to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics was marked by perseverance and, ultimately, disappointment.

First, he moved up to 65kg, a tough division for someone standing just 1.63 meters, where he would challenge world champion Takuto OTOGURO (JPN). He actually defeated Otoguro once and won the 2018 world U23 gold at that weight, but eventually lost out to the eventual Olympic gold medalist.

In 2019, he made the drastic decision to drop back down to 57kg, which he had not competed in since Rio. His weight had ballooned up to 68kg, and he had only a few months before the All-Japan Championships, which would determine who would go to the Asian Olympic qualifying tournament in 2020.

Limited exclusively to a vegetable diet, he made the weight, then defeated 2017 world champion Yuki TAKAHASHI (JPN) to earn the spot. But then the Olympics and the qualifying tournaments were postponed for a year, meaning he had to maintain his weight at the height of the pandemic for another year.

When the Asian qualifier was finally held in April 2021 in Almaty, the unthinkable happened. Higuchi failed to make weight.

Takahashi was dispatched to the final World Olympic qualifier, earned Japan a spot at 57kg, then defeated Higuchi in a playoff to fill it himself. At a crossroads, Higuchi looked deep into himself to determine what path he would take.

He decided he would spend this year at 61kg, enter the major tournaments that he had previously shunned, and make preparations for a run at the 2024 Paris Olympics, which he said will be at 57kg.

For the Japanese wrestlers, the qualifying path for Paris begins with the All-Japan Championships this December, the first of two domestic qualifiers for next year's World Championships.

His sojourn at 61kg was a positive experience. "Not once did I feel I was inferior to the 61kg wrestlers in terms of attacking," Higuchi said. "I was able to get in on all of my attacks. In terms of defense, I gained a lot in regard to scrambles and keeping the opponent from scoring off attacks."

Higuchi said that he was motivated on Sunday by a visit from Narikuni, who brought his championship belt back to the room and playfully flaunted it in front of Higuchi.

"He won the gold on the first day [of freestyle] and brought the belt back to the room. I hadn't even had a match yet, and he purposely showed it to me...I thought, damn him. But it fired me up, and as there were times we had practiced together since we were little. Honestly, I was happy. I went into my matches thinking that I, too, will not lose. I'm glad I wasn't beaten by Narikuni."

At 65kg, Amouzad scored seven unanswered points to prevail 13-8 in a wild encounter with first-time finalist Yianni DIAKOMIHALIS (USA), in which an opening scramble produced 14 points that were determined once the dust cleared and the video analyzed.

"Thank god I was able to win the gold medal," Amouzad said. "My opponent was very tough. I hope this gold medal will put a smile on the faces of the people of Iran."

Diakomihalis shot for a double leg and, with Amouzad reaching over to counter, the two got tangled up and rolled this way and that as the mat referee tried to keep up. In the end, they both got credit for three exposures, although one of Diakomihalis' was judged to be a 4-pointer because he took Amouzad off his feet, giving the American an 8-6 lead.

Amouzad, the 2021 world U20 champion at 61kg, decided he was better off going on the attack, and got a single-leg takedown to tie it up at the end of the first period, although he remained behind on criteria.

In the second period, Amouzad remained the aggressor, getting a stepout and two takedowns off his single to win 13-8 and give Iran its second gold medal of the championships.

For now, his victory puts Amouzad at the head of a crowded race for gold in Paris.

"The 65kg is a weight class full of extremely tough opponents," he said. "But I am feeling great that I was able to beat my opponents through training in Iran, including with former European and world champions. My goal is to defend the title next year, but the ultimate goal is to win the gold in Paris."

Snyder, not having to contend with nemesis Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RWF) in the 97kg final, was simply too powerful for Russian-born Batyrbek TSAKULOV (SVK), scoring a takedown and three stepouts in notching a 6-0 victory.

"It was good, [I'm] thankful, good opponent," Snyder said. "I haven't won since 2017, and that's a long time for me. It hurts to lose, but I'm very thankful to get on top of the podium again."

Snyder came out with a high-crotch takedown and received an activity clock point for a 3-0 first-period lead against European bronze medalist Tsakulov, who never came close to piercing Snyder's defense the entire match.

In the second period, Snyder powered ahead for three stepouts to add the world title to the ones he won in 2015 and 2017, along with a 2016 Olympic gold. He also has silver medals from 2018 and 2021 and the Tokyo Olympics -- courtesy of Sadulaev -- and a bronze medal from 2019.

"The matches are always good, opponents are good, they wrestle me hard," he said. "I've got a good team, a good coaching staff. They know what I need to focus on."

Snyder's gold was the fourth of the tournament in freestyle for the U.S., tying the 1993 and 1995 teams for the country's most ever. The team in Belgrade medaled in eight of the 10 weight classes.

Snyder's encounters with Sadulaev have been epic, perhaps none more so than his victory at the 2017 worlds as it also clinched the team title for the United States in the last match of the tournament.

"The match in 2017 was super-exciting and the team title on the line and stuff, and that's a lot of fun," he said. "But it's just cool still being able to wrestle for as long as I've been able to. To be back on top, and thankful for all the coaches and all my training partners. So many people have helped me."

