2021 Senior European Championships

European Championships Preview

European Championships Preview

The 2021 European Championships will preview some of the top talent that will challenge Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics.

Apr 19, 2021 by Jon Kozak
European Championships Preview
The European Championships start Monday, April 19th with Men’s Freestyle and will be a preview of at least 16 Olympians. Those who are not qualified will use this as a tune-up for the Last Chance Qualifier in Bulgaria in early May. The tournament will be split into two days of competition for each weight. 

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The European Championships start Monday, April 19th with Men’s Freestyle and will be a preview of at least 16 Olympians. Those who are not qualified will use this as a tune-up for the Last Chance Qualifier in Bulgaria in early May. The tournament will be split into two days of competition for each weight. 

Below is the schedule for Men’s Freestyle:

Monday, April 19th

5:30am-9:30am  - Qualification rounds for 57, 65, 70, 79 and 97

12:00pm-1:30pm  - Semi-Finals for 57, 65, 70, 79 and 97

Tuesday, April 20th

5:30am-9:30am  - Qualification rounds for 61, 74, 86, 92, and 125

10:45 am-11:45am - Semi-Finals for 61, 74, 86, 92, and 125

12:00pm-3pm - Medal rounds for 57, 65, 70, 79 and 97

Wednesday, April 21st

12:00pm-3pm - Medal rounds for 61, 74, 86, 92, and 125

***All Times Eastern Standard

There are a number of ranked wrestlers at Euros along with world medalists and champs throughout every weight. To help you follow, take a look below at a preview of the best wrestlers at every weight, the bracket breakdown, and a prediction of how things will play out.

57kg - Starts Monday

Top contenders 

-#5 Suleyman Atli (TUR) - 2019 World Silver Medalist, 2019 Euro Gold

-Aryan Tsiutrin (BLR) - 2020 Yarygin Bronze, 2018 Russian Nationals Bronze

-#2 Nachyn Mongush (RUS) - 2021 Russian Nationals Silver

-Afghan Khashalov (AZE) - 2019 U23 World Bronze, 2016 Junior World Gold

-Beka Bujiashvili - 2013 Junior World Bronze

Bracket Breakdown 

Atli is the most credentialed of the bunch and is sitting in the top half of the bracket with the other three on the bottom. Atli’s greatest road block will most likely be 2020 Georgia National champ, Beka Bujiashvili in the semis. In the bottom half, Nachyn Mongush, who is coming off a Russian Nationals runner-up finish, will meet Russian transfer, Aryan Tsiutrin in the first round. Expect the winner of that to get by Givi Davidovi in the quarters and meet Afghan Khashalov in the semis.

Link to 57 Bracket


Semis - Atli over Bujiashvili, Mongush over Khashalov

Finals - Atli over Mongush

Olympians in the bracket:

Suleyman Atli

61kg - Starts Tuesday

Top Contenders:

-Abasgadzhi Magomedov (RUS) - 2021 Russian Nationals Gold, 2020 World Cup Gold

-Beka Lomtadze (GEO) - 2019 World Gold, 2019 Euro Silver, 2016 World Silver

-Akmednabi Gvarzatilov (AZE) - 2020 World Cup Silver, 2016 World Bronze

-Georgie Vangelov (BUL) - 2016 Euro Bronze, 2011 Junior World Silver

Bracket Breakdown 

For a randomly drawn bracket, 61kg is fairly evenly distributed. On the top Gvarzatilov and Lomtadze should have a clear path to meet in the semis. Lomtadaze and Gvarzatilov last met in the finals at the 2019 Grand Prix of Tbilisi. That match went to Lomtadze in a competitive, 7-4 bout. 

Random draw did keep half of the top competitors apart but it also matched two of the top four in the first round. Magomedov and Vangelov will meet in the round of 16 and expect the winner of that to cruise to the finals. 

