2018 UWW World Championships

World Championships Preview: 61 Kilograms

World Championships Preview: 61 Kilograms

Our preview of the 61 kilogram weight class in the men's freestyle division of the UWW 2018 World Championships in Budapest.

Oct 16, 2018 by Andrew Spey
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Budapest better be ready for a brawl, because Joe Colon is coming and he's bringing hell with him. 

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Budapest better be ready for a brawl, because Joe Colon is coming and he's bringing hell with him. 

With the change in weigh-in procedures and the lack of Olympic weight between 57 and 65 kilograms, there has been a lot of movement up to 65 kg on the international scene which could open the door for one of Team USA's least credentialed but most physically imposing wrestler to fight his way to the medal stand. 

Men's Freestyle International Rankings: 61 kilograms

The Contenders

#1 Gadzhimurad Rashidov, Russia

#5 Beka Lomtadze, Georgia

#9 Yowlys Bonne, Cuba

#10 Tuvshintulga Tumenbileg, Mongolia

#11 Kazuya Koyanagi, Japan

Gone are Haji Aliev of Azerbaijan and Vladimir Khinchegashvili of Georgia, two heavily decorated wrestlers who have made the move up to 65 kg. Likewise, 2016 world champion Logan Stieber is up from his gold-medal winning weight. That should clear the decks for the 2017 silver medalists, Gadzhimurad Rashidov, to finally establish himself as the top 61 kilogrammer.

Three other Russian crowd the first four names in the top 20 rankings, but the next guy down is a formidable contender from Georgia, Beka Lomtadze. Lomtadze and two-time world bronze medalist Yowlys Bonne of Cuba are both capable of putting on a show and providing fireworks for the fans in Budapest. 

Two other contenders come by way of the far east in Tumenbileg and Koyanagi. Mongolia and Japan are known for producing a seemingly endless stream of lightweight medal threats so both of these two competitors should be taken seriously.

Other Men's Freestyle Previews: 57 | 65 | 7074 | 79 | 86 | 92 | 97125

Other Names To Note

It appears Azerbaijan will not be sending #6 Akhmednabi Gvarzatilov to Budapest, but will instead elect to send Parviz Ibragimov, a bronze medalist at the 2017 U23 World Championships. 

It is odd not to see an Iranian name in the list of 61kg contenders but no one would put up much of a fuss if you wanted to consider #12 Mohammadba Yakhkeshi a medal threat. The young Iranian does not have a lot of results in his bio (although that may be partly due to variant spellings of his name in the UWW database), but he did win the perennially tough Yasar Dogu this season. 

Turkey will elect not to send the Cengizhan Erdogan, the Russian wrestler of Tuvan extraction formerly known as Opan Sat, but will instead send the highly regarded Recep Topal.

How Colon Got To Budapest

By way of a scintillating 20-14 victory over Nahshon Garrett at the 2018 U.S. Open, Colon earned the right to sit out the World Team Trials process until Final X, where he was again scheduled to take on Garrett, this time in best-of-three series. 

Colon won the first match, but Garrett came storming back to win the next two bouts and the World Team spot in one of the most entertaining series in all of Final X. 

Garrett would sadly have to withdraw from the World Championships due to injury, allowing Colon his first opportunity to represent the Red White & Blue in a senior world championship.

Colon vs Garrett Final X match 1:

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Colon vs Garrett Final X match 2:

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Colon vs Garrett Final X match 3:

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How Colon Can Win It

No one is suggesting that Colon should actually start any fights in Budapest. There is no smart tactic that gives international referees an excuse to penalize American wrestlers. But Colon's physicality is definitely going to play a part on any run he might make to the medal stand. 

Colon also has a wonderful arsenal of upper body attacks. Overs, unders, with a leg wrapped or without, Joe has a grip-it-and-rip-it mentality that ensures that he is never completely out of a match until someone gets their hand raised. 

The fact that Colon may well be under-scouted could also play to his advantage. Colon has competed overseas a handful of times, and he may be able to use the element of surprise against the field.

Predictions

Gold: Gadzhimurad Rashidov, Russia

Silver: Beka Lomtadze, Georgia

Bronze: Vladimer Dubov, Bulgaria

Bronze: Yowly Bonne, Cuba

The 61 kg brackets are scheduled to be released Friday, October 19 before 11:00 AM ET. The Preliminary rounds are scheduled to begin at 4:30 AM ET on Saturday, October 20, and the finals are set for Sunday, October 21 at 12:00 PM ET