While his teammates in Belgrade saved the coaches from some anxious moments with the early clinching, Snyder said he wouldn't have minded if the team race had been closer.

"It's nice having the team title locked up before I go in the finals, but honestly, I'd like to be the one that decides it," he said. "That's the most fun when everything's on you. But it's all good."

Veteran Punia rallies to 65kg bronze

Olympic bronze medalist Bajrang PUNIA (IND) captured his fourth career world medal, putting on the latest comeback of his storied career to slip past Sebastian RIVERA (PUR) with a late takedown for an 11-9 victory at 65kg.

Punia found himself in a 6-point hole right off the bat, as Rivera scored a pair of takedowns, adding an ankle roll after the second one. An inside trip for 4 by Punia and a takedown tied the score and put him ahead on criteria, but Rivera scored with a low shot with :03 left in the first period for an 8-6 lead.

Rivera, who attended Rutgers University in the U.S. and was looking to become just the second world medalist in Puerto Rican history, returned to the ankle pick that he has used to great effect to score a stepout.

But Punia, who has made a career out of rallying to victory, came back with a takedown, then scored the match-winner by going out the back door and gaining control with :31 left for a 10-9 lead. An unsuccessful challenge added the final point as Punia kept India from a podium shutout in freestyle.

"I gave away six points at the start," Punia said. "And the leg defense that I thought would work, just didn’t come off. I need to sit and analyze why it’s not working. It didn’t work in the match I lost, and it didn’t work today when I won as well."

Punia said he has been having trouble defending against leg attacks since injuring his knee at the Tokyo Olympics.

"It doesn’t eat into my confidence, because otherwise I wouldn’t have recovered points," Punia said. "I always fight till the last second because we work hard as wrestlers. I’ll have to figure out if I need more hard work or smart work on the leg defense.”

In the other match at 65kg, Iszmail MUSZUKAJEV (HUN) repeated his victory in the final at this year's European Championships over Olympic silver medalist Haji ALIYEV (AZE), scoring a takedown in each period and hanging on for a 4-2 win for his second career world bronze.

The Russian-born Muszukajev, who began competing for Hungary in 2019, scored a takedown in the first period while on the activity clock, then used an arm drag for a second one to open the second period.

The 31-year-old Aliyev, whose last trip to the medal podium came when he won a third world title in 2017, went into overdrive trying to get back in the match, but all he could manage was a penalty point and a very late stepout.

At 61kg, European champion Arsen HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) cruised to his second straight world bronze with a 12-0 technical fall over Seth GROSS (USA), who had no answer for the barrage of attacks launched by the Armenian.

Harutyunyan piled up three takedowns and three stepouts, all off tackle attempts, before putting the match away at 3:57 with an exposure.

Narankhuu NARMANDAKH (MGL) was equally dominant in taking the other 61kg bronze with a 9-0 rout of European bronze medalist Georgi VANGELOV (BUL), finishing it off with an impressive 4-point body lock to the back.

Narmandakh, a world u23 bronze medalist last year, opened the match with a takedown straight to a lace lock roll for a 4-0 lead. In the second period, the Mongolian received an activity point before slamming down Vangelov to put an exclamation point on his victory.

At 97kg, Russian-born European champion Magomedkhan MAGOMEDOV (AZE) was trailing on criteria when he secured a fall off a counter to defeat Asian champion Mohammadhossein MOHAMMADIAN (IRI) for his first senior world medal.

Mohammadian, aiming for a second world bronze, scored a 2-point exposure off a tackle attempt, after which Magomedov got a reversal. The Iranian then limped-arm out of a whizzer for a takedown to go up 4-1 at the break.

Magomedov, a 2018 world U20 champion, secured a takedown, and a lost Iranian challenge made it 4-4, although Mohammadian led on criteria. But when Mohammadian got in on a tackle, Magomedov reached back and used a chin whip and stepover to put the Iranian onto his back, securing the fall at 4:27.

Givi MATCHARASHVILI (GEO) also became a first-time senior world medalist when he won the other 97kg bronze, riding a 4-point counter lift in the second period to a 5-3 victory over European silver medalist Vladislav BAITSAEV (HUN).

Day 9 Results

61kg (24 entries)
Gold - Rei HIGUCHI (JPN) df. Reza ATRI (IRI) by TF, 10-0, 2:42

Bronze - Arsen HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) df. Seth GROSS (USA) by TF, 12-0, 3:58
Bronze - Narankhuu NARMANDAKH (MGL) df. Georgi VANGELOV (BUL), 9-0

65kg (27 entries)
Gold - Rahman AMOUZAD (IRI) df. Yianni DIAKOMIHALIS (USA), 13-8

Bronze - Iszmail MUSZUKAJEV (HUN) df. Haji ALIYEV (AZE), 4-2
Bronze - Bajrang PUNIA (IND) df. Sebastian RIVERA (PUR), 11-9

97kg (23 entries)
Gold - Kyle SNYDER (USA) df. Batyrbek TSAKULOV (SVK), 6-0

Bronze - Magomedkhan MAGOMEDOV (AZE) df. Mohammadhossein MOHAMMADIAN (IRI) by Fall, 4:27 (6-4)
Bronze - Givi MATCHARASHVILI (GEO) df. Vladislav BAITSAEV (HUN), 5-3