#WrestleSofia

#WrestleSofia U20 World Championships entry list

By Vinay Siwach

SOFIA, Bulgaria (August 4) -- Two weeks after the U17 World Championships, the U20 Worlds will be thrown open in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Close to 600 wrestlers will be in the Bulgarian capital eyeing the 30 world titles on offer with Iran and the USA hoping to defend their freestyle and women's wrestling team titles respectively.

Iran is led by two defending U20 world champions in Erfan ELAHI (IRI) and Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (IRI). Elahi won the title at 70kg and will now be jumping up to 74kg while Friozpour, who has made his name at the senior level as well, will be moving from 86kg to 92kg.

Azerbaijan has two returning silver medalists in Ziraddin BAYRAMOV (AZE) and Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE) at 70kg and 74kg.

At 86kg, Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA) will try to win the gold he missed last time as he returns in the same weight class as the U20 European champion.

In women's wrestling, Nonoka OZAKI (JPN) at 62kg and Oleksandra KHOMENETS (UKR) are the biggest names in the field. A few former and current U17 world champions are also entered.

Greco-Roman has none of the finalists returning but five bronze medalists are trying to better their medals from the previous edition.

The U20 World Championships begins August 15 in Sofia with all the action live on uww.org.

Freestyle 

57kg
Harutyun HOVHANNISYAN (ARM)
Nuraddin NOVRUZOV (AZE)
Ivaylo TISOV (BUL)
Abdelrahman MAHMOUD (EGY)
Seyfulla ITAEV (FRA)
Harvey RIDINGS (GBR)
Luka GVINJILIA (GEO)
Andreas PAROTSIDIS (GRE)
Abhishek DHAKA (IND)
Ahmad MOHAMMADNEZHAD (IRI)
Simone PIRODDU (ITA)
Kento YUMIYA (JPN)
Merey BAZARBAYEV (KAZ)
Iukhan DOKTURBEK UULU (KGZ)
Dmitri CARASTOIANOV (MDA)
Munkh Od LKHAMBUZMAA (MGL)
Rafal SZEWC (POL)
Thomas FISCHER (SUI)
Tolga OZBEK (TUR)
Heorhii KAZANZHY (UKR)
Jore VOLK (USA)
Azizbek NAIMOV (UZB)

61kg
Hayk ABRAHAMYAN (ARM)
Jeyhun ALLAHVERDIYEV (AZE)
Ilyas ABDURASHIDOV (BEL)
Shehabeldin MOHAMED (EGY)
Akseli ERKKOLA (FIN)
Khamzat ARSAMERZOUEV (FRA)
Daviti ABDALADZE (GEO)
Dimitrios OFLIDIS (GRE)
Mohit KUMAR (IND)
Armin HABIBZADEH (IRI)
Yuto NISHIUCHI (JPN)
Maiis ALIYEV (KAZ)
Aden SAKYBAEV (KGZ)
Fatlum BRAKA (KOS)
Diego RODRIGUEZ (MEX)
Daniel KULCZYNSKI (POL)
Mika LEHMKUEHL (RSA)
Abdullah TOPRAK (TUR)
Mykyta ABRAMOV (UKR)
Nicholas BOUZAKIS (USA)
Arslan RAKHIMOV (UZB)

65kg
Abderrahmane BENAISSA (ALG)
Artur SARDARYAN (ARM)
Muhamed BEKTEMIROV (AUT)
Ziraddin BAYRAMOV (AZE)
Ayub MUSAEV (BEL)
Ismail POMAKOV (BUL)
Matias RAMIREZ (CHI)
Yehia HAFEZ (EGY)
Luka JANEZASHVILI (GEO)
Jonnathan PEREZ (GUA)
SUJEET (IND)
Alireza ABDEVALI (IRI)
Yoshinosuke AOYAGI (JPN)
Olzhas OLZHAKANOV (KAZ)
Myrza ZHYRGALBEK UULU (KGZ)
Egzon XHONI (KOS)
Pavel GRAUR (MDA)
Erick BAUTISTA (MEX)
Doru DINCA (ROU)
Hamza ZOPALI (TUR)
Mykyta ZUBAL (UKR)
Robert CORNELLA (USA)
Umidjon JALOLOV (UZB)

