2019 World Championships: Day 1 Match Notes

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The world championships are here!

We wrote these match notes live, however, below is a summary of Day 1.

Final Matchups

55kg: Khorlan Zhakansha (KAZ) vs Nugzari Tsurtsumia (GEO)

63kg: Stepan Maryanyan (RUS) vs Shinobu Ota (JPN)

72kg: Aram Vardanyan (UZB) vs Abuyazid Mantsigov (RUS)

82kg: Lasha Gobadze (GEO) vs Rafik Huseynov (AZE)

Team USA Results

55kg: Max Nowry (US Army WCAP)

WIN Fabian Schmitt (GER), 10-1

LOSS Khorlan Zhakansha (KAZ), 3-2

Repechage vs Abdelkarim Fergat (ALG)

63kg: Ryan Mango (US Army WCAP)

WIN Julinnho Corriea Diu (POR), 11-0

LOSS Rahman Bilici (TUR), 7-4

72kg: Raymond Bunker (Marines)

WIN Yogesh (IND), 6-5

LOSS Aik Mnatsakanian (BUL), 6-2

82kg: John Stefanowicz (Marines)

LOSS Lasha Gobadze (GEO), 7-0

Repechage vs Haitao Qian (CHN)

Read below to see how the events unfolded in real time.


Today is the first day of the tournament and we are live from Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. We're starting off with the four non-Olympic weights in Greco-Roman.

Our own Willie Saylor tweeted out the initial mat assignments:

Ryan Mango should be the first American up as he will be making his world championship debut against Julinho Benjamim Correia (POR). You can draws and bracket analysis for all four athletes going today here.

There are nine medalists from last year's world championships competing at their same weight today, along with four U23 world medalists and two Junior world champs from last year.

Qualification Round

The host nation starts off with a win as 2017 world silver Demeu Zhadrayev techs Oceania champ Jarvis Tarkong (PLW) 9-0. A potential Zhadrayev match with Bunker could only happen in the semis.

This 72kg bracket is filled with young talent, and Junior world champ Malkhas Amoyan (ARM) opens with an 8-0 tech. Amoyan made the JR finals the past, and won two bronzes as a Cadet before that. He's got a big test next round in Mateusz Bernatek (POL), the silver medalist at 66kg two years ago in Paris. Bernatek beat another JR world champ in Cengiz Arslan (TUR) in the first round.

Easing into the tournament with all 72kg first round matches, the biggest bracket of the first day. Iuri Lomadze (GEO) knocked off Iran's JR world champ Amin Kaviyaninejad in the first round 9-1.

While we wait for Mango to go, we are here in the Barys Arena, the home of Barys Nur-Sultan, a professional hockey team in the KHL, which is widely considered to be the second best hockey league in the world. Their mascot is the snow leopard Barsik.

HUGE ovation for the Kazakhstan 82kg Maxat Yerezhepov. Clearly a crowd favorite, they are standing and cheering the whole time in his match against Japan.

An upset early on for Russia as Adlan Akiev blanks 2017 world bronze Pascal Eisele (GER). Another big cheer for Almat Kebispayev as the crowd is starting to fill out. An AMAZING head pinch by Kebispayev! He's looking for the fall, can't get it and ANOTHER over the top head pinch for the tech.

Watch out for Vitalii Kabaloev (RUS) at 55kg, who beat the reigning world champ earlier this year at Euros.


Match 1 - Ryan Mango vs Julinho Benjamim Correia Dju (POR)

First Period: Mango creating some issues for Correia as he is a left leg lead. Both wrestlers have done a good job staying in the center. Right after the first minute, Correia attempts a throw but it is called a slip. First point on the board at the 4:27 mark and Mango gets his first opportunity on top. Quick tilt for two, into another gut and a trap arm! That's a 9-0 (or 11-0?) tech for Mango. He'll have last year's bronze Rahman Bilici (TUR) next.

Great one going on D between Amoyan and Bernatek, with the Armenian taking the early lead on a passive point. He jacks him up, walks him over to the edge, and finishes with a correct throw to take the 3-0 lead. Amoyan with the four pointer and is on the verge of a very impressive start to his senior level career. His only other senior level action was this year's Pytlasinski Cup in Poland, which he won. Amoyan shuts down in the second but wins 7-0.

