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86kg Olympic Preview - David Taylor Vs Hassan Yazdani Round 3

86kg Olympic Preview - David Taylor Vs Hassan Yazdani Round 3

An in depth preview of the 86kg weight class at the Tokyo Olympics. See how David Taylor compares to the rest of the 86kg Olympians.

Jul 1, 2021 by Jon Kozak
86kg Olympic Preview - David Taylor Vs Hassan Yazdani Round 3
David Taylor is Team USA’s Olympian at 86kg in a field that includes 1 past world champion and 5 other world medalists. This 86kg Olympic preview will give an overview of Taylor’s senior level career and explore the careers of each of his potential competitors in Tokyo. We'll also break down the competitors into tiers based on medal contenders, dark horses and long shots at the Olympic Games.

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David Taylor is Team USA’s Olympian at 86kg in a field that includes 1 past world champion and 5 other world medalists. This 86kg Olympic preview will give an overview of Taylor’s senior level career and explore the careers of each of his potential competitors in Tokyo. We'll also break down the competitors into tiers based on medal contenders, dark horses and long shots at the Olympic Games.

David Taylor Is The Favorite

David Taylor has not lost to an international competitor since November of 2016. In that time (47 straight matches), Taylor has wins over 10 world medalists and 4 world/Olympic champions. Of Team USA’s men’s freestyle team, David Taylor might be considered the biggest favorite to win a gold medal. Taylor has never lost to a competitor in this Olympic field and has beaten the two biggest threats at 86kg - Hassan Yazdani (IRI) and Artur Naifonov (RUS). Because of those accolades and past wins, Taylor is ranked #1 in both our International Rankings and Olympian Rankings at 86kg

Though Taylor is the favorite on paper because of his past performances, it has been over two years since he’s wrestled the best in the world. Taylor was poised to defend his 2018 world title but suffered a knee injury in a match with Drew Foster at a Beat The Streets event in May 2019. After recovering from the injury and the break due to the pandemic, Taylor has only wrestled American competitors and opponents at Pan-Ams. While Taylor was recovering from his injury, Hassan Yazdani rose to the top of the podium at 2019 Worlds in dominant fashion. Yazdani has not lost since his 2018 Worlds match to David Taylor and holds wins over 6 different Olympians in the field - all by tech or pin. 

It’s also important to consider the seeding implications at 86kg. Yazdani and Naifonov will be on the top side as the 1 and 4 seeds respectively. While David Taylor did “run the gauntlet” in 2018 by going through Yazdani first round and Dauren Kurugliev (RUS) in the second, the better draw is the bottom side with #2 seed Deepak Punia and #3 seed Myles Amine. Take a look at Taylor’s profile below to see his accomplishments and past performances against the 86kg Olympic Field:


David Taylor (USA)

Record Since 2018 - 45-1 (1 injury default loss)

Senior Level Record - 117-18

Accolades:

  • 2018 World Gold
  • 2018, 2019 and 2021 Pan-Am Gold

6-0 Record Against 86kg Olympic Field:

Watch David Taylor defeat Hassan Yazdani in the opening round of the 2018 World Championships:

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Who Can Challenge Taylor?

As mentioned, Hassan Yazdani and Artur Naifonov are the clear next best at 86kg. Based on past performance, Yazdani is the main threat to Taylor in Tokyo. Taylor and Yadani’s two previous matches materialized similarly. Yazdani earned early leads in both matches by setting a high pace and using underhooks and pressure to force Taylor into giving up step-outs. In both matches, however, Taylor was able to withstand the early pressure from the Iranian and come-back to win. Taylor’s superior conditioning and ability to win in “scramble” positions proved to be the difference maker in their two previous matches. Should Yazdani’s conditioning hold up, and if he stays away from scrambling with Taylor, he will pose the greatest threat to knocking off Taylor in Tokyo. 