70kg
Saad BOUGUERRA (ALG)
Hayk PAPIKYAN (ARM)
Benedikt HUBER (AUT)
Kanan HEYBATOV (AZE)
Muhammad ABDURACHMANOV (BEL)
Ivan STOYANOV (BUL)
Stone LEWIS (CAN)
Said ELGAHSH (EGY)
Davit KUTCHUASHVILI (GEO)
Marcell NAGY (HUN)
Mulaym YADAV (IND)
Hossein MOHAMMAD (IRI)
Raul CASO (ITA)
Kota TAKAHASHI (JPN)
Rodion ANCHUGIN (KAZ)
Kanat KERIMBEKOV (KGZ)
Pavel ANDRUSCA (MDA)
Alexandru MATEA (ROU)
Mustafo AKHMEDOV (TJK)
Harun SOYLER (TUR)
Ivan SEMENOV (UKR)
Mitchell MESENBRINK (USA)
Begijon KULDASHEV (UZB)

74kg
Menua YARIBEKYAN (ARM)
Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE)
Petar PETKOV (BUL)
Amaan Ali GULACHA (CAN)
Luka CHKHITUNIDZE (GEO)
Balint NEMES (HUN)
Sagar JAGLAN (IND)
Erfan ELAHI (IRI)
Luca FINIZIO (ITA)
Ryunosuke KAMIYA (JPN)
Iliyas YERBOLATOV (KAZ)
Nurbolot ADYL UULU (KGZ)
Gheorghi CARA (MDA)
Batbayar BATSUKH (MGL)
Kamil BARLOWSKI (POL)
Krisztian BIRO (ROU)
Arno VAN ZIJL (RSA)
Umar MAVLAEV (SUI)
Muhammed OZMUS (TUR)
Tymur HUDYMA (UKR)
Alexander FACUNDO (USA)
Jafar CHULIBOYEV (UZB)

79kg
Mushegh MKRTCHYAN (ARM)
Soslan TIGIYEV (AZE)
Radomir STOYANOV (BUL)
Connor CHURCH (CAN)
Gabriel RAMOS (ESP)
Miko ELKALA (FIN)
Otari ADEISHVILI (GEO)
DEEPAK (IND)
Sobhan YARI (IRI)
Daisuke SHIMIZU (JPN)
Shamsat TAIR (KAZ)
Mukhammad ABDULLAEV (KGZ)
Eugeniu MIHALCEAN (MDA)
Mateusz PEDZICKI (POL)
Gigi SUBTIRICA (ROU)
Johannes HATTINGH (RSA)
Kimi KAEPPELI (SUI)
Bekir OVEC (TUR)
Oleksandr MAMROSH (UKR)
Braydew THOMPSON (USA)

86kg
Gurgen SIMONYAN (ARM)
Sabuhi AMIRASLANOV (AZE)
Zhulien IVANOV (BUL)
Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA)
Daviti KOGUASHVILI (GEO)
Angelos KOUKLARIS (GRE)
Cesar ESTRADA (GUA)
Nandor HAJDUCH (HUN)
Jointy KUMAR (IND)
Aref RANJBARI (IRI)
Gabriele NICCOLINI (ITA)
Fumiya IGARASHI (JPN)
Muslim ZHAKSYLYK (KAZ)
Aslan MAMASADYKOV (KGZ)
Pureun KIM (KOR)
Lilian BALAN (MDA)
Batbilguun NAADAMBAT (MGL)
Ismail KUCUKSOLAK (TUR)
Nazar DOD (UKR)
Bennett BERGE (USA)

92kg
Sergey SARGSYAN (ARM)
Suray RUFAD (BUL)
Adlan VISKHANOV (FRA)
Andro MARGISHVILI (GEO)
Kiril KILDAU (GER)
Gkivi BLIATZE (GRE)
Krisztian ANGYAL (HUN)
AKASH (IND)
Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (IRI)
Satoshi MIURA (JPN)
Nurdaulet BEKENOV (KAZ)
Kutman TEMIRBEKOV (KGZ)
Seohyun CHA (KOR)
Ion DEMIAN (MDA)
Juan RUIZ (MEX)
Yildiray PALA (TUR)
Denys SAHALIUK (UKR)
Jaxon SMITH (USA)
Ravshanbek JUMABOEV (UZB)