Turning our attention to Mat B, Levai (HUN) against Bisultanov (DEN). Levai gets put down first against Bisultanov, the four seed. Bisultanov ends up winning controversially on criteria.

Match 2 - John Stefanowicz vs Lasha Gobadze (GEO)

First Period: The Euro silver is in red. Stefanowicz is taking ground early and just before the first minute attempts an arm throw but it is called a slip. He trails 1-0 but hits a Greco-style standup and doesn't have to defend for long, back on their feet. Right at the end of the period Gobadze steals it with an arm throw to make it 3-0.

Second Period: Nothing doing in the first minute. Gobadze looks content to sit in the ties and pummel. Another passive against Stefanowicz and he trails 4-0. The Marine gets called for cCaution+2 but the US coaches are challenging it. He loses the challenge and ultimately the match, 7-0.

Match 3 - Raymond Bunker vs Yogesh (IND)

First Period: Bunker takes the lead 1:19 in as Yogesh gets put down. He's looking for a reverse lift. He tilts him through to take a 3-0 lead. Late in the period he forces a stepout and is halfway to a tech.

Second Period: Big flurry after Bunker gets put down. He gets turned twice, but then gets a reversal, trailing on criteria. He immediately pushes him out for the 6-5 lead, under a minute to go. Yogesh runs out of gas and Bunker gets his first win! Team USA is 2-1 on the day so far.

Turning back to the international field, the quarterfinals are set at 72kg. Amoyan has 3 seed and world bronze Abuyazid Mantsigov (RUS), who got an 8-0 tech over Korea. Bunker will see top seed Aik Mnatsakanian (BUL) in the quarters.

Massive upset at 82kg as Haitao Qian (CHN) pins top seed and world silver Emrah Kus (TUR). Kus had Qian on his back, but he rolled through and headlocked the Turk. He was on his back for a while before they finally called the pin.


No question, the arena favorite is Maxat Yerezhepov, who knocked off 2 seed and world bronze Viktar Sasunouski (BLR). That makes two seeded wrestlers to lose at 82kg.

Pretty sure there was a fatality on mat D there after a headlock from Mongolia. Also excellent was the headlock to the ice the match for Kazakhstan at 55kg over the four seed.

Match 4 - Max Nowry vs Fabian Schmitt (GER)

First Period: Nowry comes to the mat already Gable wrapped. Slow start, but Nowry gets put down. He was headlocked, but they had already blown the whistle. Par terre started at the 4:36 mark. Schmitt got Nowry up in the air but couldn't finish the throw, back on their feet at 4:13. These two split at the German GP last year, with Nowry winning 5-1 in the first match and Schmitt taking match two 6-3. One point lead for Schmitt at the break, Spenser Mango and Bruce Robinson in Nowry's corner.

Second Period: Nowry in blue first back to the center. BIG four for Nowry off the arm spin, and his first chance on top about 50 seconds in. Schmitt pressing forward trying to take ground, but Nowry snaps him into front headlock and gets the takedown, right into a gut wrench and he finishes him off! 10-1 tech for Nowry and he's into the quarters.

Awesome start to the day for Team USA, 3-1 so far. Nowry will have Khorlan Zhakansha (KAZ) in the quarters.

Match 5 - Ryan Mango vs Rahman Bilici (TUR)

First Period: Whistle 13 seconds in. Bilici, a world bronze last year, trying to pull Mango into front head position. No score a minute in. Internet went out there for a second. Mango gets put down, but comes up to his feet, lifting Bilici when he goes from a reverse lift to front head. Mango hits a four, but Bilici counters through to expose, and also gets a reverse lift that looked kinda like a chest wrap. They go into the break with Mango trailing 5-4.

Second Period: It's clear Bilici came out to underhook in the second, throwing double unders the majority of the period. At one point Mango cleared out and forced a stepout, but they called a straight arm push. Not too long after, Bilici got in double unders and forced Mango to his back to take a 7-4 lead, which he would hold onto.

Quarterfinals are starting all at once, and then the morning session will be over.

