2021 Poland Open Preview - 30 Olympians Competing In Men's Freestyle
2021 Poland Open Preview - 30 Olympians Competing In Men's Freestyle
Event preview and predictions for Men's Freestyle at the 2021 Poland Open.
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The 2021 Poland Open currently has 30 Olympians entered and will be the last major international competition before the Olympics in August. Iran and Kazakhstan are also using the Poland Open to help determine their final spots on their Olympic Team. Along with the Olympic implication, America is sending many of our top freestyle stars to Poland to compete against the best in the world. Get all the details on every weight in men's freestyle below.
Tuesday, June 8 - Sunday, June 13
Men's Freestyle Starts Tuesday, June 8th at 5am (EST)
57kg - 10 Entries
Stevan Micic will be using the Poland Open as preparation for Tokyo and should be considered the favorite to win this tournament. Micic has the most international success of anyone entered in this field but has not competed since December 2020 where he took 5th at the Individual World Cup. Micic will be challenged by NCAA Champions, Nick Suriano and Nathan Tomasello. Suriano, before testing positive for Covid-19 and missing the Olympic Trials, had a successful start to 2021 in international competition. He won the Henri Deglane in January and placed 2nd at the Matteo Pellicone in March. Tomasello is also coming off an impressive showing at the Olympic Trials. At the Trials, Tomasello placed 3rd with wins over Sean Russel and Zane Richards.
- Stevan Micic (SRB) - 2020 Euro Bronze, 2019 Euro Games Silver, 2015 Jr. World Bronze
- Nathan Tomasello (USA) - NCAA Champion, 4X All-American
- Nick Suriano (USA) - NCAA Champion, 2X All-American
Olympians in the field - Abdelhak Kherbache (ALG), Oscar Tigreros (COL), Stevan Micic (SRB)
Gold - Stevan Micic (SRB)
Silver - Nick Suriano (USA)
Bronze - Nathan Tomasello (USA)
Bronze - Engin Cetin (TUR)
61kg - 9 Entries
Ravi Kumar, Reza Atri, Nurislam Sanayev and Gulumjon Abdullaev will all compete in Tokyo at 57kg but are entered at 61kg in Poland. Kumar should be considered the favorite; he has wins over both Atri and Sanayev. Kumar defeated Atri for bronze at 2019 worlds and has 2 wins over Sanayev from early 2020.
Gulumjon Abdullaev is an up-and-coming contender at 57kg. Abdullaev was Jr World Bronze in 2016 and has won 2 consecutive international tournaments. He won the International Ukrainian Tournament in February 2021 and the Asian Olympic Qualifying tournament in April 2021. Should he perform well in Poland, Abdullaev could cement himself as a challenger to the best in the world at 57kg.
- #5 (at 57kg) Ravi Kumar (IND) - 2019 World Bronze, 2020 and 2021 Asian Gold
- #6 (at 57kg) Reza Atri (IRI) - 2019 Asian Gold, 2018 Asian Games Bronze
- #9 (at 57kg) Nurislam Sanayev (KAZ) - 2019 World Bronze, 2018 World Silver, 2018 Asian Gold
- Recep Topal (TUR) - 2018 and 2019 Euro Bronze,
- #13 (at 57kg) Gulomjon Abdullaev (UZB) - 2021 Asian Olympic Qualifier Gold
Olympians in the field - Ravi Kumar (IND), Reza Atri (IRI), Nurislam Sanayev (KAZ), Gulumjon Abdullaev (UZB)
Gold - Ravi Kumar (IND)
Silver - Reza Atri (IRI)
Bronze - Gulumjon Abdullaev (UZB)
Bronze - Nurislam Sanayev (KAZ)
Ravi Kumar and Reza Atri's Bronze Match at 2019 Worlds:
65kg - 12 Entries
65kg will feature 4 Tokyo Olympians and 4 past world medalists. The top wrestlers at the weight in Poland will be Bajrang Punia, Daulet Niyazbekov and Ismail Musukaev. Niyazbekov last defeated Bajrang to make the finals of the 2019 World Championships but also lost twice to Alec Pantaleo at the 2021 Matteo Pellicone in March. Poland will show how close to peak form both Bajrang and Musukaev are. Bajrang forfeited against world champion Takuto Otogruo in the finals of the Asian championships in April due to an injury. Musukaev is well known for his inconsistent performances and subpar conditioning. However, when in top shape, Muskaev is capable of defeating anyone in the world.