97kg
Harutyun KIRAKOSYAN (ARM)
Sali SALIEV (BUL)
Mohamed SALAHELDIN (EGY)
Luka KHUTCHUA (GEO)
NIRAJ (IND)
Amirali AZARPIRA (IRI)
Toyoki HAMADA (JPN)
Zelimkhan MUSSIKHANOV (KAZ)
Joobin PARK (KOR)
Vilius MIKALAUSKAS (LTU)
Georgian TRIPON (ROU)
Rifat GIDAK (TUR)
David MCHEDLIDZE (UKR)
Benjamin KUETER (USA)

125kg
Lyova GEVORGYAN (ARM)
Georgi IVANOV (BUL)
Roger LI (CAN)
Merab SULEIMANASHVILI (GEO)
Mahendra GAIKWAD (IND)
Amirreza MASOUMI (IRI)
Ryusei FUJITA (JPN)
Bekzat TAZHI (KAZ)
Adil MISIRCI (TUR)
Volodymyr KOCHANOV (UKR)
Nicholas FELDMAN (USA)
Namoz ABDURASHIDOV (UZB)

Nonoka OZAKI (JPN)Nonoka OZAKI (JPN) is a senior world bronze and Asian champion. (Photo: UWW / Bayrem Ben Mrad)

Women’s Wrestling

50kg
Asmar JANKURTARAN (AZE)
Emine OSMAN (BUL)
Serena DI BENEDETTO (CAN)
Karolina MUELLEROVA (CZE)
Priyanshi PRAJAPAT (IND)
Umi ITO (JPN)
Laura GANIKYZY (KAZ)
Gabija DILYTE (LTU)
Imane BOUJNANE (MAR)
Munkhgerel MUNKHBAT (MGL)
Marija SPIRKOVSKA (MKD)
Natalia WALCZAK (POL)
Ana PIRVU (ROU)
Svenja JUNGO (SUI)
Ellen OESTMAN (SWE)
Yung LIN (TPE)
Sevval CAYIR (TUR)
Aida KERYMOVA (UKR)
Audrey JIMENEZ (USA)

53kg
Gultakin SHIRINOVA (AZE)
Nazife TAIR (BUL)
Shaimaa MOHAMED (EGY)
Chadia AYACHI (FRA)
Amory ANDRICH (GER)
Vivien MATYI (HUN)
ANTIM (IND)
Ayaka KIMURA (JPN)
Altyn SHAGAYEVA (KAZ)
Aruuke KADYRBEK KYZY (KGZ)
Mihaela SAMOIL (MDA)
Patricia IURASCU (ROU)
Emine CAKMAK (TUR)
Nataliia KLIVCHUTSKA (UKR)
Katie GOMEZ (USA)
Dilshoda MATNAZAROVA (UZB)

55kg
Elnura MAMMADOVA (AZE)
Irena BINKOVA (BUL)
Robbie PINGAL (CAN)
Antonia ARRIAGADA (CHI)
Roza SZENTTAMASI (HUN)
MANJU (IND)
Immacolata DANISE (ITA)
Moe KIYOOKA (JPN)
Ainur ASHIMOVA (KAZ)
Andrea BARRIENTOS (MEX)
Georgiana LIRCA (ROU)
Pei LIAO (TPE)
Tuba DEMIR (TUR)
Albina RILLIA (UKR)
Adriana MARIN (USA)
Sarbinaz JIENBAEVA (UZB)

57kg
Gabriela CROSS (CAN)
Anna MICHALCOVA (CZE)
Celeste SION (FRA)
Adrienn BERES (HUN)
SITO (IND)
Aurora RUSSO (ITA)
Ruka NATAMI (JPN)
Zeinep BAYANOVA (KAZ)
Sezim ZHUMANAZAROVA (KGZ)
Bertha CHAVEZ (MEX)
Othelie HOEIE (NOR)
Julia NOWICKA (POL)
Ana PUIU (ROU)
Melda DERNEKCI (TUR)
Oleksandra KHOMENETS (UKR)
Sofia MACALUSO (USA)

59kg
Fatme SHABAN (BUL)
Mia FRIESEN (CAN)
Viktoria BORSOS (HUN)
Bhagyashree FAND (IND)
Sakura MOTOKI (JPN)
Madina AMAN (KAZ)
Hedda KVAALE (NOR)
Aleksandra WITOS (POL)
Kara LE ROUX (RSA)
Ebru DAGBASI (TUR)
Yuliia LESKOVETS (UKR)
Savannah COSME (USA)

