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The world championships continue today!
Day two of action from the Barys Arena in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan begins shortly. In addition to our two wrestlers alive from yesterday in the repechage (Max Nowry at 55kg and John Stefanowicz at 82kg), Team USA also has three Olympic weights going in Greco-Roman.
Our own Willie Saylor once again tweeted out the initial mat assignments for the five Americans competing today.
10 mins to go time. Day 2 at Worlds pic.twitter.com/MLfssz2QWw— Willie Saylor (@WillieAtFLO) September 15, 2019
Qualified Olympic Countries
67kg: Russia, Cuba, Denmark, Egypt
87kg: Germany, Hungary, Ukraine, Uzbekistan
97kg: Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Serbia
So far, 11 different countries have qualified for next year's Games in Tokyo. However, Europe is dominating, with nine qualified nations, while the Pan Am, Asia, and African continents only have one each, as of now.
55kg: Max Nowry
WIN Fabian Schmitt (Germany), 10-1
LOSS Khorlan Zhakansha (Kazakhstan), 3-2
WIN Abdelkarim Fergat (Algeria), 11-3
LOSS Eldaniz Azizli (Azerbaijan), 8-0
67kg: Ellis Coleman
WIN Meirzhan Shermakhanbet (Kazakhstan), 10-2
LOSS Devyid Dimitrov (Bulgaria), 5-0
87kg: Joe Rau
WIN Kumar Sunil (India), 6-0
LOSS Nikolai Stadub (Belarus), 9-1
97kg: G’Angelo Hancock
WIN Nikolai Krysov (Ukraine), 6-0
LOSS Melonin Noumonvi (France), 6-2
Only five of the 12 seeded wrestlers made the semis.
Heading into today, Georgia and Russia are tied for first in the team race, with Azerbaijan, Japan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan right behind them. I will give updates to the team score in here periodically, especially after repechage is complete and the quarterfinals are over.
And here we go.
Match 1 - Max Nowry vs Abdelkarim Fergat (ALG)
First Period: Nowry is in blue and still Gable wrapped from yesterday. Nothing in the first minute, Fergat probably taking a little more ground but Nowry staying in and battling. Fergat gets hit for passive and Nowry goes on top at 4:31, and hits a lefty gut! Into a trap arm and he gets two more turns to go up 7-0 with 4:02 left. Nowry has looked very good so far in par terre in Nur-Sultan. Nowry snaps but didn't like what he saw, so backs out. 7-0 lead for Nowry at the break.
Second Period: No scores 30 seconds in, and the Algerian is looking frustrating. You can see him start to pick up the pace but Nowry is matching it. Nowry holding center, shutting down Fergat's duck attempt. With 1:20 left Nowry gets hit for passive, Fergat lines up right side. Nowry gets turned but comes up in something that looks similar to a crab ride. They go up to their feet, in rear standing, and Nowry spins out. Fergat falls to the mat and they award Nowry two, 7-3 now. The officials are conferencing. Call stands, 9-3 with under a minute to go. Nowry shuts down the high dive attempt. Whistle with 34 to go. A last ditch effort by Fergat gets hammered by Nowry and he gets the tech with a few seconds left. Great way to start the day.
Max Nowry will wrestle for a bronze medal! He picks up 10 team points for the United States and will wrestle 2018 world champ Eldaniz Azizli (AZE) in the night session.
No time to catch our breath though as two Olympic medalists are on the mat, Shmagi Bolkvadze (GEO) and Ismael Borrero Molina (CUB). This 67kg weight class is L-O-A-D-E-D. Also on the mat is African champ and African Games gold Mohamed El Sayed (EGY), a 2016 Junior world medalist.
Remember that the three Olympic weights going today (67kg, 87kg, and 97kg) are all looking to qualify their country's spot for Tokyo. To do so, they must make the semifinals, because the top six athletes in those brackets earn a spot.
Up now is three-time world champ Frank Staebler, who made the drop down to 67. He's already up 5-0 less than two minutes in. Looking ahead in the bracket, Bolkvade has El Sayed. Now starting to get some 87kg matches. Staebler wins 9-1.