Link to 61 Bracket


Semis - Lomtadze over Gvarzatilov, Magomedov over Guidea

Finals - Magomedov over Lomtadze

Olympians in the Bracket

Georgi Vangelov (at 57kg)

65kg - Starts Monday

Top Contenders:

-Ali Rahimzade (AZE) - 2020 Euro Bronze, 2018 U23 World Silver

-#3 Zagir Shakhiev (RUS) - 2021 Russian Nationals Silver

-#9 Ismael Musukaev (HUN) - 2019 World Bronze

-Maxim Sacultan (MDA) - 2019 and 2018 U23 World Bronze 

Bracket Breakdown

While some of the “top dogs” are missing from this bracket (Tevanyan, Rashidov, Aliyev, Khinchegashvili), this might be an opportunity for us to see the future stars of 65kg. The two young talents in this bracket, Zagir Shakhiev and Ali Rahimzade, should meet in the semis. It’s hard to predict what might happen in that match but both have notched marquee wins in their young careers. Rahimzade took out world medalist Musukaev at 2020 Euros to win bronze and Shakhiev defeated world and Olympic Champ, Soslan Ramonov at 2020 Russian Nationals. 

Depending on his cardio, Ismail Musuakev should walk through to the finals in the bottom half of the 65kg bracket. He has been known to have a “head-scratching” match or two at every tournament he enters. In some matches, Musukaev is the far superior wrestler but will give up a takedown in a playful attempt to extend the match. Regardless of who he wrestles, Musukaev is a must watch.

Zagir Shakhiev taking out Kurban Shiraev at Russian Nationals


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Link to 65 Bracket


Semis - Shakhiev over Rahimzade, Musukaev over Bekreneu

Finals - Shakhiev over Musukaev

Olympians in the Bracket:

Ismail Musukaev

70kg - Starts Monday

Top Contenders:

-Turan Bayramov (AZE) - 2019 U23 World Gold

-Haydar Yavuz (TUR) - 2020 World Cup Silver

-David Tlashadze (GEO) - 2016 Euro Silver

-Israil Kasumov (RUS) - 2021 Russian Nationals Gold, 2020 Yarygin Gold,  2017 Euro Bronze

-Mihail Sava (MDA) - 2020 Euro Bronze

Bracket Breakdown

70kg is one of the “weaker” weights - there are no past world medalists competing in this bracket and no Tokyo Olympians. However, expect at least one of the top contenders in this bracket to medal on the world level in the next year or two. Haydar Yavuz and Turan Bayramov are both younger talents for their respective countries and should be the best quarter-final match-up in this bracket. Yavuz has a win over James Green at the 2019 Yasar Dogu and also defeated Israil Kasumov at 2020 Euros on his way to a bronze medal there. Bayramov doesn’t have as notable wins on the senior level but might be known by American fans for his 9-1 win at the 2019 Junior Worlds over Yahya Thomas.

The bottom side of this bracket is wide open aside from Kasumov and Sava who will meet in the first round. Kasumov has taken silver at Russian Nationals 3 times, won Yarygin a few times, but has never represented Russia at the World Championships. To keep himself as the front-runner for Russia at 70kg, he’ll need to continue his winning streak from 2021 Russian nationals and bring home Euro Gold

Link to 70 Bracket


Semis - Yavuz over Salavei, Kasumov over Andreasyan

Finals - Yavuz over Kasumov

74kg - Starts Tuesday

Top Contenders:

#2 Razambek Zhamalov (RUS) - 2021 Russian Nationals Silver, 2020 World Cup Gold

#3 Khetik Tsabolov (SRB) - 2020 Russian Nationals Silver, 2014 World Champ, 2017 World Silver

#5 Frank Chamizo (ITA) - 2017 and 2015 World Champ, 2019 World Silver

#10 Avtandil Kentchadze (GEO) - 2018 World Silver, 2018 U23 World Gold, 2020 Euro Bronze

Bracket Breakdown 

This is Khetik Tsabolov's first tournament representing Serbia after transferring from Russia. The former world champ is using this tournament as a warm up for his attempt to qualify for the Olympics next month in Bulgaria. Because of the chaos of random draw, Tsabolov will face a challenging warm-up. All the top contenders are crowded into the bottom half of the bracket. Tsabolov (who is going by Cabalov now that he’s Serbian) and Kentchadze will meet in the first round with the winner likely seeing Chamizo in the quarters. Chamizo will look to stay undefeated against either of those top competitors in order to avenge his loss from the 2020 World Cup against Razembek Zhamalov in the semis. 