62kg
Mastoura SOUDANI (ALG)
Birgul SOLTANOVA (AZE)
Mima TANEVA (BUL)
Angelina TODDINGTON (CAN)
Iva GERIC (CRO)
Iris THIEBAUX (FRA)
Luisa SCHEEL (GER)
Yasmine SOLIMAN (HUN)
Sonam MALIK (IND)
Bianca CONTRAFATTO (ITA)
Nonoka OZAKI (JPN)
Tynys DUBEK (KAZ)
Bermet NURIDIN KYZY (KGZ)
Viktoria OEVERBY (NOR)
Wiktoria STANETA (POL)
Yu LO (TPE)
Busra EFE (TUR)
Iryna BONDAR (UKR)
Adaugo NWACHUKWU (USA)
Rushana ABDIRASULOVA (UZB)

65kg
Valentina KOZHUHAROVA (BUL)
Eniko ELEKES (HUN)
PRIYANKA (IND)
Veronica BRASCHI (ITA)
Mahiro YOSHITAKE (JPN)
Korlan AMANOVA (KAZ)
Dilnaz SAZANOVA (KGZ)
Melanie VILLALBA (MEX)
Davaajargal ALTANSUKH (MGL)
Zofia POLOWCZYK (POL)
Nora SVENSSON (SWE)
Khadija JLASSI (TUN)
Derya KARADUMAN (TUR)
Manola SKOBELSKA (UKR)
Reese LARRAMENDY (USA)
Gulmira AITMURATOVA (UZB)

68kg
Nigar MIRZAZADA (AZE)
Daniela BRASNAROVA (BUL)
Nicoll OSORIO (COL)
Menatalla BADRAN (EGY)
Sophia SCHAEFLE (GER)
Nikoleta BARMPA (GER)
ARJU (IND)
Laura GODINO (ITA)
Ami ISHII (JPN)
Zhibekzhan SABYRZHANOVA (KAZ)
Nurzat NURTAEVA (KGZ)
Luciana BEDA (MDA)
Sandra MENCHACA (MEX)
Patrycja SLOMSKA (POL)
Caroline KVIST (SWE)
Nesrin BAS (TUR)
Yevheniia SIEDYKH (UKR)
Destiny RODRIGUEZ (USA)
Firuza ESENBAEVA (UZB)

72kg
Marziya SADIGOVA (AZE)
Vanesa GEORGIEVA (BUL)
Nyla BURGESS (CAN)
Jennifer ROESLER (GER)
Zsofia VIRAG (HUN)
REETIKA (IND)
Sumire NIIKURA (JPN)
Anastassiya PANASSOVICH (KAZ)
Ximena RODRIGUEZ (MEX)
Patrycja CUBER (POL)
Ping HUNG (TPE)
Zaineb SGHAIER (TUN)
Nazar BATIR (TUR)
Iryna ZABLOTSKA (UKR)
Amit ELOR (USA)

76kg
Ana SANTOS (BRA)
Vianne ROULEAU (CAN)
Laura KUEHN (GER)
Eleni CHRYSIKAKI (GER)
Veronika NYIKOS (HUN)
Priya MALIK (IND)
Ayano MORO (JPN)
Alina YERTOSTIK (KAZ)
Daniela TKACHUK (POL)
Elena MARGAS (ROU)
Melisa SARITAC (TUR)
Mariia ORLEVYCH (UKR)
Tristan KELLY (USA)

Emre MUTLU (TUR)Emre MUTLU (TUR) is a U23 European champion. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Greco-Roman

55kg
Karapet MANVELYAN (ARM)
Nihad GULUZADE (AZE)
Paolo MILKOV (BUL)
Abdalla SHAABAN (EGY)
luka JAVAKHADZE (GEO)
Ilias ZAIRAKIS (GRE)
Anup KUMAR (IND)
Seyedarash NEGAHDARI (IRI)
Taiga ONISHI (JPN)
Iskhar KURBAYEV (KAZ)
Nuristan SUIORKULOV (KGZ)
Vilius ADOMAVICIUS (LTU)
Marco ALVAREZ (MEX)
Denis MIHAI (ROU)
Emre MUTLU (TUR)
Mykola HAVRYCHKIN (UKR)
Jonathan GURULE (USA)
Alisher GANIEV (UZB)

