#WrestleSkopje Weight-to-watch: 87kg (Greco-Roman)
Friday, May 14, 2021 - 12:05 By Eric Olanowski
SKOPJE, North Macedonia (May 13) – Rising stars Aleksandr KOMAROV (RUS) and Istvan TAKACS (HUN) headline the 18-man 87kg Greco-Roman bracket at the U23 European Championships (May 17-23). The weight will also feature a total of seven wrestlers with age-group world medals.
Komarov, the four-time age-group world and European gold medalist, will make his U23 debut in Skopje. He closed out his junior career in '18 – winning a fourth consecutive world title before grabbing the reigns at 87kg on Russia's senior squad.
Komarov's success from the cadet and junior levels quickly transitioned to the senior level. In his 14 senior-level appearances, the young Russian stud claimed a whopping ten gold medals – highlighted by '19 gold medals at the Russian National Championships and the Dan Kolov - Nikola Petrov Ranking Series Tournament.
Most recently, Komarov appeared in Russia's lineup at the '20 European Championships. He went 3-1 and finished with a bronze medal. Despite falling to eventual champion Semen NOVIKOV (UKR) in the semifinals, Komarov ended his trip to Italy with a shocking 3-1 win over two-time world champion Metehan BASAR (TUR).
Komarov's biggest threat to winning 87kg U23 European gold will be one of the future faces of Hungarian wrestling, Istvan TAKACS (HUN).
Takacs, a '19 junior world champion and three-time age-group world medalist, will also be making his U23 debut. Like Komarov's ascent to the senior level after winning his junior world title, Takacs did the same. He grabbed gold at the '19 Junior World Championships in Tallin, Estonia, and bumped up to the senior circuit.
Takacs finished in second place at the Hungarian Championships in his first senior outing. He then dropped to a seventh-place finish at the Individual World Cup but stormed back to win Ranking Series gold at January's Matteo Pellicone. During his run to a first senior gold medal, Takacs stopped '19 world silver medalist Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) and David LOSONCZI (HUN). He halted Lorincz from winning a historic seventh Ranking Series title before avenging his Hungarian c'ship finals loss to Losonczi to win gold.
Other guys who command attention at 87kg are '18 U23 world silver medalist Nicu OJOG (ROU), cadet world champs Lachin VALIYEV (AZE) and Dmytro KIIASHOK (UKR) and junior world bronze medalists Ihar YARASHEVICH (BLR) and Muhutdin SARICICEK (TUR)
Two other dark horses who are poised to make some noise at 87kg are '18 European champion Temuri TCHKUASELIDZE (GEO) and Mirco MINGUZZI (ITA). Although his resume lacks a world or continental medal, in late March, Minguzzi finished with a bronze medal at the European Olympic Qualifier and was one match short of earning an Italian Tokyo quota at 87kg.
Catch all the action from the U23 European Championships live on www.uww.org. Freestyle action begins on Monday, women's wrestling takes center stage on Wednesday and Greco-Roman closes out the competition beginning on Friday.
Gevorg TADEVOSYAN (ARM)
Lachin VALIYEV (AZE)
Ihar YARASHEVICH (BLR)
Svetoslav Nikolaev NIKOLOV (BUL)
Matej MANDIC (CRO)
Andreas VAELIS (EST)
Juho Matias PAHIKAINEN (FIN)
Temuri TCHKUASELIDZE (GEO)
Ilias PAGKALIDIS (GRE)
Istvan TAKACS (HUN)
Mirco MINGUZZI (ITA)
Tyrone STERKENBURG (NED)
Szymon SZYMONOWICZ (POL)
Nicu Samuel OJOG (ROU)
Aleksandr Andreevitch KOMAROV (RUS)
Mario VUKOVIC (SRB)
Muhutdin SARICICEK (TUR)
Dmytro KIIASHOK (UKR)