Check out Chamizo and Zhamalov's match from the 2020 World Cup

The top side of this bracket is wide open with no clear contender to make the finals. Miroslav Kirov is the most experienced of the wrestlers but might be past his prime. Mitch Finesilver, on the other hand, is just entering his senior level career and has had good international showings by taking bronze at the 2021 Henri Deglane and losing competitive matches at the Euro Qualifier and Matteo Pellicone. Expect the winner of Finesilver and Kirov to make it through to the finals on the top side.

Link to 74 Bracket

Semis - Kirov over Kapraev, Chamizo over Zhamalov

Finals - Chamizo over Kirov

Olympians in Bracket

Frank Chamizo, Avtandil Kentchadze

79kg - Starts Monday

Top Contenders:

-Malik Shavaev (RUS) - 2021 Russian Nationals Gold

-Muhammet Kotanoglu (TUR) - 2020 World Cup Silver, 2019 Euro Bronze, 

-Andrey Karpach (BLR) - 2018 Euro Bronze

-Nika Kentchadze (GEO) - 2018 U23 World Gold, 2019 Euro Bronze 

Bracket Breakdown

Like the other non-Olympic weights, 79kg lacks the high-end talent with the success and credentials to give testimony to their names. Before seeing this bracket, two of the favorites in this weight were Kotanoglu and Shavaev. And because of the random draw, they will meet in the first round. Kotanoglu’s best performance internationally was at the 2020 World Cup where he made the finals but ultimately lost 11-0 to Akhmed Usmanov (RUS). Shavaev, has limited results on the senior level but impressively won Russian Nationals last month by defeating the aforementioned Usmanov in the finals, 6-4. The winner of that opening bout will likely see Nika Kentchadze, who boasts 2 wins over Kotanoglu-one in 2018 and the other in 2019.

The bottom half of the bracket does not have the same talent as the top. Karpach is the most credentialed but is far from a sure thing to make the finals.

Link to 79 Bracket


Semis - Shavaev over Gulaev, Karpach over Alekma

Finals - Shavaev over Karpach

86kg - Starts Tuesday

Top Contenders 

-#4 Artur Naifonov (RUS) - 2021 Russian Nationals Gold, 2019 World Bronze

-#13 Myles Amine (SMR) - 2019 World 5th, 2020 Euro Silver

-#14 Ali Shabanau (BLR) - 2018, 17, 14, 13 World Bronze

-Sandro Aminashvili (GEO) - 2015 World Bronze

-#16 Osmen Gocen (TUR) - 2020 World Cup Bronze, 2019 U23 World Bronze

-Gadzhimurad Magomedsaidov (AZE) - 2019 U23 World Silver, 2016 Junior World Bronze

Bracket Breakdown

Artur Naiffonov is the clear favorite at 86kg but he will be challenged from the start with an opening match against Magomedsaidov and a quarter-final bout against Amine. The match against Amine would be a re-match of the 2020 Euro finals where Naifonov won a controlling, 4-0 bout. Should Naifonov defeat both Amine and Magomedsaidov, he will meet either Boris Makoev or Osmen Gocen in the semis. Gocen should be the man to make the semis-especialy considering he just teched Makoev at the 2021 Euro Qualifier.

The top side of this bracket should come down to two experienced wrestlers-Ali Shabanau and Sandro Aminashvili. Both seem to be on the tail end of their careers but Shabanau has been able to extend his success beyond Aminashvili. Most recently, Shabanau won the Euro Olympic Qualifier in a bracket in which Aminashvili competed.

Link to 86 Bracket


Semis - Shabanau over Aminashvili, Naifonov over Gocen

Finals - Naifonov over Shabanau

Olympians in Bracket

Artur Naifonov*, Myles Amine, Ali Shabanau, Osmen Gocen

*Russia has not declared Naifonov to be the Olympian yet-Gold here should lock in the spot for him.