60kg
Suren AGHAJANYAN (ARM)
Nihat MAMMADLI (AZE)
Borislav KIRILOV (BUL)
Ronaldo RAMIREZ (COL)
Dimitri KHACHIDZE (GEO)
Georgios SCARPELLO (GER)
SUMIT (IND)
Saeid Morad ESMAEILI (IRI)
Melkamu FETENE (ISR)
Koto GOMI (JPN)
Bakytzhan KABDYL (KAZ)
Adilet ABYKEEV (KGZ)
Ismail ETTALIBI (MAR)
Olivier SKRZYPCZAK (POL)
Aleksandar BERAROV (SRB)
Firuz MIRZORAJABOV (TJK)
Yong SU (TPE)
Mert ILBARS (TUR)
Volodymyr VOITOVYCH (UKR)
Maxwell BLACK (USA)
Akmal KHAMROEV (UZB)

63kg
Fayssal BENFREDJ (ALG)
Arman VARDANYAN (ARM)
Ziya BABASHOV (AZE)
Ivan KOSTOV (BUL)
Matias RAMIREZ (CHI)
Domagoj CELICEK (CRO)
Romeo BERIDZE (GEO)
Ioannis PETKOS (GER)
David MANYIK (HUN)
UMESH (IND)
Iman Khoon MOHAMMADI (IRI)
Chiezo MARUYAMA (JPN)
Dinislam SAGITZHAN (KAZ)
Baiaman KARIMOV (KGZ)
Donatas RINDEIKIS (LTU)
Arslanbek SALIMOV (POL)
Azat SARIYAR (TUR)
Oleh KHALILOV (UKR)
Haiden DRURY (USA)

67kg
Kanan ABDULLAZADE (AZE)
Angelo DE OLIVEIRA (BRA)
Radoslav DIMITROV (BUL)
Nestor TRUYOL (CHI)
Luka IVANCIC (CRO)
Abdelrahman OMAR (EGY)
Nestori MANNILA (FIN)
Yanis NIFRI (FRA)
Nika BROLADZE (GEO)
Marco STOLL (GER)
Zsolt TAKACS (HUN)
Ankit GULIA (IND)
Seyed SOHRABI (IRI)
Shon NADORGIN (ISR)
Steve MOMILIA (ITA)
Ryohma TOYOTA (JPN)
Din KOSHKAR (KAZ)
Erlan MARS UULU (KGZ)
Adomas GRIGALIUNAS (LTU)
Alexei HAHLOVSCHI (MDA)
Kasper OEVERBY (NOR)
Mairbek SALIMOV (POL)
Iulian LUNGU (ROU)
Fritz REBER (SUI)
Onur YURTADA (TUR)
Marian HOLUBOVSKYI (UKR)
Robert PEREZ (USA)
Ilyosjon ABDINAZAROV (UZB)

72kg
Haithem ISSAAD (ALG)
Arman KHACHIKYAN (ARM)
Matthias HAUTHALER (AUT)
Gurban GURBANOV (AZE)
Dimitar STEFCHEV (BUL)
Niko KAMENJASEVIC (CRO)
Jakub SIMCIK (CZE)
Emad GHALY (EGY)
Junior ORTIZ (ESP)
Ekke LEITHAM (EST)
Temuri ORJONIKIDZE (GEO)
Aaron BELLSCHEIDT (GER)
Alexandros BATZAKIDIS (GER)
Attila TOESMAGI (HUN)
Deepak PUNIA (IND)
Amir ABDI (IRI)
Ariell SOSUNOV (ISR)
Eito NISHIDA (JPN)
Merey MAULITKANOV (KAZ)
Alibek BERDIEV (KGZ)
Minseo OH (KOR)
Rokas CEPAUSKAS (LTU)
Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA)
Elsi ORDONEZ (MEX)
Magomed EDAEV (NOR)
Igor BOTEZ (ROU)
Daniel DU TOIT (RSA)
David LOHER (SUI)
Georgios BARBANOS (SWE)
Sheroz OCHILOV (TJK)
Omer DOGAN (TUR)
Irfan MIRZOIEV (UKR)
Richard FEDALEN (USA)