Along with the international talent, Americans Yianni Diakomihalis and Joey McKenna will challenge for gold in Poland. Yianni is coming off a down performance at the Olympic Trials but has won every international tournament he’s entered since 2015 and has past wins over Bajrang and Musukaev. Should Yianni win gold in Poland, or even defeat some of the top wrestlers at the weight, he’ll put himself back in the conversation for medal contenders for 2021 Worlds. Joey McKenna is also looking to continue his international success after winning gold at the Pan-Am Championships. With freestyle wins over Zain Retherford, Jaydin Eierman and Yianni Diakomihalis, McKenna has proven to be one of America’s best 65kg wrestlers and will be a threat to the best in the world at the weight.
- Agustin Destribats (ARG) - 2020 World Cup Bronze, 2019 and 2020 Pan-Am Bronze
- #7 Ismail Musukaev (HUN) - 2019 World Bronze, 2020 World Cup Silver, 2018 Russian Nationals Silver2013 Jr. World Silver
- #6 Bajrang Punia (IND) - 2019 and 2013 World Bronze, 2018 World Silver, 2014, 2020 and 2021 Asian Silver, 2017 and 2019 Asian Gold
- #12 Daulet Niyazbekov (KAZ) - 2019 World Silver, 2018 Asian Gold2020 Asian Bronze
- Eduard Grigorev (POL) - 2021 Euro Bronze, 2019 Yarygin Bronze,
- Vasyl Shuptar (UKR) - 2015 World Bronze 2014, 2015, and 2019 Euro Bronze
- Joey McKenna (USA) - 2021 Pan-Am Gold, 3X NCAA All-American, 2017 U23 World Bronze, 2014 Jr World Silver
- Yianni Diakomihalis (USA) - 2X NCAA Champion, 2020 Pan-Am Silver, 2015 and 2016 Cadet World Silver
Olympians in the field - Agustin Destribats (ARG), Ismail Musukaev (HUN) , Bajrang Punia (IND), Daulet Niyazbekov (KAZ)
Gold - Bajrang Punia (IND)
Silver - Yianni Diakomihalis (USA)
Bronze - Daulet Niyazbekov (KAZ)
Bronze - Ismail Musukaev (HUN)
Watch Yianni vs Bajrang at the 2019 Beat the Streets Event:
70kg - 11 Entries
Three-time world champion Haji Aliyev is up at 70kg in preparation for the Olympic Games. Aliyev will be joined by fellow 65kg Olympian, Ernazar Akmataliev and 2-time world medalist James Green as the top contenders in this bracket. On paper, Aliyev should be considered the favorite-he has 2 head-to-head wins over Akmataliev and is clearly the most credentialed wrestler in the bracket. However, Aliyev will be giving up weight to Green, and Akmataliev proved in his win over Bekbulatov to have dangerous, match-ending potential against the best in the world.
Alec Pantaleo is also entered here and is looking to take over 70kg in America. Pantaleo is 0-2 in his career against James Green but is coming off a gold medal performance at the Pan-Am Championships. The Poland Open could be Pantaleo’s announcement that he’s one of the best 70kg in the world.
- #9 (at 65kg) Haji Aliyev (AZE) - 2014, 2015 and 2017 World Gold, 2016 Olympic Bronze, 2020 World Cup Bronze, 2014, 2018 and 2019 Euro Gold
- #10 (at 65kg) Ernazar Akmataliev (KGZ) - 2021 Asian Olympic Qualifier Gold
- Mustafa Kaya (TUR) - 2019 Euro Gold, 2016 Euro Silver, 2015 Euro Games Bronze, 2012 Junior World Bronze
- Selahattin Kilicsallayan (TUR) - 2019 Euro Silver, 2013 Jr. World Bronze,
- James Green (USA) - 2017 World Silver, 2015 World Bronze, 2016 and 2017 Pan-Am Gold, 4X NCAA All-American
- Alec Pantaleo (USA) - 2021 Pan-Am Gold, 3X NCAA All-American
Olympians in the Field - Haji Aliyev (AZE) and Ernazar Akmataliev (KGZ)
Gold - James Green (USA)
Silver - Haji Aliyev (AZE)
Bronze - Ernazar Akmataliev (KGZ)
Bronze - Alec Pantaleo (USA)
74kg - 23 Entries
74kg at the Poland Open is intriguing for a variety of reasons. First, 74kg has the most entries and contenders of any weight in the tournament. There are 8 wrestlers in the bracket who are past world/Olympic medalists and another 3 who are young “up-and-comers”. Frank Chamizo, Soner Demirtas and Yakup Gor have been at the top of the senior level for many years but will be challenged by younger competitors such as - Khazhimurad Gadzhiyev, Tajmuraz Salkazanov, Fazil Eryilmaz, and Jason Nolf.