Take A Look At Yazdani’s profile below:

Hassan Yazdani (IRI)

Record Since 2018 - 39-1

Accolades:

  • 2017 and 2019 World Gold
  • 2016 Olympic Gold
  • 2015 World Silver
  • 2018 World Bronze
  • 2018 and 2021 Asian Gold

8-3 Record Against 86kg Olympic Field:

Hassan Yazdani's win over Myles Amine in the 2019 World Semi-Finals:

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Top Medal Contenders

Artur Naifonov leads the way in the medal contenders at 86kg. Naifonov has only lost to Yazdani and Taylor from those in the Olympic field and has wins over 5 other 86kg Olympians. It seems Naifonov is in a tier of his own at this weight behind Taylor and Yazdani but ahead of the rest of the pack. What keeps Naifonov from entering the “title contender” conversation is the way he lost to the top 2. Naifonov was pinned by both Taylor and Yazdani and looked to be outmatched prior to the pins against each competitor. 

Myles Amine (SMR), Ali Shabanau (BLR), and Deepak Punia (IND) have proven to be the next best at 86kg. Despite Amine only having 25 matches on the international circuit, he should be considered the favorite of this bunch. Against the Olympic field at 86kg, Amine has only lost to Shabanau, Naifonov and Yazdani and has since avenged the lost to Shabanau. He’s also coming off an impressive performance at 2021 Euros where he defeated two world medalists in Boris Makoev and Stefan Reichmuth. 

2019 World Silver Medalist Deepak Punia will be on the same side of the bracket as Amine in Tokyo and should contend for a medal. Though Punia has the world silver and a winning record against the Olympic field, he’s only been on the senior level circuit since 2018 and some questions remain as to where he stands. Punia received the most favorable draw imaginable at 2019 worlds (before he forfeited to Yazdani in the finals), and he has yet to face Taylor, Naifonov, Amine, or Shabanau in competition. 

Unlike Punia, Shabanau has been competing at the senior level since 2011 and even has a past win over Hassan Yazdani. And though Yazdani has since avenged that loss via tech, Shabanau is capable of defeating anyone in the field after the top 2. His recent performance at the European Olympic Games qualifier proves Shabanau is still capable of bringing a medal home from Tokyo. 

Take a look at the top medal contender's profiles:

Artur Naifonov (RUS)

Record Since 2018 - 72-6

Accolades:

  • 2019 World Bronze
  • 2018, 2020, 2021 Euro Gold

9-2 Record Against 86kg Olympic Field:

Naifonov's win over Boris Makoev from the 2021 European Championships:

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Myles Amine (SMR)

Record Since 2018 - 16-9

Accolades:

  • 2019 World 5th
  • 2020 Euro Silver
  • 2021 Euro Bronze

4-5 Record Against 86kg Olympic Field

Amine's Recent win over Boris Makoev at the 2021 European Championships:

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Ali Shabanau (BLR)

Record Since 2018 - 36-17

Accolades

  • 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018 World Bronze
  • 2019 Euro Silver
  • 2021 Euro Bronze

5-2 Record Against 86kg Olympic Field

Shabanau's win over Hassan Yazdani from 2016:


Deepak Punia (IND)

Record Since 2018 - 25-23

Accolades:

  • 2019 World Silver
  • 2021 Asian Silver
  • 2019 and 2020 Asian bronze

7-3 Record Against 86kg Olympic Field

Punia's win in the world semi-finals over Stefan Reichmuth:

The Dark Horses

The next five wrestlers have fared well at international competitions but have yet to defeat anyone in the top 6 at 86kg. These wrestlers are Javrail Shapiev, Osman Gocen, Zushen Lin, Sohsuke Takatani, and Boris Makoev. This tier has traded wins and losses with each other but hasn’t shown consistent success at the highest level. Makoev and Takatani are the most credentialed of the bunch but years have passed since their world silvers - Takatani’s was in 2014 and Makoev’s was in 2017. This group needs the right draw in the bracket and to wrestle beyond what they’ve recently shown at Worlds in order to win an Olympic medal. 

One interesting note, Javrail Shapiev has moved up to #7 overall in our international rankings ahead of Amine, Shabanau and Punia. Shapiev is currently on a 10 match winning streak and won both the Asian Olympic Games Qualifier and the Ali Aliev. In those competitions, Shapiev beat past world medalists Boris Makoev and Vladislav Valiev. 