Oh here we go, an all-timer on Mat B, Rasul Chunayev (AZE). Not only an exciting wrestler, but an incredible performer.
Match 2 - John Stefanowicz vs Haitao Qian (CHN)
First Period: About 45 seconds in, they get in a whizzer position and Qian gets the stepout for a 1-0 lead. Passive offered and confirmed against Stefanowicz, 4:41 to go. Qian gets the lift, holding, and on the throw attempt, Stefanowicz forces in and Qian lands flat on his back. China comes out on top, but the refs offer a leg foul. It's a Caution+2 against the Marine, challengedby the American coaches. For the second day in a row, Stefanowicz loses a challenge on a Caution+2. He goes back down, gets turned twice, and loses 9-0.
Up on the point, the young phenom Aleksandr Komarov of Russia at 87kg and the four-time world/Olympic champ, Artur Aleksanyan at 97kg. The round of 32 is set at 67kg, and the feature matchup will be Hansu Ryan against Chunayev.
Also set is the second round at 87kg, which features an excellent one between two seed Metehan Basar (TUR),the two-time defending world champ, and veteran Rustam Assakalov (UZB), a 2015 silver medalist.
Match 3 - Ellis Coleman vs. Meirzan Shermakhanbe (KAZ)
First Period: Ellis sometimes plays things tight and waits for a chance in par terre. Not in the first round! He was active and took risk in opening an 8-2 lead that he took into the break. And he didn't stop there. A quick takedown to start the 2nd period and it's a tech for Ellis over returning World Bronze! And he has a very clear path to semi's now!
Staeblerback on the mat against Norway, leading 6-0. El Sayed is up 3-0 on Bolkvadze at the break. There is a stupid amount of talent in this 67kg bracket. No techs so far for Staebler, but he sure looks the part of a world champ down to weight. El Sayed drops Bolkvadze for two, leading 5-1 under two minutes to go. Minor upset, but he techs Bolkvadze and has Karen Aslanyan (ARM) next.
The hottest of fire on Mat A as Chunayev vs Ryu starts. No points the first 30 seconds, the Azeri is in red and the Korean in blue. Passive for Chunayev gets waved off, first point goes to Ryu after the refs switch to passive against Chunayev. Ryu attempted a couple straight lifts but no turns. Meanwhile, Borrero Molina wins, setting up a big one against Staebler.
Once again, Ryu gets Chunayev put down, 1:57 to go. Going for a high gut, nothing coming of it, 1:32 left. Chunayev just picked up a point, one score match. Chunayev with a body lock! But Ryu fights out of it and wins 2-1. Four-time world/Olympic medalist Zhan Beleniuk, your top seed at 87kg, up 5-0 at the break. First 5 of the day that I've seen closes out the win for Dimitrov, and Bulgaria will have Ellis Coleman next.
Match 4 - Joe Rau vs Sunil Kumar (IND)
First Period: Rau in blue, Robby Smith in his corner. Early stepout for Rau off a front headlock. He looks wild today, going with corn rows and a styled mustache. Another stepout for Rau (remember Final X?) and he leads 2-0 not even a minute in. Sunil picking up the pace, but Rau clearing out and not letting him hold tight. Huge move to end the period! Duck into rear standing then right into a gut wrench! 6-0 lead for the Rau Plow.
Second Period: Back to action and an early whistle. The Indian is having a ton of trouble handling Rau's front headlock, but its stalemated. Another duck attempt, this one stopped. Still 6-0 with 90 seconds remaining. More whistles, 46 seconds left. And that'll do it, Rau closes it out 6-0. Big flurry to end the first, would love to see more of those from our guys this tournament.
Round of 16 is set at 67kg, and the very bottom quarter is extra gnarly. The youngster Komarov moves on to the next round at 87kg, and has the winner of Assakalov and Basar. That match just started.
