Dan Kolov Freestyle Preview

By Eric Olanowski

RUSE, Bulgaria (February 26) – Four Olympic gold medalists and reigning world champion Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) will take the mat at the Monbat Sports Park Arena in Ruse, Bulgaria, to compete in the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov tournament, United World Wrestling’s second freestyle and women's wrestling Ranking Series event of the 2019 season.

The four Olympic champions entered into this week’s four-day tournament are Taha AKGUL (TUR), Jordan BURROUGHS (USA), Kyle SNYDER (USA), and Hassan YAZDANI (IRI).

Two-time world champion Geno Petriashivili, along with fellow returning Dan Kolov champions Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) and Vladimir DUBOV (BUL) will try to defend their titles from a year ago. 

For Petriashvili and Chamizo to repeat as Dan Kolov gold medalists, they’ll each have to go through an Olympic champion and multiple world medalists.

Chamizo vs. Burroughs Round 4?
The road for Italy's two-time world champion and Olympic bronze medalist Frank Chamizo to defend his 74kg Dan Kolov title could head through his biggest rival, Jordan Burroughs. 

The pair of worldwide superstars are no strangers to each other and have sparked one of the most intriguing rivalries in recent memory since Chamizo bumped up to 74kg last year.

If they were to meet this weekend, it would be their fourth meeting in the last twelve months.

Burroughs, the four-time world and Olympic champion, scored the come-from-behind win in their first meeting at last May's Beat the Streets in New York City. Then, Chamizo returned the favor, knotting up the rivalry at one match a piece when he grabbed the 10-10 victory over Burroughs at the Yasar Dogu. Most recently, Burroughs gained the 2-1 match advantage when he came out on top in the Budapest World Championships bronze-medal bout, 4-4.

Ranked Wrestlers
No. 2 Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO)
No. 3 Jordan Ernest BURROUGHS (USA)
No. 5 Azamat NURYKAU (BLR)
No. 6 Soner DEMIRTAS (TUR)
No. 11 Yakup GOR (TUR)

Can Petriashvili Navigate 125kg Gauntlet?  
Two-time world champion Geno Petriashvili will be looking to defend his 125kg Dan Kolov title from a season ago, too. For the Georgian big-man to repeat as a Dan Kolov champion, he’ll have to potentially defeat his biggest rival, Olympic champion Taha Akgul, and each of the three other 125kg Budapest world medalists.

China’s DENG Zhiwei (CHN) was last year’s runner-up, while Parviz HADI (IRI) and Nicholas GWIAZDOWSKI (USA) finished with the pair of bronze medals.

Ranked Wrestlers
No. 2 DENG Zhiwei (CHN)
No. 4 Taha AKGUL (TUR)
No. 5 Parviz HADI (IRI)
No. 6 Nicholas GWIAZDOWSKI (USA)
No. 11 Zelimkhan KHIZRIEV (RUS)
No. 12 Said GAMIDOV (RUS)

Yazdani to Make Ranking Series Debut  
Hassan Yazdani, Iran's world and Olympic champion, will make his Ranking Series debut this weekend at the Dan Kolov, where he’ll wrestle at 86kg.

The Iranian superstar is coming off winning his fourth straight medal at the world championships or Olympic games.

Yazdani fell short in the 2015 world finals but rebounded to reach the top of the podium at the Rio Olympics and Paris World Championships. He dropped his opening-round bout of the 2018 world championships to eventual champion David TAYLOR (USA) (Taylor will not be wrestling this weekend) but bounced back to win a Budapest bronze.

To win his first Ranking Series event, Yazdani “The Greatest” will have to upend Rio runner-up Selim YASAR (TUR) and 2017 world finalist Boris MAKOEV (SVK).

Yazdani has already defeated both guys at least once. The Iranian beat Yasar in the finals of the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games and pummelled Makeov 10-0 in the gold-medal of the 2017 world championships to win his first world title.

Ranked Wrestlers
No. 5 Hassan Aliazam YAZDANI (IRI) 
No. 6 KIM Gwanuk (KOR)
No. 7 Ville HEINO (FIN) 
No. 8 Boris MAKOEV (SVK)
No. 12 ORGODOL Uitumen (MGL) 

Can Snyder Rebound After Back-to-Back Losses? 
Two-time world and Rio Olympic champion Kyle Snyder returns to action after suffering back-to-back losses in the world finals and the opening round of the Ivan Yariguin, United World Wrestling’s first Ranking Series event.  

Snyder, who’s the second-ranked wrestler at 97kg, went to Krasnoyarsk’s Ivan Yariguin with hopes of erasing the memory of the 2018 world finals where he was stuck by Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RUS) in the opening period but instead lost his second straight match when he was stunned in the first round by Russia's Rasul MAGOMEDOV.

Ranked Wrestlers
No. 2 Kyle SNYDER (USA)
No. 5 Elizbar ODIKADZE (GEO)
No. 14 Baki SAHIN (TUR)

Atli’s Comeback After World Bronze
Suleyman ATLI (TUR) will take the mat for the first time since October’s Budapest World Championships where he defeated Thomas GILMAN (USA), 5-4, in the bronze-medal bout.

The 24-year-old brings 25 Ranking Series points into the Dan Kolov and is ranked fourth in the world at 57kg. He’s the lone returning world medalist but isn’t the highest ranked wrestler competing at 57kg. The above mentioned Gilman finished with a bronze medal at the Ivan Yariguin and jumped Atli in the world rankings, where he currently sits in the third spot with 32 Ranking Series points.