77kg
Henrik GEVORGYAN (ARM)
Khasay HASANLI (AZE)
Guilherme DE ARRUDA (BRA)
Martin DIMITROV (BUL)
Michal ZELENKA (CZE)
Omar OKIL (EGY)
Tornike MIKELADZE (GEO)
Deni NAKAEV (GER)
Andreas VASILAKOPOULOS (GRE)
Rajmund ZURAI (HUN)
SACHIN (IND)
Masoud GHAFI (IRI)
Isami HORIKITA (JPN)
Omar SATAYEV (KAZ)
Nurel DUISHONBEKOV (KGZ)
Alexandrin GUTU (MDA)
Diego TORRES (MEX)
Benjamin HANSEN (NOR)
Filip LOCH (POL)
Simon BORKENHAGEN (SWE)
Yuksel SARICICEK (TUR)
Ramazan PASHAIEV (UKR)
Payton JACOBSON (USA)
Samandar BOBONAZAROV (UZB)

82kg
Ruben GEVORGYAN (ARM)
Rauf ALIYEV (AZE)
Ivaylo IVANOV (BUL)
Marek VRBA (CZE)
Fares GHALY (EGY)
Olavi LAISARV (EST)
Jonni SARKKINEN (FIN)
Achiko BOLKVADZE (GEO)
Odysseas ROUNGERIS (GRE)
Rohit DAHIYA (IND)
Alireza MOHMADI (IRI)
Leon RIVALTA (ITA)
Renta YAMAGUCHI (JPN)
Azimkhon ABDALIYEV (KAZ)
Artykbek ALYMBEK UULU (KGZ)
Mihai GUTU (MDA)
Christian NUNEZ (MEX)
Vasile COJOC (ROU)
James HOLDER (RSA)
Milos PEROVIC (SRB)
Alexander JOHANSSON (SWE)
Shan LIN (TPE)
Alperen BERBER (TUR)
Ruslan ABDIIEV (UKR)
Adrian ARTSISHEUSKIY (USA)

87kg
Vigen NAZARYAN (ARM)
Lachin VALIYEV (AZE)
Ivan MANOV (BUL)
Tomislav BRKAN (CRO)
Ondrej HAVELKA (CZE)
Kareem ELDESOUKY (EGY)
Robin USPENSKI (EST)
Aapo VIITALA (FIN)
Beka MELELASHVILI (GEO)
Nikolaos IOSIFIDIS (GRE)
Surjeet SINGH (IND)
Abolfazl CHOUBANI (IRI)
Tomofumi IWAI (JPN)
Maksat SAILAU (KAZ)
Nartu ABDURAKHMANOV (KGZ)
Donghyun YUN (KOR)
Damian MATVEIKO (LTU)
Gabriel LUPASCO (MDA)
Patrik GORDAN (ROU)
Mario VUKOVIC (SRB)
Algot KAELLMAN (SWE)
Furkan TAS (TUR)
Mykyta ALIEKSIEIEV (UKR)
Kodiak STEPHENS (USA)
Azamatjon ABDUBANNOBOV (UZB)

97kg
Kaloyan IVANOV (BUL)
Marko MILANOVIC (CRO)
Richard KARELSON (EST)
Kote SITCHINAVA (GEO)
Connor SAMMET (GER)
Archontis XOURAS (GRE)
Narinder CHEEMA (IND)
Ali ABEDIDARZI (IRI) 
Riku NAKAHARA (JPN)
Iussuf MATSIYEV (KAZ)
Nurmanbet RAIMALY UULU (KGZ)
Joowan KIM (KOR)
Rostislav COVALI (MDA)
Mateusz IWANOWSKI (POL)
Ionut GOSA (ROU)
Luka KATIC (SRB)
Maans KLOSTERMANN (SWE)
Oktay DEMIR (TUR)
Vladyslav DRAHANCHUK (UKR)
Christian CARROLL (USA)
Islomjon RAKHMATOV (UZB)

130kg
Albert VARDANYAN (ARM)
Artur SARKISJAN (CZE)
Fekry EISSA (EGY)
Eerik PANK (EST)
Mate GOKADZE (GEO)
Rafail GKIRNIS (GRE)
Adolf BAZSO (HUN)
PARVESH (IND)
Fardin HEDAYATI (IRI)
Koei YAMADA (JPN)
Jokhar UZAROV (KAZ)
Junho PARK (KOR)
Dominik KRAWCZYK (POL)
Talip CIFTCI (TUR)
Mykhailo VYSHNYVETSKYI (UKR)
Aden ATTAO (USA)
Temurbek NASIMOV (UZB)

#WrestleSofia

#WrestleSofia: 22 continental champs headed to U20 Worlds

By Eric Olanowski

SOFIA, Bulgaria (August 11) -- Future stars of freestyle wrestling will head to Bulgaria’s capital in troves, as 22 reigning continental champions will be in action next week at the U20 World Championships.