Assakalov throwing hard lefty overhooks early. No points in the first minute, Basar looking patient. The Uzbek gets the first point, lines up right side. Looking to go over the top on a gut, no points, now into a lift. Blown dead about 25 seconds into par terre. Monster lefty headlock from Assakalov for four! He picks up the fall and knocks off the two-time defending world champ.
Defending 97kg world champ Musa Evloev up on B, and he wins 4-1. Big upset in the repechageg at 55kg as Liguo Cao (CHN) pins Euro champ Vitalii Kabaloev (RUS) to make the bronze medal match.
Match 5 - G'Angelo Hancock vs Mykola Krysov (UKR)
First Period: Hancock is in red, the veteran Krysov is in blue. His only tournament win was at the Ukrainian Memorial earlier this year. Hancock is the 3 seed. Whistle 14 seconds in, looks like an attention against Krysov. Hancock nearly gets to rear standing. The American is holding center and should be able to get Krysov put down. Passive, 1-0 lead for Hancock with 4:45 to go,lines up right side. Low gut, looking left, but he hops over and smooth finish to the right on a slightly higher gut to make it 3--0. Back to their feet 4:23 left. Krysov trying to hold center, but Hancock looks bigger and stronger. 3-0 lead at the break, but Hancock tosses him after the clock expired and they smash the Nike sign!
Second Period: Krysov coming out pushing hard, but Hancock oles him and takes the 4-0 lead. Hancock slowing down, pulling into front head and fighting for two-on-ones. Hancock isn't giving Krysov an inch.
If anyone cares at home, the media food they are serving is excellent. In fact, pretty much all the food we've had in Nur-Sultan is great. Highly recommend Americans visit this city.
Match 6 - Eliis Coleman vs Deyvid Dimitrov (BUL)
First Period: Coleman in the blue, and a weird exchange early. Kind of looked like a Herman from up here, and Dimitrov is awarded four, no challenge from the US coaches. Same position on the edge, no points this time. Strike that, stepout after the refs conference. Coleman trails 5-0 at the break.
Second Period: Ellis goes right into a lefty underhook, arm spin attempt for Bulgaria called a slip, no points. Another slip attempt, and what looked like a clean takedown for Ellis gets wiped off. Difficult one to watch as some points for Coleman appear to be left off. High dive for Dimitrov, into a whizzer for Coleman. Final 30 seconds. That'll do it, 5-0 loss and he'll need some help to get pulled back in.
Monter match here: Borrero vs Staebler, a world final caliber matchup. Staebler leading left, trying to tie up Borrero, but gets pushed out to make 1-0 about 20 seconds in. Wow, Borrero just overpowers Staebler and right into a gut wrench! Dang, 5-0 just like that. The weight cut might be getting to Staebler, as Borrero, who is coming up in weight, is moving him around the mat easily. Staebler gets put down, 4:42 left. My goodness, Borrero gets him up to his feet and plants him, 10-0 tech just past the 90 second mark. Challenge lost, make it 11-0. In what is the best bracket in the tournament, the world and Olympic champ from Cuba looks a cut above right now.
Meanwhile, Ryu is housing Euro champ Yuksel of Turkey on Mat A. Beleniuk up 3-1 on B. Meanwhile, El Sayed has Armenia sprawled out in exhaustion. The Egyptian has looked fantastic today. Ryu vs Borrero Molina is a go.
Here we go, Komarov vs Assakalov. The Uzbek has a pretty clear gameplan: lefty overhook, then tie up your left elbow. Komarov though never breaks position and gets Assakalov put down at the 4:27 mark. Quick gut to go up 3-0 and he holds Assakalov on his back for a few seconds. Blown dead at 3:53. What in the world! A little trickeration from the veteran, rope a doping Komarov as he threw a terrible headlock, allowing Komarov to come around and he goes right into a Greco type Peterson/switch for the fall. It's the first time I've ever seen Komarov lose.