Interest at 74kg also lies in a few of the countries using this tournament as a means to decide their 74kg Olympic rep. Kazakhstan and Iran have entered their wrestler who qualified 74kg for the Olympics along with wrestlers who are 2nd or 3rd on the “ladder”. Whoever from those countries has a better tournament at Poland, will likely earn the right to be the Olympic representative in Tokyo.
- #9 Khadzhimurad Gadzhiyev (AZE) - 2019 Jr World Bronze, 2019 Euro Games Bronze, 2018 Jr World Gold
- Mostafa Hosseinkhani (IRI) - 2016 World Bronze, 2021 Asian Silver, 2018 and 2020 Asian bronze, 2014 and 2016 Asian Gold
- Yones Emami (IRI) - 2019 World Bronze, 2019 Asian Bronze
- #3 Frank Chamizo (ITA) - 2015 and 2017 World Gold, 2016 Olympic Bronze, 2019 World Silver, 2020 World Cup Silver, 2017, 2017, 2019 and 2020 Euro Gold
- Nurkozha Kaipanov (KAZ) - 2019 World Silver, 2021 Asian Gold
- #14 Daniyar Kaisanov (KAZ) - 2019 World Bronze, 2020 Asian Gold, 2019 Asian Gold, 2018 Asian Games Silver
- #12 Tajmuraz Salkazanov (SVK) - 2019 World Bronze, 2021 Euro Gold, 2018 U23 World Gold
- #19 Soner Demirtas (TUR) - 2017 World Bronze, 2016 Olympic Bronze, 2016, 2017, and 2018 Euro Gold, 2015 and 2019 Euro Silver
- Yakup Gor (TUR) - 2014 World Silver, 2015 World Bronze, 2015 Euro Bronze, 2013 Euro Silver
- Fazli Eryilmaz (TUR) - 2020 World Cup Bronze
- Jason Nolf (USA) - 2020 Pan-Am Gold, 3X NCAA Champion, 4X NCAA All-American
Olympians in Field - Khadzhimurad Gadzhiyev (AZE), Yones Emami (IRI), Frank Chamizo (ITA), Daniyar Kaisanov (KAZ)
Gold - Frank Chamizo (ITA)
Silver - Tajmuras Salkaznov (SVK)
Bronze - Soner Demirtas (TUR)
Bronze - Nurkozha Kaipanov (KAZ)
Watch Frank Chamizo and Tajmuraz Salkazanov meet at the 2021 European Champioships:
79kg - 10 Entries
The 79kg bracket is one of the smallest in men’s freestyle at the Poland Open but has 4 legitimate contenders. Vasyl Mykhailov and Bekzod Abdurakhmonov have the most momentum coming into the tournament and should be considered the favorites. Mykhailov has 3 past wins over Gulaev and recently defeated Kurbanov at the 2020 Individual World Cup. Mykhailov also qualified for the Olympics at 74kg last month after taking silver at the World Olympic Games Qualifier. Bekzod has also increased his activity on the world level and qualified for the Olympics in April by taking silver at the Asian Olympic Qualifier. Abdurakhmonov also has a win over Mykhailov from February in the bronze medal match at the International Ukrainian Tournament.
