2021 U23 World Championship

Top Competitors At U23 Worlds - Men's Freestyle

Top Competitors At U23 Worlds - Men's Freestyle

Take a look at the top competitors who will be competing at the 2021 U23 World Championships.

Nov 1, 2021 by Jon Kozak
Top Competitors At U23 Worlds - Men's Freestyle

The U23 World Championships will go down in Belgrade, Serbia on November 5th-7th. Take a look to learn about some of the top entries in every weight.

57kg - Patrick Glory

57kg seems wide open with no clear “favorite” at the weight. Even Russia’s entry, #16 Ramazan Abdurakhimov, lacks international credentials. Iran’s Ali Gholizadegan was also their entry at 57kg at junior worlds but failed to wrestle for a medal there. Patrick Glory is more than capable of wrestling for a medal and should be considered one of the main title contenders.

Top at 57kg

  • Ali Gholizadegan (IRI) - 2021 Yasar Dogu Gold
  • Ramaz Turmanidze (GEO) - 2021 U23 Euro Bronze, 2018 Junior World Silver

61kg - Chris Cannon

The big name at 61kg is Armenia’s #3 Arsen Harutyunyan. The Tokyo Olympian has a vast amount of experience on the senior level and is coming off a bronze medal performance at SENIOR WORLDS last month. Harutyunyan will be the big favorite here as there is no one currently registered with anywhere near his credentials. This will be a great test for Chris Cannon who is making his international debut.

Top at 61kg

  • #3 Arsen Harutyunyan (ARM) - 2021 World Bronze, 2020 Individual World Cup Silver, 2020 Euro Bronze, 2019 Euro Gold
  • Teimuraz Vanishvili (GEO) - 2021 U23 Euro Gold
  • #20 Artur Chebodaev (RUS)

Harutyunyan's win in the bronze medal match at the 2021 World Championships:

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65kg - Dom Demas

There are a number of competitors who could win at 65kg and Dom Demas is likely to be challenged early in the competition. Russia’s Ibragim Abdurakhmonov might be considered a slight favorite as he has a past win over this year’s 61kg World Champion Abasgadzhi Magomedov (the win was from October of 2019). However, Abdurakhmonov has never wrestled at a world championships at any age level. Ukraine’s Erik Arushanian is the man to watch at the weight for me. He’s a past junior world champion and had an incredible win over Russia’s Abulmazhid Kudiev from the U23 European Championships in May. 

Top at 65kg

  • Georgios Pilidis (GRE) - 2020 Olympian, 2019 U23 Euro Silver, 2017 Cadet World Bronze
  • Seyedhassan Ebadi (IRI) - 2021 Junior World 5th
  • Ibragim Abdurakhmanov (RUS) - 2020 Russian Nationals Bronze
  • Erik Arushanian (UKR) - 2021 U23 Euro Gold, 2020 Euro Bronze, 2019 Junior World Gold
  • Abbos Rahkmonov (UZB) - 2019 World 5th, 2018 Asian Bronze, 2016 Olympian

Arushanian's gold medal match at the 2021 U23 European Championships:

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70kg - Brock Mauller

70kg is the deepest weight of the tournament and we highlighted it in greater detail here. Since then, Bayramov has moved up to 74kg making it slightly less competitive but some heavy hitters still remain. This year’s world silver medalist, Ernazar Akmataliev, is the man to beat but he’ll be challenged by Vazgen Tevanyan (ARM) and Rezuan Kazharov (RUS). Brock Mauller will have to wrestle an incredible tournament to bring win a medal in this bracket. 

Top at 70kg

  • #7 (at 65kg) Vazgen Tevanyan (ARM) - 2020 Individual World Cup Gold, 2020 Olympian, 2018 Junior World Bronze
  • #2 Ernazar Akmataliev (KGZ) - 2021 World Silver, 2020 Olympian
  • #11 Rezuan Kazharov (RUS) - 2021 Yarygin Bronze

Ernazar Akamataliev's win to make the 2021 World Finals:

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74kg - Peyton Robb

After 70kg, 74kg might be the next most challenging weight on the men’s freestyle side of things. The two favorites in this bracket are Cherman Valiev and Turan Bayramov. Both have great results at the senior level with Bayramov competing in the Olympics this past summer in Tokyo Valiev won Russian Nationals in 2020 but failed to make the world team this past year. 