That means there will be at least two continental champions vying for world supremacy in nine of the ten weight classes.

At 57kg, continental gold medalists Simone PIRODDU (ITA) and Merey BAZARBAYEV (KAZ) are the favorites to reach the finals of the 22-man bracket that features a total of four continental medalists.

Simone PIRODDU (ITA)Simone PIRODDU (ITA) won the U20 European Championships with a 26-5 scoring run. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Italy’s Piroddu won five matches at the U20 European Championships earlier this year and dominated in all matches but one -- his opening round bout -- where he eked out a 4-4 win over Seyfulla ITAEV (FRA). Outside of that match, the 2018 U17 world bronze medalist outscored his four remaining opponents 26-5 to win his second career age group European title. He also won the 2019 U17 European title.

His biggest test will likely be Kazakhstan’s 19-year-old Bazarbayev.

Bazarbayev has an impressive 6-2 record during his 2022 campaign, highlighted by his U20 Asian gold medal and bronze-medal finished at the senior-level Bolat Turlykhanov Cup Ranking Series event.

Other wrestlers to pay attention to are Harutyun HOVHANNISYAN (ARM) and Luka GVINJILIA (GEO) who won European silver and bronze medals respectively.

Nicholas BOUZAKIS (USA)Nicholas BOUZAKIS (USA) is the 61kg Pan-Am champion. (Photo: UWW / Osvaldo Aguilar)

Reigning continental champs Daviti ABDALADZE (GEO), Armin HABIBZADEH (IRI) and Nicholas BOUZAKIS (USA) are all looking to navigate the loaded 61kg bracket and win their first world titles.

There will be six U20 continental medalists wrestling on the 21-man 61kg chart.

Georgia’s U20 European gold medalist Abdaladze will be wrestling in his third age-group World Championships. He fell one match short of medaling at the ’18 and ’19 U17 World Championships, finishing in fifth place in both Championships.

Habibzadeh will be competing on the international scene for the second time in his career. The first came in Manama, Bahrain, where he won three matches and claimed the U20 Asian title.

Bouzakis, this year’s U20 Pan-American champion, will be looking to improve his 8th-place finish from last year’s U20 World Championships. But in Ufa, the 19-year-old American competed in Greco-Roman but will switch styles and try his hand at freestyle.

Outside of the trio of champs, other 2022 continental medalists to be on the lookout for are Khamzat ARSAMERZOUEV (FRA), Maiis ALIYEV (KAZ), Mohit KUMAR (IND) and Hayk ABRAHAMYAN (ARM).

Arsamerzouev and Aliyev were continental silver medalists while Abrahamyan was a European bronze medalist.

SUJEET (IND)SUJEET (IND) is unbeaten in three international tournaments. (Photo: UWW / Bayrem Ben Mrad)

At 65kg, Mykyta ZUBAL (UKR) and SUJEET (IND) are the favorites to tussle for gold.

Zubal is one of the most offensive guys entered in the competition. The 19-year-old Ukrainian scored 42 points in his four matches en route to winning the U20 European title earlier this year.

His biggest test will likely be India’s Sujeet who dominated his way to the U20 Asian title last month. He picked up four wins – including three shutout wins totaling 28-0. He also won the senior-level Ranking Series event in Tunis and claimed the gold medal at the U23 Asian Championships.

Other guys looking to disrupt the party will be continental silver medalists Ayub MUSAEV (BEL) and former U17 world champion Umidjon JALOLOV (UZB) and bronze medalist Olzhas OLZHAKANOV (KAZ).

Hayk PAPIKYAN (ARM)Hayk PAPIKYAN (ARM) is the 70kg U20 European Championships. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Another weight class that’ll house a trio of continental champs will be 70kg. Hayk PAPIKYAN (ARM), Hossein MOHAMMAD (IRI) and Mitchell MESENBRINK (USA) are champions in Europe, Asia and the Americas respectively. Each guy will be competing on the world stage for the first time in their career.