Match 7 - G'Angelo Hancock vs Mélonin NOUMONVI (FRA)
First Period: The 36 year old Noumonvi is in blue. He was world champ in 2014 and silver in 2009. Hancock wins the handfight and gets Noumonvi put down with 4:36 to go. Hancock lines up right side. No turns, but good job threatening by Hancock. Another very patient period by Hancock and he leads 1-0 at the break.
First Period: Man, disagree with that passive call. Hancock was taking ground the whole first minute but gets put down, 2:02 remaining. France got about 20 seconds on top, no turns. Immediate bullrush and Hancock takes the lead 2-1 with just over 90 seconds left. Damn it. Hancock pressures in a little too much and gets launched for 5. He trails 6-2 with 45 to go. Hancock falls.
Match 8 - Joe Rau vs Mikalai STADUB (BLR)
First Period: Rau gets Stadub put down, 4:39 left. He'll line up right side. Golden cornrows leads 1-0 at the break.
Second Period: Rau gets put down at the 1:59 mark, Stadub on the right. Stadub with three workmanlike guts, and then finishes it off at 1:14 mark. Rau kept trying to get out, got his hips off the mat and Stadub rolled him through four times.
Wow, classic Iranian melting an opponent. JR world champ Rosillo of Cuba was up 4-0 with about 1:15 left, the other JR world champ he was facing (Saravi) just underhooked him into oblivion and won 5-4.
The energy in the arena is booming right now. Korea hit a big throw to go up late as they push for a bronze match, the aforementioned Iranian underhook clinic, Kazakhstan in a nailbiter with Cuba, and Aleksanyan in a razor thin bout with Ildem Cenk (TUR).
Quarterfinals will begin shortly.
Starting with 67, which means Borrero Molina vs Ryu! The Korean taking some ground but Borrero Molina circling back to the center. 4:43 to go, Borrero Molina gets on top, left side and leads 1-0 after the passive. 24 seconds on top and no points. Just after the four minute the Cuban starts a sprint and bullrushes Ryu out of bounds to lead 2-0 at the break. Meanwhile, Bulgaria is losing 6-0 and Ellis Coleman will probably be out. Borrero is underhooking Ryu to a pulp, but the ref stops it at 2:26. Borrero is hammering Ryu's right side, but another whistle.
Cuba wants a straight arm push but Ryu gets the stepout, 90 seconds to go. Final minute here. Defending champ Surkove leading on criteria as well. Bulgaria wins and Coleman is eliminated. Flurry and Borrero comes out on top with the pushout, and that'll do it 3-1.
Qualifying for the Olympics at 67kg - Cuba, Denmark, Egypt, Russia
#1 Artem SURKOV (RUS) vs Fredrik BJERREHUUS (DEN)
Mohamed ELSAYED (EGY) vs Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB)
Up to the 87 quarters. Assakalov vs Cuba on A. Rau needs Belarus to upset Beleniuk on B. Hungary leading 3-0 on D, Iran up 1-0 over Germany on C. Cuba puts himself on his back and Assakalov leads by three. Cuba being at the Pan Am qualifier in March does not help America's chances of qualifying. Stadub got on top but couldn't turn Beleniuk. Stadub can't mount a comeback and Rau is eliminated. Meeting the Olympic quota at 87 were Germany, Hungary, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
#1 Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) vs Denis KUDLA (GER)
#3 Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) vs Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB)
Moving up to 97, and we're rooting for France to beat Georgia on Mat D. Defending world champ Musa Evloev can guarantee Russia the lead in the team race if he wins on A. If he loses, on D Melia of Georgia can force a tie. No points anywhere so far.
Evloev close it out with two huge throws after forcing a passive. Saravi gets Aleksanyan put down, but eventually falls behind 3-1 to Aleksanyan. Noumonvi leading 1-0 at the break on a passive. Aleksanyan wins a whizzer position, but no points, up 3-1 with 2:06 to go. Georgia gets Noumonvi put down to take the lead on criteria. Melia just balled up France, and it's 7-1 now.
Saravi gets to a bodylock and forces Aleksanyan out, they go Caution+2! Serbia wins on Mat C to qualify. Noumonvi falls. All US wrestlers have been eliminated from today. The morning session is over.
