Belarus Crowns Three Champs, Armenia’s Tevanyan Keeps Hot Streak Alive

By Eric Olanowski

BUDAPEST, Hungary (March 19) --- Belarus crowned three freestyle champions at the European Olympic Qualifier, while Armenia’s Vazgen TEVANYAN (ARM) kept his hot streak alive and proved his serious contender to leave the Tokyo Olympic Games with gold around his neck.

Yesterday, Ali SHABANAU (BLR), Aliaksandr HUSHTYN (BLR) and Dzianis KHRAMIANKOU (BLR) bagged Olympic berths for Belarus, and today, they capped off the competition with golds at 86kg, 97kg, and 125kg, respectively.

Shabanau, the four-time world medal-winner, controlled his 86kg gold-medal match against Osman GOCEN (TUR with his patented left-side underhook. He stayed patient and calculated with his attacks off that hook, using it to pick up three takedowns in the finals, and after a lost Turkish challenge, he walked away with a 7-0 win and the 86kg gold medal.

At 97kg, Hushtyn had a fairly even battle with Suleyman KARADENIZ (TUR) but came up clutch with a short-time takedown to win back-to-back golds for Belarus. He defeated the Turkish wrestler, 5-4.

Dzianis KHRAMIANKOU (BLR) was Belarus' third champion on the day. He was awarded the 125kg title after his final opponenet Gennadij CUDINOVIC (GER) injury defaulted out of the title bout.

Meanwhile, Tevanayn turned heads again and continued to prove that he’s a true threat to leave Tokyo with Olympic gold.

He stunned three-time world champion Haji ALIYEV 9-0 in the 65kg finals.

Since December, he has wins over Olympic champion Vlad KHINCHEGASHVILI (GEO), world bronze medalist Ismail MUSUKAEV (HUN), two-time world medalist Magomedmurad GADZHIEV (POL), and now three-time world champion Aliyev.

Tevanayn was on the inactivity clock in the second period when he blew the doors on the match wide open. He snapped Aliyev down for a takedown and caught the Azeri's left arm in a trapped arm gut wrench. He rolled twice to his left with that trapped arm gut and led 7-0 before closing the match out with one final takedown to claim gold, 9-0.

Arsen HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) also claimed gold for Armenia on Friday night.

In the 57kg finals, Harutyunyan scored a takedown with a textbook head outside single and carried the one-point lead into the second period. The 21-year-old built a comfortable 8-1 lead after a counter-offensive go behind and a pair of below the hip exposures. Harutyunyan’s Bulgarian opponenet tried everything he could to close the gap, but the Armenian took the safe route out, conceding a late takedown and bellying out.  Harutyunyan won the match 8-3.

The final gold medal of the day went to Georgia's '18 world runner-up Avtandil KENTCHADZE. His 74kg finals opponent Khadzhimurad GADZHIYEV (AZE) injury defeated out of the finals, giving the Georgian the final freestyle gold of the competition.


GOLD - Arsen HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) df. Georgi Valentinov VANGELOV (BUL), 8-3
BRONZE - Andrii YATSENKO (UKR) df. Beka BUJIASHVILI (GEO), via injury default
BRONZE - Islam BAZARGANOV (AZE) df. Petru CRACIUN (MDA), via forfeit

GOLD - Vazgen TEVANYAN (ARM) df. Haji ALIYEV (AZE), 9-0
BRONZE - Vladimer KHINCHEGASHVILI (GEO) df. Magomedmurad GADZHIEV (POL), via injury default


GOLD - Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO) df. Khadzhimurad GADZHIYEV (AZE), via injury default

GOLD - Ali SHABANAU (BLR) df. Osman GOCEN (TUR), 7-0
BRONZE - Boris MAKOEV (SVK) df. Abubakr ABAKAROV (AZE), 7-5
BRONZE - Piotr IANULOV (MDA) df. Akhmed Adamovitch MAGAMAEV (BUL), 4-4

Aliaksandr HUSHTYN (BLR) df. Suleyman KARADENIZ (TUR), 4-3
Erik Sven THIELE (GER) df. Albert SARITOV (ROU), 4-3
Abraham de Jesus CONYEDO RUANO (ITA) df. Ahmed Sultanovich BATAEV (BUL), 3-0

Dzianis KHRAMIANKOU (BLR) df. Gennadij CUDINOVIC (GER) , via injury default
Shamil SHARIPOV (RUS) df. Johannes LUDESCHER (AUT), 8-0
Jamaladdin MAGOMEDOV (AZE) df. Paris KAREPI (ALB), 11-0



WATCH: 10 Greco-Roman Finals from European Championships

By Vinay Siwach

BUDAPEST, Hungary (April 7) -- The European Championships saw 10 Greco-Roman champions being crowned. One of them, Riza KAYAALP (TUR), won his 11th European title and is now two away from breaking the all-time record 12.

Azerbaijan won the team title over Turkey while Georgia finished third in the title race. Azerbaijan had all ten wrestlers in medal bouts with eight coming home with at least a medal. Only two wrestlers failed to win a medal in Budapest.