Other guys who have set the bar high for themselves are Asian silver medalist Mulaym YADAV (IND) and European bronze medalists Muhammad ABDURACHMANOV (BEL) and Pavel ANDRUSCA (MDA).

The most intriguing weight in Sofia will undoubtedly be 74kg as it has three top contenders, with the front runners being returning world champion Erfan ELAHI (IRI), Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE) and Alexander FACUNDO (USA).

Depending on how the bracket plays out, there’s the potential to see a rematch from last year’s U20 world finals at 70kg between Elahi and Gadzhiev, where the Iranian snuck out the 6-5 victory over the four-time age-group European champion to win his first world title.

But Facundo will look to stop either guy if they step in his path of winning a third age-group world medal. He won U17 world bronze medals in 2018 and 2019 but has his sights set on reaching the world finals and claiming gold for the first time in his career.

Sagar JAGLAN (IND), the U17 world champion from 2021, will also look to finish among the medalists.

Mushegh MKRTCHYAN (ARM) and Sobhan YARI (IRI), the pair of 2022 continental champs, are the betting favorites to vie for the 79kg gold medal.

Mkrtchyan will be making his first appearance on the world stage, while Yari is undoubtedly heading to Bulgaria with a chip on his shoulder. He lost his only match to Stambul ZHANYBEK UULU (KGZ) and finished in a disappointing 11th place at last year’s U20 World Championships.

Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA)Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA) is a returning silver medalist. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

At 86kg, Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA) will look to become the second-ever French freestyle wrestler to win a U20 world title. The defending U20 European champion fell one match short at last year’s U20 World Championships after dropping his finals bout to Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (IRI).

His biggest test will be reigning Asian champion Aref RANJBARI (IRI). This will be the Iranian’s first-ever trip to the World Championships.

A few guys who could disrupt the bracket are continental runner-ups Daviti KOGUASHVILI (GEO) and Batbilguun NAADAMBAT (MGL), and continental bronze medalists Nazar DOD (UKR), Jointy KUMAR (IND) and Cesar ESTRADA (GUA).

At 92kg, there are six guys with continental podium finishes in 2022, with the biggest star being European champion Ion DEMIAN (MDA). There are nine weights with at least a pair of continental winners, with Demian having the luxury of being the lone ranger in the weight.

His biggest competition will likely come from Europe, as the other three guys who shared the U20 European podium -- Andro MARGISHVILI (GEO), Adlan VISKHANOV (FRA) and Denys SAHALIUK (UKR) – are all looking to put an end to Demian’s hot-streak.

Amirali AZARPIRA (IRI)Amirali AZARPIRA (IRI) is the U20 Asian champion. (Photo: UWW / Bayrem Ben Mrad)

The favorites to clash for world supremacy at 97kg are Amirali AZARPIRA (IRI) and Benjamin KUETER (USA).

Azarpira heads into Bulgaria with an unblemished 8-0 international record and is looking to add a second world title to his resume. Last year, he claimed gold in Belgrade at the U23 World Championships.

This will be Pan-American champion Kueter's first showing at the World Championships.

Other hammers with a shot at winning a world medal are continental bronze medalists
Georgian TRIPON (ROU) and Zelimkhan MUSSIKHANOV (KAZ).

Nicholas FELDMAN (USA)Nicholas FELDMAN (USA) is the U20 Pan-Am champions. (Photo: UWW / Osvaldo Aguilar)

On paper, Lyova GEVORGYAN (ARM) and Nicholas FELDMAN (USA) are the pair of guys with the most significant upside at 125kg.

Gevorgyan, the reigning three-time age-group European champion, is looking for his third world medal. He finished with a bronze and silver, respectively, at the 2019 and 2021 age-group world championships.

This will be Feldman, the reigning Pan-Am heavyweight champion’s first appearance at the World Championships.

Other continental medalists to keep an eye on are: Merab SULEIMANASHVILI (GEO), Adil MISIRCI (TUR), Georgi IVANOV (BUL), Mahendra GAIKWAD (IND), Bekzat TAZHI (KAZ) and Roger LI (CAN).

Freestyle action gets underway in Bulgaria on Monday (August 15). You can watch all the action live on uww.org.