America will have to go to the Pan Am qualifier at 67kg, 87kg, and 97kg, with Cuba also there at the latter two weights. Draws for tomorrow will be out soon, and Max Nowry wrestles for bronze in a few hours.
#1 Musa EVLOEV (RUS) vs #4 Mihail KAJAIA (SRB)
Giorgi MELIA (GEO) vs Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM)
Top seed Artem SURKOV (RUS) vs Fredrik BJERREHUUS (DEN) up top. Denmark is challenging the stepout for Russia, saying it was a straight arm push. Lost challenge so it's now 2-0 in favor of the defending world champ. Bjerrehuus gets put down at the 3:59 mark and rolls him through for a 5-0 lead, holding him on his back and he gets the fall. Surkov is going back to the finals, and locks up his fourth world medal.
Mohamed EL SAYED (EGY) vs world and Olympic champ Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) down bottom. Borrero with the stepout 32 seconds in. El Sayed gets put down, and Borrero guts him twice for a 6-0 lead, which is where we stand at the break. El Sayed extends the match with a takedown, but still trails 6-2 with 1:42 to go. Borrero Molina is looking for his second world title, and third gold medal including his one from the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Top seed Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) vs Denis KUDLA (GER) up top. Kudla gets the point and Beleniuk goes down at the 4:37 mark. The German got 25 seconds on top but could not get a turn, 4:12 remaining. At the 2:07 mark Kudla is put down. Beleniuk lines up left side, goes for the lift, walks to the edge but only gets a stepout. He leads 2-1 with 1:52 to go. Beleniuk is in the world finals for the third time, plus his silver in Rio.
Three seed Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) vs Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB) down below. Assakalov piks up a point and Lorincz goes down with 4:22 to go. The Uzbek tried to reverse lift, but no go, 3:56 left in the match. Assakalov right back to that lefty overhook in the second. At 1:48 Assakalov is put down. No turns here either, Lorincz leads on criteria with 1:24 left. Whistle at 47 seconds. Lorincz makes his first world final and wins his third world medal.
Top Seed Musa EVLOEV (RUS) vs four seed Mihail KAJAIA (SRB) up top. Evloev gets the Serb put down at 4:30, but a short break to clean up Kajaia, who has a Gable wrap on. Evloev finally gets him up, tries the backstep but no exposure so just a 3-0 lead for the correct throw. Russia is challenging, looking for a leg foul. They win the challenge, so Caution+2 and they're back down. Evloev goes straight lift to the edge, and finishes the four. Another 9-0 tech and the defending world champ is back in the finals.
Giorgi MELIA (GEO) vs Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) down below. Melia gets the point, but can't turn Aleksanyan. He leads 1-0 at the break. Little bit of a flurry 20 seconds in, however, no takedown, but he continues pressuring, locks around the body, attempts a throw and gets 2 for a correct throw out of bounds. The Armenian now leads 2-1. Another point for Aleksanyan as Melia gets put down at the 1:28 mark. Close to a gut wrench but back on their feet with 1:05 remaining. The 3-1 mark holds and Aleksanyan is in the finals once again. He won four in a row from 2014-2017, and Evloev won last year, so the last five world and Olympic titles will be showcased tomorrow night.
Match 9 - Max Nowry vs Eldaniz Azizli (AZE)
First Period: The last match of the day for America, and it's for a bronze medal. Nowry, the Pan Am champ, is in red, while reigning world champ Azizli is in blue. Spenser Mango in the main chair and WCAP coach Bruce Robinson behind him. Front headlock for Azizli and and a takedown in the first 15 seconds. A gut wrench and it's 4-0. Struggling to get another lefty gut, 6-0. One more finishes it off, Azizli by tech in 39 seconds.
Shota Ogawa (JPN) fours Liguo Cao (CHN), but China gets exposure on a reversal. Score shows 7-2 right now with 4:01 left, but Cao is challenging. Score goes to 9-2 now, so Ogawa is one point from a tech. Backstep and a correct throw for Ogawa and that's a bronze for Japan.