Take a look at the "dark horses" profiles to see their up and down results against the 86kg Olympic field:


Javrail Shapiev (UZB)

Record Since 2018 - 34-11

Accolades:

  • 2021 Asian Olympic Qualifier Gold

3-4 Record Against 86kg Olympic Field

Shapiev's win over Zushen Lin in the finals of the Asian Olympic Games Qualifier:

Javrail Shapiev vs Zushen Lin

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Osman Gocen (TUR)

Record Since 2018 - 32-17

Accolades:

  • 2020 World Cup Bronze
  • 2019 U23 World Bronze
  • 2016 Jr World Silver

2-6 Record Against 86kg Olympic Field


Zushen Lin (CHN)

Record Since 2018 - 14-15

Accolades:

2021 Asian Olympic Qualifier Silver

1-3 Record Against 86kg Olympic Field:


Sohsuke Takatani (JPN)

Record Since 2018 - 31-5

Accolades:

  • 2014 World Silver

1-2 Record Against 86kg Olympic Field:


Boris Makoev (SVK)

Record Since 2018 - 36-28

Accolades:

  • 2017 World Silver
  • 2020 Euro Bronze

4-9 Record Against 86kg Olympic Field:

Long Shots

The final 5 wrestlers should be considered major underdogs to win a medal in Tokyo. The only wrestler of this bunch who might have a case to move up a tier is Stefan Reichmuth (SUI). Reichmuth won world bronze in 2019 by only losing to Deepak Punia and defeating fellow Olympian Carlos Izquierdo (COL). However that win over Izquierdo is Reichmuth’s only win over an 86kg Olympian. Along with that, Makoev, Gocen, and Amine all have recent wins over Reichmuth. Take a look at Reichmuth’s profile along with the rest of the “long shots” at 86kg:


Stefan Reichmuth (SUI)

Record Since 2018 - 17-21

Accolades:

  • 2019 World Bronze

1-5 Record Against 86kg Olympic Field:


Carlos Izquierdo (COL)

Record Since 2018 - 14-12

Accolades:

  • 2019 World 5th
  • 2019 Pan-Am Bronze

2-2 Record Against 86kg Olympic Field


Pool Ambrocio (PER)

Record Since 2018 - 17-22

Accolades:

  • 2016 and 2020 Pan-Am Silver
  • 2011, 2014 and 2018 Pan-Am Bronze

0-5 Record Against 86kg Olympic Field:


Ekerekeme Agiomor (NGR)

Record Since 2018 - 9-2

Accolades:

  • 2018 African Gold
  • 2019 and 2020 African Bronze

1-0 Record Against 86kg Olympic Field:

  • 7-6 win over Fateh Benferdjallah (2021 African OG Qualifier)


Fateh Benferdjallah (ALG)

Record Since 2018 - 12-10

Accolades:

  • 2019 African Games Silver
  • 2020 African Bronze

0-1 Record Against 86kg Olympic Field

7-6 loss to Ekerekeme Agiomor (2021 African OG Qualifier)


86kg Records Against Olympic Field

  1. David Taylor (USA) - 6-0
  2. Ekerekeme Agiomor (NGR) - 1-0
  3. Artur Naifonov (RUS) - 9-2
  4. Hassan Yazdani (IRI) - 8-3
  5. Ali Shabanau (BLR) - 5-2
  6. Deepak Punia (IND) - 7-3
  7. Carlos Izquierdo (COL) - 2-2
  8. Myles Amine (SMR) - 4-5
  9. Javrail Shapiev (UZB) - 3-4
  10. Zushen Lin (CHN) - 1-3
  11. Sohsuke Takatani (JPN) - 1-3
  12. Boris Makoev (SVK) - 4-9
  13. Osman Gocen (TUR) - 2-6
  14. Stefan Reichmuth (SUI) - 1-5
  15. Fateh Benferdjallah (ALG) - 0-1
  16. Pool Ambrocio (PER) - 0-5

See where this list stacks up against the rest of the world at 86kg in our International Rankings.

Check out our Olympian Rankings at 86kg to see all 16 ranked based on head to head wins and losses.