Match 6 - Raymond Bunker vs Aik Mnatsakanian (BUL)

First Period: Both guys are lefty leads. Going to be hard to justify putting either go down, but the American is less credentialed and might be at a disadvantage. As I say that though they put the Bulgarian down. Mnatsakanian up and out right away though as Bunker's reverse lift attempt slipped off. Amazing whizzer position by  Bunker to hip him out and take a 2-0 lead, two minutes in. Bunker was really frustrating Mnatsakanian in the first, he couldn't get to any of his ties.

Second Period: 30 seconds in, and Bulgaria finally getting to his hooks. Bunker tries spinning out of the rear standing but gives up the stepout to make it 2-1. Bunker gets put down at the 1:57 mark and the top seed takes the lead on criteria. Immediate gut wrench by Mnatsakanian into a lift on the edge for a correct throw, 6-2 now. Final minute, Bunker pressuring hard. Whistle, 24 to go. Bunker needs a four here. The Marine loses and needs the Bulgarian to win next session to pull him into repechage.

72kg Semis:

#1 Aik MNATSAKANIAN (BUL) vs Aram VARDANYAN (UZB)

#3 Abuiazid MANTSIGOV (RUS) vs #2 Balint KORPASI (HUN)

Rooting for the Georgian Lobadze here in the 82kg quarters to keep Stefanowicz alive for repechage. He's up 5-0 going into the break. Two seed Bilsutanov loses to Uzbekistan. Gobadze wins 9-0 and Stefanowicz is one win away from being in the repechage. Olympic bronze and 2011 world champ Saeid Morad Abdvali of Iran knocks off Russia to make the semis; he was the only seeded wrestler to make the semis.

82kg Semis:

Lasha GOBADZE (GEO) vs Nurbek KHASHIMBEKOV (UZB)

#3 Saeid Morad ABDVALI (IRI) vs Rafig HUSEYNOV (AZE)

On to the 55kg quarters, where there is a rematch of last year's U23 world finals between Georgia and Russia.

Match 7 - Max Nowry vs Khorlan Zhakansha (KAZ)

First Period: Nowry fights off a headlock but they call it a slip. Rolling around and Nowry comes out on top, gets the two on the exposure. Another slip called against Zhakansha. Nowry leads 2-0 heading into the break.

Second Period: Nowry holding center in the first minute. He gets put down at the 1:43 mark and the home crowd starts getting loud. They erupt after a gut wrench makes it 3-2. Nowry trails with 1:23 to go. Right into a front headlock, stalemate with 1:10 left. Final 40 seconds and they're in a scramble. Zhakansha legs over, no points or exposure. Nowry is pressing forward an the crowd is chanting. Zhakansha has to win in the semis to pull Nowry back in.

I have no idea what this Kazakh rap is, but the bass is thumping.

55kg Semis:

#1 Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE) vs Khorlan ZHAKANSHA (KAZ)

#3 Nugzari TSURTSUMIA (GEO) vs Shota OGAWA (JPN)

Olympic silver Shinobu Ota got put on his back but fought off against KGZ. Ota's front head stuff though is lethal and he leads 8-4 at the break. Bilici leads 4-2 at the break over Kazakhstan's Kebispayev. Insane scramble in Bilici/Kebispayev and there is a challenge. This is the last match of the session, all eyes on it, and the crowd went ballistic when KAZ won the challenge, he leads 5-4. Exposure and Kebispayev leads 7-4. Bilici loses and Mango is eliminated.

63kg Semis:

#1 Stepan MARYANYAN (RUS) vs #4 Slavik GALSTYAN (ARM)

#3 Shinobu OTA (JPN) vs Almat KEBISPAYEV (KAZ)

Three American wrestlers are alive for repechage. Nine of the 16 seeded wrestlers made the semis and will wrestle in the night session.

In the semis, Khorlan Zhakansha (KAZ) pulls off a big upset, defeating defending world champ Azizli 11-5 and pulling Nowry back in.

At 72kg, two wrestlers with Armenian looking names met between BUL and UZB, but a leg foul ultimately cost MNATSAKANIAN the match, ending Bunker's tournament.

Finally, Lobadze won on a first period chest wrap and let Stefanowicz stay alive in the repechage.

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