- Akhsarbek Gulaev (SVK) - 2021 Euro Gold
- #18 (at 74kg) Vasyl Mykhailov (UKR) - 2020 World Cup Bronze, 2020 Euro Bronze, 2017 U23 World Bronze
- #10 (at 74kg) Bekzod Abdurakhmonov (UZB) - 2014 and 2018 World Bronze, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018 Asian Gold
- Rashid Kurbanov (UZB) - 2013 World Bronze, 2018 Asian Silver, 2015 Asian Bronze, 2011, 2013 and 2014 Asian Gold
Olympians in Field - Bekzod Abdurakhmonov (UZB) and Vasyl Mykhailov (UKR)
Gold - Vasyl Mykhialov (UKR)
Silver - Akhsarbek Gulaev (SVK)
Bronze - Bekzod Abdurakhmonov (UZB)
Bronze - Rashid Kurbanov (UZB)
86kg - 12 Entries
Deepak Punia and Myles Amine will be competing in the Olympics in August and are using the Poland Open as preparation for Tokyo. If the Olympics happened today, both Amine and Punia would be contenders to bring home an Olympic medal. Despite Punia and Amine being the only Olympians in the field, Zahid Valencia might be considered the favorite in this bracket. Valencia has multiple wins over Fatih Erdin and placed ahead of Deepak Punia at the 2020 Matteo Pellicone.
- Deepak Punia (IND) - 2019 World Silver, 2019 Jr World Gold, 2019 and 2020 Asian Bronze
- #11 Myles Amine (SMR) - 2021 Euro Bronze, 2019 World 5th, 2020 Euro Silver
- Stefan Reichmuth (SUI) - 2019 World Bronze
- Fatih Erdin (TUR) - 2018 World Silver, 2019 Euro Bronze
- #10 Zahid Valencia (USA) - 2X NCAA Champion, 3X NCAA All-American, 2017 Jr World Silver
Olympians in Field - Deepak Punia (IND) and Myles Amine (SMR)
Gold - Zahid Valencia (USA)
Silver - Myles Amine (SMR)
Bronze - Fatih Erdin (TUR)
Bronze - Deepak Punia (IND)
92kg - 13 Entries
Two-time defending world champion, J’den Cox is making his return to 92kg in preparation for the 2021 World Championships. Cox is on a 22 match win streak and has not lost since July of 2018. In those 22 matches, Cox has recorded 7 tech falls and only given up 13 points. Cox could also have the chance to avenge one of his few international losses. Selim Yasar defeated J’den Cox in the semi-finals of the 2016 Olympic Games. Though Yasar does hold that win over Cox, he hasn't medaled at the world level since those Olympic Games and will now be a heavy underdog to Cox should they meet in Poland.
Along with Yasar, Cox will be challenged by fellow Americans Nate Jackson and Myles Martin. Jackson and Martin are both moving up from 86kg and looking to make a world team at the non-Olympic weight in 2021.
- Zbigniew Baranowski (POL) - 2019 Euro Silver
- Erhan Yaylaci (TUR) - 2019 Jr World Bronze
- Selim Yasar (TUR) - 2016 Olympic Silver, 2015 World Silver, 2014 World Bronze, 2009 Jr World Gold, 2017 Euro Bronze
- #2 (P4P) J’den Cox (USA) - 2018 and 2019 World Gold, 2017 World Bronze, 2016 Olympic Bronze, 2019 Pan-Am Gold
- Nathan Jackson (USA) - 2021 Pan-Am Gold
- Myles Martin (USA) - NCAA Champion, 4X NCAA All-American
Gold - J’den Cox (USA)
Silver - Myles Martin (USA)
Bronze - Selim Yasar (TUR)
Bronze - Nate Jackson (USA)
97kg - 15 Entries
97kg might be the most interesting weight at the Poland Open. Iran is looking to decide their Olympic representative at the tournament and 4 other Olympians are in the field. We explored Iran’s 97kg drama in depth in this article. The quick summary is Mohammad Mohammadian, Ali Shabani, and Alireza Karimi are all wrestling at the Poland Open to earn the right to compete in Tokyo. Whoever performs the best in Poland will likely earn the spot on the Olympic team.
Along with the Iranian competitors, Olympians Sharifov, Conyedo, Yergali, and Nurov will also be in the field in Poland. Sharifov is the most credentialed of that bunch but did not look to be in peak form in his last competition at the 2021 Henri Deglane. Sharifov took a loss there and forfeited to Kyle Snyder. With only two months until the Olympics, and with so many 97kg Olympians in the field, the results at Poland will show who the true contenders will be in Tokyo.
It’s also worth noting that Kollin Moore and Mike Macchiavello are entered in this field. Moore and Macchiavello have traded matches in their last two meetings but Moore won the most recent bout against Macchiavello at the Olympic Trials - 10-0. Moore has also been more successful internationally and won the Matteo Pellicone in March of 2021 by defeating Iran’s Alireza Karimi by criteria 3-3. Look for both Americans to make some noise against some of the top international competitors in this bracket.
