2021 Senior World Championships

125kg Worlds Preview - Gwiz Ready To Challenge Geno, Taha, and Zare

125kg Worlds Preview - Gwiz Ready To Challenge Geno, Taha, and Zare

An in-depth preview of 125kg at the 2021 World Championships.

Sep 27, 2021 by Jon Kozak
125kg Worlds Preview - Gwiz Ready To Challenge Geno, Taha, and Zare

Nick Gwiazdowski is Team USA's 125kg representative for the 2021 World Championships in Oslo, Norway. This preview will provide a brief overview of Gwiazdowski's international career and breakdown the potential top 125kg competitors at the World Championships.

Gwiz Aiming For Third World Medal

Nick Gwiazdowski sent a message at the world team trials - he’s a threat to any 125kg wrestler in the world. Gwiazdwoski looked to be wrestling better than ever in his two controlling wins over Junior World Champion Mason Parris (6-0 and 10-3). He will need to continue wrestling at the level he showed in Lincoln in order to get back on the world medal stand like he did when he won world bronze in 2017 and 2018. 

Though Gable Steveson is not in the field, the bracket at 125kg in Oslo will be as challenging as ever for Gwiazdowski. Geno Petriashvili will be the #1 seed with Taha Akgul (TUR) and Amir Zare (IRI) coming in at the #2 and #3 seeds respectively. Gwiazdowski is a combined 0-5 against those top 3 competitors, losing 3 of those matches by tech fall. Being drawn on the top side where only Petriashvili will reside will be a more favorable position for Gwiazdowksi’s medal chances at worlds.  After the top 3, Gwiazdwoski will either be a favorite or in a winnable match with every other competitor in the bracket - Gwiz is more than capable of winning his third world medal in Oslo. Take A look below at Gwiazdowksi’s accomplishments and video of his win in the bronze medal match at 2018 Worlds.


Nick Gwiazdowski (USA)

  • 2017 and 2018 World Bronze
  • 2018 and 2019 Pan-Am Gold

2018 World Bronze Medal Match:

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The Big 3 At 125kg

Taha Akgul (TUR), Geno Petriashvili (GEO), and Amir Zare (IRI) will be the main contenders for world gold in Oslo. Petriashvili was seconds away from defeating Gable Steveson in Tokyo for Olympic gold and completing the sweep of golds for the quad. He won the 3 previous world championships (2017-2019) and is highly motivated to get back on top of the world at 125kg. Though Petraishvili has past losses to Amir Zare and Taha Akgul, he has shown to wrestle his best when it matters most.

Taha Akgul’s incredible career is nearing completion but he is still one of the best in the world. From 2014-2016, Akgul was the undisputed best 125kg wrestler in the world and has only fallen off slightly since. Akgul is 6-3 in his career against Petriashvili and holds the most recent win in the rivalry - a 6-1 victory at the 2021 European Championships in April. In Oslo, Akgul will likely face a new test in the young Iranian, Zare, and will need to be wrestling his best to get back on top of the world.

Amir Zare is only 20 years old and has the potential to be the best heavyweight in the world for a very long time. Before he boasts that claim, Zare will need to conquer the current legends of Akgul and Petriashvili. The young Iranian does hold a win over Petriashvili from November of 2019 but was unable to defeat him on the Olympic stage. In Tokyo, Zare and Petriashvili met in the Olympic semis and Zare got out to a 3-0 lead in the first period. However, Petriashvili’s relentless attacks eventually wore down Zare, and the Georgian came away the victor - 6-3. Zare will need a full six minutes of his best wrestling to unseat two heavyweight champions and become the 125kg king.


Taha Akgul (TUR)

  • 2016 Olympic Gold

  • 2020 Olympic Bronze

  • 2014, 2015 World Gold

  • 2017, 2019 World Silver

  • 2013 World Bronze

  • 8X Euro Gold (2012-2015, 2017-2021)

Akgul’s win over Petriashvili from the 2021 European Championships:

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Geno Petriashvili (GEO)

  • 2020 Olympic Silver
  • 2017, 2018, 2019 World Gold

  • 2016 Olympic Bronze

  • 2013, 2015 World Bronze

  • 2016, 2020 Euro Gold

  • 2018, 2019 Euro Silver

  • 2013, 2015, 2017, 2021 Euro Bronze

Petriashvili's win over Taha Akgul in the 2019 World Finals:

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Amir Zare (IRI)

  • 2020 Olympic Bronze

  • 2019 U23 World Gold

  • 2019 Junior World Silver

  • 2018 Youth Olympics Silver

  • 2018 Cadet World Gold 

Amir Zare’s Win over Geno Petriashvili from November of 2019:


Contenders After The “Big Three”

After the top 3, there is a group of wrestlers capable of winning a medal in Oslo and have an outside chance of upsetting one of the favorites. Along with Nick Gwiazdowksi, that group consists of Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur (MGL), Dzianis Khramiankou (BLR), Zelimkhan Khizriev (RUS), and Robert Baran (POL). While none from this group has medaled at past world championships, they all have shown signs of excellence. Baran and Khizriev each hold past wins over Nick Gwiazdowski. Khramiankou has 4 age-level world medals and wrestled Petriashviili to a 12-9 match in April at 2021 Euros. Munkhtur was 5th at the Olympics with a win over Khramiankou and Cudinovic and only 5-0 losses to both Steveson and Akgul. Anything can happen at the world championships, and if an upset does occur, expect it to come from one of these competitors. 


Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur (MGL)

  • 2019 U23 World Bronze
  • 2020 Olympic 5th

Win over Amar Dhesi from 2021 Matteo Pellicone:

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Dzianis Khramiankou (BLR)

  • 2020 World Cup Bronze

  • 2019 U23 World Bronze

  • 2017 U23 World Silver

  • 2016 Junior World Bronze

  • 2015 Junior World Silver

Khramiankou’s 12-9 loss to Petriashvili at the 2021 European Championships:

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Zelimkhan Khizriev (RUS)

  • 2021 Yarygin Gold
  • 2019 Russian Nationals Bronze

Khizriev's win over 2-time world medalist Zhiwei Deng (CHN) at the 2019 Yarygin:

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Robert Baran (POL)

  • 2020 World Cup Silver
  • 2016 and 2020 Euro Silver
  • 2018 Euro Bronze

Robert Baran's win over Nick Gwiazdowski from 2021 Henri Deglane:

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Prediction

After Gable Steveson, Geno Petriashvili looked to be the best 125kg wrestler in the world in Tokyo. I believe the heartbreaking Olympic Finals loss will prove to motivate Petriashvili to his fourth world title in as many years. Petriashvili's combination of rapid-fire offensive attacks and outstanding stamina make him an almost impossible match-up for every heavyweight in the world. While Akgul and Zare are certainly capable of challenging for gold, Petriashvili is my pick to win the title in Oslo.

Full Prediction:

Gold - Geno Petriashvili (TUR)
Silver - Amir Zare (IRI)
Bronze - Taha Akgul (TUR)
Bronze - Dzianis Khramiankou (BLR)