92kg - Starts Tuesday

Top Contenders

-Magomed Kurbanov (RUS) - 2021 Russian Nationals Gold

-Georgi Rubaev (MDA) - 2020 World Cup Silver, 2019 World 5th

-Irakli Mtsituri (GEO) - 2019 World Bronze, 2019 Euro Bronze

-Ahmed Magmaev (BUL) - 2017 Yarygin Bronze

-Samuel Scherrer (SUI) - 2020 World Cup Bronze, 2020 Euro Silver

Bracket Breakdown

Kurbanov, Magamaev, and Mtsituri all find themselves together on the bottom half of the bracket. Mtsituri and Magamaev will see each other in the first round and have an especially tough draw with dark horse Nurmagomedov in the quarters. Nurmagomdeov is not on the contender list because he has not placed at a major tournament, but he does have past wins over both Mtsituri and Scherrer. 

While Scherrer is the only world medalist in the top half of the bracket, watch out for the winner of Rubaev and Rajabau to make the finals. 

Link to 92 Bracket


Semis - Rubaev over Scherrer, Kurbanov over Nurmagomedov

Finals - Kurbanov over Rubaev 

97kg - Starts Monday

Top Contenders

-#9 Alikhan Zhabrailov (RUS) - 2021 Russian Nationals Gold, 2020 World Cup Gold, 2019 World Bronze

-#4 Suleyman Karadeniz (TUR) - 2020 World Cup Bronze, 2019 Euro Gold, 

-Albert Saritov (MKD) - 2020 Euro Silver, 2016 Olympic Bronze, 2011 World Bronze

-#3 Aleksandr Hushtyn (BLR) - 2020 World Cup Silver, 2019 Euro Silver

-#5 Elizbar Odikadze (GEO) - 2018 World Broze, 2020 Euro Bronze

-Magomedgadzhi Nurov (MKD) - 2019 World Bronze

Bracket Breakdown

Like the other brackets, most of the top contenders are in the bottom half. That means Alikhan Zhabrailov should follow up his Russian Nationals gold with a finals appearance here. The bottom bracket could work out a number of ways with how close the top contenders are to the same level. Over the past year and a half, Saritov, Karadeniz, Hushtyn, and Odikadze have all traded wins and losses. 

Link to 97 Bracket


Semis - Zhabrailov over Bataev, Karadeniz over Odikadze

Finals - Karadeniz over Zhabrailov

Olympians in the Bracket

Elizbar Odikadze, Aliaksandr Hushtyn, Suleyman Karadeniz, Magomedgadzhi Nurov

125kg - Starts Tuesday

Top Contenders

#1 Taha Akgul (TUR) - 2016 Olympic Gold, 2014 and 2015 World Gold

#2 Geno Petriashvili (GEO) - 2017, 2018, 2019 World Gold

#10 Sergey Kozyrev (RUS) - 2021 Russian Nationals Gold

#6 Dzianis Khramiankou (BLR) - 2020 World Cup Bronze, 2019 U23 World Bronze

Oleksandr Khotsianivskyi (UKR) - 2019 World Bronze, 2019 Euro Bronze

Bracket Breakdown

The last six years in the heavyweight division have been controlled by Geno Petriashvili and Taha Akgul. In two of those years, they met in the World Finals. Here at Euros, they’ll meet in the first round! If trends have shown us anything, it’s Akgul wins at Euros and Petriashvili wins at Worlds. This has been the case the last three years. Regardless of the trend, whoever wins in the opening round is a heavy favorite to cruise to the finals and win gold. With that in mind, the dark horse in this bracket is Dzianis Khramiankou. He took out Russia’s Shamil Sharipov last month to qualify for the Olympics. 

Petriashvili and Akgul's 2019 World Finals match

Sergey Kozyrev is the man to watch on the top half of the bracket. Russia is still not qualified for the Olympics at this weight and will use this tournament to determine who to send to the last World Qualified in Bulgaria. If Kozyrev performs well, he should be the rep for Russia in May and could ultimately challenge for a medal in Tokyo.

Link to 125 Bracket


Semis - Kozyrev over Ligeti, Akgul over Khramiankou

Finals - Akgul over Kozyrev

Olympians in the Bracket

Geno Petriashvili, Taha Akgul, Oleksandr Khotsianivskyi, Dzianis Khramiankou