- #8 Sharif Sharifov (AZE) - 2012 Olympic Gold, 2016 Olympic Bronze, 2011 World Gold, 2019 World Silver, 2009 World Bronze, 2019 Euro Gold, 2010, 2011, and 2018 Euro Silver
- #12 Alireza Karimi (IRI) - 2019 World Silver, 2015 and 2018 World Bronze, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019 Asian Gold
- #3 Ali Shabani (IRI) - 2021 Asian Gold, 2018 U23 World Bronze
- #4 Mohammad Mohamadian (IRI) - 2014 World Bronze, 2015 Asian Gold
- #18 Abraham Conyedo (ITA) - 2018 World Bronze, 2020 Euro Bronze
- Alisher Yergali (KAZ) - 2021 Asian Siliver, 2019 and 2020 Asian Bronze, 2019 World 5th, 2018 Jr World Silver
- Magomedgadji Nurov (MKD) - 2019 World Bronze
- #11 Kollin Moore (USA) - 2018 U23 World Silver, 2017 Jr World Bronze
- Michael Macchiavello (USA) - NCAA Champion
Olympians in Field - Sharif Sharifov (AZE), Mohammad Mohammadian (IRI), Abraham Conyedo (ITA), Alisher Yergali (KAZ)
Gold - Mohammad Mohammadian (IRI)
Silver - Sharif Sharifov (AZE)
Bronze - Kollin Moore (USA)
Silver - Ali Shabani (IRI)
Kollin Moore's win over Alireza Karimi:
125kg - 12 Entries
Like 74kg and 97kg, results at 125kg will help determine the Olympic representatives for a few countries in the field. Iran and Kazakhstan are using the Poland Open to decide their rep at heavyweight. The decision is similar for both countries in that Amir Zare and Yusup Batirmurzaev have performed better internationally but have lost domestically. Taheri and Boltin have wins over their fellow countrymen but have suffered losses in international tournaments.
There is also a chance former Maryland 2X All-American, Youssif Hemida could earn the right to become an Olympian in Poland. Hemida is now training at Cliff Keen WC and representing Egypt internationally. Egypt earned an Olympic qualification spot at 125kg due to Diaaeldin Abdelmottaleb's gold medal finish at the Africa and Ocenia Olympic Qualifier in April. The decision on who to send at 125kg will ultimately be determined by the Egyptian Wrestling Federation, but Hemida will better his Olympic chances should he perform well in Poland.
Along with the Olympic rep implication, two-time world bronze medalist Nick Gwiazdowski is wrestling in his first international tournament since January of 2021 and the Henri Deglane. There, Gwiazdowski took bronze and only suffered a loss to Poland’s Robert Baran (who’s also in this field). Despite losing in the Olympic Trials finals to Gable Steveson, Gwiazdowski has proven to be one of the best in the world at 125kg and should be considered a threat to everyone in the field at the Poland Open.
- #20 Sumit Malik (IND) - 2018 World 5th, 2019 Asian Bronze, 2017 Asian Silver
- #15 Amin Taheri (IRI) - 2017 U23 World Bronze, 2018 and 2021 Asian Bronze,
- #3 Amir Zare (IRI) - 2019 U23 World Gold, 2019 Jr World Silver, 2018 Cadet World Gold
- #13 Yusup Batirmurzaev (KAZ) - 2020 Asian Gold, 2019 U23 World Bronze,
- Oleg Boltin (KAZ) - 2021 Asian Gold
- #12 Robert Baran (POL) - 2020 World Cup Silver, 2016 and 2020 Euro Silver, 2018 Euro Bronze,
- Oleksandr Khotsianivskyi (UKR) - 2019 World Bronze, 2014, 2019 and 2021 Euro Bronze
- #18 Nick Gwiazdowski (USA) - 2017 and 2018 World Bronze, 2018 and 2019 Pan-Am Gold
Olympians in Field - Amir Zare (IRI), Sumit Malik (IND), Yusup Batirmurzaev (KAZ), Oleksandr Khotsianivskyi (UKR), Diaaeldin Abdelmottaleb (EGY)
Gold - Amir Zare (IRI)
Silver - Nick Gwiazdowski (USA)
Bronze - Amin Taheri (IRI)
Bronze - Yusup Batirmurzaev (KAZ)
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