I don't know that I've ever been more excited about a Greco world final than this one coming up. This Kazakh crowd is insane right now. Throw attempt, and Zhakansha lands on his back, called 4 for Georgia. Challenge by Kazakhstan that it should not be 4 for Tsurtsumia. Extended challenge and U23 world champ Nugzari is now up 5-0. Tsurtsumia fights off the attack, gets a takedown, and lifts Zhakansha. He finshes it on the mat, hits a backflip and his coach throws him. My personal favorite non-American Greco wrestler gets his first world title.
Four seed Slavik GALSTYAN (ARM) is facing Meysam DALKHANI (IRI). The Iranian fans are always amazing, and the horns are going for this one. Ton of action in the first minute, and it's 4-3 in favor of Armenia. A stepout and Galstyan now leads 5-3. Galstyan would go on to win 7-5.
Olympic silver Shinobu Ota (JPN) led 1-0 at the break after getting defending champ Stepan Maryanyan (RUS) put down. Goofy exchange in the second that was called a 4 for Russia, which the Japanese coaches did not challenge. It was a neck whip where Ota held onto him the whole time, but he did clearly expose. Ota did get the reversal though, and then back on their feet he goes side headlock for a big four! The head pinch to the mat gave him a 6-4 lead. He held on to the lock and rolled Maryanyan through twice to expose and it 10-4. Challenge by Russia. What ended up is that the jury of appeal went 4 on the initial pinch, two on another, and then a Catuion+2. Ota wins 10-4 for his first world title.
One seed Aik MNATSAKANIAN (BUL) is in blue and Michael WIDMAYER (GER) is in red. Challenge just after a minute. Widmayer up 1-0, and there is a Caution+1 on the board against Bulgaria. Boos from the crowd. The German leads 2-0 at the break. Back to action and another stepout for Widmayer makes it 3-0. The boo birds are growing louder and Widmayer gets put down. Mnatsakanian pulls him on top but blown dead. 1:12 to go and a whistle. Underhook and the top seed runs through Widmayer to the edge for exposure, takes the lead on criteria. For the second year in a row Mnatsakanian wins bronze for Bulgaria.
Hungary's Balint Korpasi with a takedown and turn in the first 30 seconds, leading 4-0 over Jiyeon Lee of Korea. At the 3:52 mark, Korpasi gets Lee put down and lines up on the left side. Looks to have a trap arm, 7-0 now. Into a lift but Lee slips out. Second period and they're battling in the middle. Arm drag to rear standing and it's a 9-0 win for Korpasi, who has won a medal four straight years.
Three seed Abuiazid Mantsigov (RUS) is in the blue, and Aram Vardanyan (UZB) is in the red. Quick stepout 16 seconds in for Russia. Mantsigov explodes for two and into a gut wrench, then another, trying to finish it off and he does. Russia is running away with the team race.
In the red is Haitao Qian of China. He is facing Nurbek Khashimbekov of Uzbekistan. Takedown and gut for KhashiMbekov, but could not mutser any points.Headlock by Qian, and that's another pin!
Saeid Abdvali looking for yet another medal for Iran. He is facing Iurii Shkriuba of Ukraine. Iran gets on top at the 4:43 mark and a front headlock turns into a 4. They'll head into the break with Abdvali up 5-0. Abdvale oles and underhooks, finishing a takedown on the edge. The 2011 world champ wins his third career medal with a 7-0 shutout.
Last match of the day. Lasha Gobadze (GEO) in the red, Rafiq Huseynov (AZE) in the blue. Gobadze takes the lead with 4:35 to go. The Georgia is looking for a reverse lift, but they end up back on the ground. However, a second effort and roll through makes it 5-0. Restart with four minutes to go. At the break, it remains 5-0 in favor of Gobadze. Huseynov gets his first point and Gobadze goes down. Gobadze wins his second career medal after finishing with bronze at 80kg in 2015.