Top at 74kg

  • Mohammadsadegh Firouzpour (IRI) - 2019 Junior World Bronze
  • #16 Chermen Valiev (RUS) - 2021 U23 Euro Gold, 2021 Russian Nationals Bronze, 2020 Russian Nationals Gold, 2019 U23 World Silver
  • #7 (at 70kg) Turan Bayramov (AZE) - 2020 Olympian, 2021 Junior World Bronze, 2021 Euro Silver, 2019 U23 World Gold, 2019 Junior World Gold


79kg - Jake Marsh

There’s no clear favorite at 79kg but a few that should be considered “Top Contenders”. I’m most interested in seeing Russia’s Magomed Magomaev compete in Serbia. Magomaev is currently ranked #11 in our international rankings and recently defeated this year’s European Champion - Aksharbek Gulaev (SVK) at the Medved in September. The talent in this bracket will be a great test for Jake Marsh as he is a late replacement for Mikey Labriola.

Top at 79kg

  • #11 Magomed Magomaev (RUS) - 2021 Alexander Medved Bronze
  • Ali Savadkouhi (IRI) - 2021 Asian Bronze
  • Georgios Kougioumtsidis (GRE) - 2018 Cadet World Silver
  • #16 Ashraf Ashirov (AZE) - 2021 Junior World Silver


86kg - Myles Wilson

While this weight does not have the depth of some of the others, it will have a world medalist from this year’s senior world championships. Abubakr Abakarov (AZE) took home a world bronze from Oslo and is the favorite for gold in Belgrade. Russia’s Zagid Karimov might be the next best in the bracket, but after those two the talent thins out. With a good draw, Myles Wilson might be set up nicely to make a deep run in the tournament.

Top at 86kg

  • #15 Abubakr Abakarov (AZE) - 2021 World Bronze, 2019 U23 World Silver, 2019 Junior World Bronze, 2018 Junior World Silver
  • Zagid Karimov (RUS) - 2019 Cadet World Silver, 2021 Yarygin Bronze

Abubakr Abakarov's win in the bronze medal match of the 2021 Senior World Championships:

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92kg - Nino Bonaccorsi

Coming off an NCAA Finals appearance, Nino Bonaccorsi will be looking to challenge some of the best wrestlers in the world at 92kg. His bracket is relatively deep - there’s a senior world medalist (#4 Osman Nurmagomedov), a junior world champ (Amir Firouzpour), and a Russian nationals placer (#8 Azamat Zakuev). Along with those competitors, Turkey’s #10 Erhan Yaylaci will be in the bracket and is more than capable of winning bronze. 92kg is one of the brackets I’m most excited about at U23 Worlds an will be a great test for Bonaccorsi.

Top at 92kg

  • #4 Osman Nurmagomedov (AZE) - 2021 World Bronze, 2021 Euro Bronze
  • Amirhossein Firouzpour (IRI) - 2021 Junior World Gold, 2019 Cadet World Gold
  • #8 Azamat Zakuev (RUS) - 2021 Russian Nationals Bronze, 2021 U23 Euro Bronze
  • #10 Erhan Yaylaci (TUR) - 2021 U23 Euro Gold, 2020 Individual World Cup Bronze, 2018 Junior World Bronze

Osman Nurmagomedov's win in the bronze medal match of the 2021 Senior World Championships:

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97kg - Jay Aiello

97kg is another bracket that, on paper, is wide open. There is no clear favorite and Jay Aiello should be capable of challenging for a medal. Of note, Azerbaijan’s Islam Ilyasov was the senior world rep in Oslo but failed to place there. Another competitor to watch is Iran’s Ali Reza Abdollahi. He has been successful at every age level and recently won bronze at the 2021 Junior World Championships. 

Top at 97kg

  • Ali Reza Abdollahi (IRI) - 2021 Junior World Bronze, 2018 Cadet World Gold.
  • Islam Ilyasov (AZE) - 2021 U23 Euro Bronze
  • Shamil Gadzhialiev (RUS) - 2021 Yarygin Bronze

125kg - Anthony Cassioppi

Heavyweight should be a lot of fun in Belgrade. Iran is sending their junior world champ from this year to compete against the best in the world under 23. Turkey’s Anil Kilicsallayan is another big man to watch. Kilicsallayan has been in and out of the international rankings over the past few months and has a win over Russian Nationals silver medalist - Atsamaz Tebloev from May of this year. Finally, Harvard’s Yaraslau Slavikouski is registered as Belarus’ rep at 125kg and is capable of challenging for a medal here before he takes on the NCAA’s best in the college season. All of these competitors will be a great measuring stick for Anthony Cassioppi. If Cassioppi wrestles his best, he is capable of defeating anyone in this bracket and coming away with gold from Serbia.

Top at 125kg

  • Yaraslau Slavikouski (BLR) - 2021 U23 Euro Bronze
  • Ali Akbarpour (IRI) - 2021 Junior World Gold
  • Saipudin Magomedov (RUS) - 2021 Russian Nationals Bronze
  • Anil Kilicsallayan (TUR) - 2021 U23 Euro Gold

Akbarpour's win in the finals of the 2021 Junior World Championships:

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