Watch all the 10 gold medal bouts from the European Championships.

55kg GOLD - Eldaniz Azizli (AZE) vs Nugzari Tsurtsumia (GEO)

Azizli wrestled his rival and world champion from 2019 Nugzari Tsurtsumia (GEO). Prior to this meeting, the two had wrestled each other four times with Azizli enjoying a perfect 4-0 record over Tsurtsumia. He extended that record to 5-0 when he won 8-2 in the 55kg final.

Azizli got the point for his opponent's passivity and a roll gave him a 3-1 lead. Tsurtsumia tried exposing with a head pinch but in turn, ended up giving two points. In the same action, Azizli scored two more and led 7-1 with two minutes remaining before closing out the bout 8-2.


60kg GOLD - Kerem Kamal (TUR) vs Edmond Nazaryan (BUL)

Kerem KAMAL (TUR) was third time lucky in the final as he won the gold after previously losing two finals in 2020 and 2021. But in his third final in three years, he defeated former European champ Edmond NAZARYAN (BUL) 5-0 to win at 60kg.


63kg GOLD - Leri Abuladze (GEO) vs Taleh Mammadov (AZE)

Georgia did have a gold medalist Saturday as U23 World champion Leri Abuladze (GEO) added a European title to his resume. He wrestled Taleh Mammadov (AZE) in the 63kg final and controlled it well. His one scoring action in par terre in the second period was enough to give him a 3-1 win over Mammadov, his first in two meetings.


67kg GOLD - Murat Firat (TUR) vs Krisztian Vancza (HUN)

Murat FIRAT (TUR) denied Krisztian VANCZA (HUN) a gold medal at home. In the close final, Firat used an exposure close to the zone to win 3-1. Vancza had his chance to take the lead when Firat was called passive but he did not manage to score any points from par terre in the second period.


72kg GOLD - Robert Attila Fritsch (HUN) vs Shmagi Bolkvadze (GEO)

Robert FRITSCH (HUN) upset Rio bronze medalist Shmagi BOLKVADZE (GEO), 3-2, at the 72kg final. In one of the closest bouts of the tournament, Bolkvadze led 1-0 at the break for a passivity point. But Fritsch bounced back with a gut wrench from par terre to lead 3-1. A reversal point for Bolkvadze but his lead to 3-2 but he managed to hang on for the win.


77kg GOLD - Malkhas Amoyan (ARM) vs Yunus Emre Basar (TUR)

Malkhas AMOYAN (ARM) won the 77kg European title. The world champion at 72kg was making his debut at 77kg and wrestled Yunus Basar (TUR) in the final. He was called passive and gave up a gut wrench to trail 3-0 at the break. But he got the same action using a chest wrap in the second period to lead 3-3 on criteria.

Turkey challenged the call asking for a leg foul but the judges found no negative wrestling which gave another point to Amoyan, extending his lead 4-3 with two minutes remaining.

The silver medalist from Warsaw European Championships was again called passive but this time Basar could not get any exposure from par terre as Amoyan let out a loud scream to celebrate his maiden gold at the continental championships.


82kg GOLD - Rafig Huseynov (AZE) vs Gela Bolkvadze (GEO)

In a historic feat, Rafiq HUSEYNOV (AZE) became the first-ever Azerbaijan wrestler to win three European titles. Wrestling Gela BOLKVADZE (GEO) in the 82kg final, Huseynov gave up a point for passivity but defended the par terre position. Georgia asked for a challenge for Huseynov's fleeing but lost it. Huseynov got the second point from Bolkvadze's passivity and kept the 2-1 lead to win the gold.


87kg GOLD - Turpan BISULTANOV (DEN) vs Nicu OJOG (ROU)

Bisultanov won the gold for Denmark at the European championship, outscoring his opponents 35-0 over two days and with his crowd-pleasing style became a fan favorite in Budapest. Wrestling Nicu Ojog (ROU) in the 87kg final, Bisultanov took only one minute and 13 seconds to finish the bout 8-0. In his four bouts, he did not wrestle the full six minutes in any, spending just over 13 minutes on the mat.


97kg GOLD - Kiril MILOV (BUL) vs Arvi SAVOLAINEN (FIN)

Kiril MILOV (BUL) upgraded from his silver in 2019. With fond memories of Budapest, he changed the color of his medal with an error-less performance in the final against Arvi SAVOLAINEN (FIN), 4-1. Milov got the match-deciding gut wrench in the second period to defeat the former U23 world champion Savolainen who won the title in Budapest three years ago.


130kg GOLD - Riza KAYAALP (TUR) vs Danila SOTNIKOV (ITA)

Riza Kayaalp (TUR) is on a mission to break Alexander Karelin (RWF) record of 12 European gold medals. He took another step closer to that by winning his 11th gold in Budapest. The four-time world champion defeated Danila Sotnikov (ITA), 4-0 in the 130kg final using a head-pinch exposure when the Italian was trying to push him out.