Ranked Wrestlers
No. 3 Thomas GILMAN (USA)
No. 4 Suleyman ATLI (TUR)
No. 12 Sandeep TOMAR (IND)
No. 14 ERDENEBAT Bekhbayar (MGL)
No. 15 Wanhao ZOU (CHN)

Rahimi Returns, Will Wrestle Up At 61kg
Hassan RAHIMI (IRI) will wrestle outside of Iran for the first time since winning the 57kg bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.   

Rahimi underwent knee surgery and took nearly two years off before wrestling at 61kg for Team Bimeh Razi Babol at the 2018 World Clubs Cup. “I had knee surgery after the Rio Olympic Games, and I missed out on wrestling for about two years. I am very happy to be competing again. I love wrestling, and it is like blood in my vessel,” Rahimi said after one of his two World Clubs Cup wins.

Rahimi usually competes at 57kg but plans on staying up to 61kg, at least until the 2019 World Championships. “It was my first appearance at 61kg, and I am satisfied with my performance. I have aimed to compete at 61kg in the next World Championships, but I should think forward to the Olympic Games. I should choose between 57kg and 65kg, but it depends on the future situation.”

Ranked Wrestlers
No. 3 Joe COLON (USA) 
No. 11 Nikolai OKHLOPKOV (ROU)

Punia Looking to Keep Hot Streak Alive
Bajrang PUNIA (IND) is looking to keep his 2018 hot streak rolling and comes into the Dan Kolov as the 65kg front runner. He’s currently ranked third in the world at 65kg and holds 40 Ranking Series points (40rsp).

Punia, one of the sport’s biggest rising stars, is hoping to continue the success he achieved last year where he captured a medal in all six competitions he entered – including capping off the year with a runner-up finish at the 2019 world championships.

Last season, the Indian wrestler won the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games, the Yasar Dogu, and G. Kartozia & V. Balavadze Price, and also finished in third place at the Asian Championships.

To win his first Dan Kolov title, he’ll have to stop Bulgaria's two-time world medalist Vladimir DUBOV from defending his title from a year ago.

(SIDE NOTE: Punia is coming off a win over Azerbaijan's three-time world champion Haji ALIYEV at the 2019 Indian Pro League.)

Ranked Wrestlers
No. 3 Bajrang PUNIA (IND)
No. 7 George BUCUR (ROU)
No. 9 Niurhun SKRABIN (BLR)
No. 11 Dimitar Lyubomirov IVANOV (BUL)

Four Deep at 70kg
World champion from 2017 Zurabi IAKOBISHVILI (GEO) leads a pack of four top-ten wrestlers into Ruse.

The fourth through seventh-ranked wrestlers at 70kg competing this weekend are Iakobishvili, BAT ERDENE Byambadorj (MGL), Andriy KVYATKOVSKYY (UKR), and Ikhtiyor NAVRUZOV (UZB).

Outside of world title holder Iakobishvili, the only other ranked wrestler at this weight who has claimed a world or Olympic medal is seventh-ranked Ikhtiyor NAVRUZOV (UZB). Navruzov won the 65kg bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

James GREEN, the United States' two-time world medalist will also wrestle at 70kg. Green won a bronze medal in 2015 and a silver medal in 2017, but only won one match at the 2018 world champion before falling to Bat Erdene in the second round, 4-2. 

Ranked Wrestlers
No. 5 BAT ERDENE Byambadorj (MGL)
No. 7 Ikhtiyor NAVRUZOV (UZB) 

Two Ranked Wrestlers Entered at 79kg and 92kg
PUREVJAV Unurbat (MGL) and Alexander DIERINGER (USA) are the two wrestlers who reside in the top-15 of the 79kg world rankings. Purevjav is ranked fourth in the world, and Dieringer, who collected 10 Ranking Series point after a third-place finish at the Ivan Yariguin, sits in the No. 12 spot. 

At 92kg, LUVSANDORJ Turtogtokh (MGL) and Magomed KURBANOV (RUS) are ranked top-10 in the world entering the Dan Kolov.

Luvsandorj lost in the 2018 world bronze-medal bout and left Budapest with a fifth-place finish. The Mongolian wrestler owns 20 Ranking Series points and is ranked sixth in the world at 92kg. 

Magomed Kurbanov holds 14 Ranking Series point and is the tenth-ranked wrestler in the world at 92kg. Kurbanov won the prestigious Ivan Yariguin after he swept the competition, going 4-0 in the round-robin tournament. 

Ranking Series Point Structure (Placement Points + Entry Points = Total Points) 

Placement Points
GOLD - 8 points 
SILVER - 6 points 
BRONZE - 4 points 
BRONZE - 4 points 
Fifth - 2 points 
Fifth - 2 points 

Entry Points 
10 or less entries - 6 points 
11-20 entries  - 8 points 
20 or more entries - 10 points 


February 27 (Wednesday) 
16:30 - Draw - FS - 61, 70, 79, 92kg; GR - 55, 63, 72, 82kg; WW - 55, 59, 65, 72kg

February 28 (Thursday) 
8:00 - Medical examination and weigh-in 1 - FS - 61, 70, 79, 92kg; GR (+2 kg) - 55, 63, 72, 82kg; WW - 55, 59, 65, 72kg
10:00 - Elimination rounds - FS - 61, 70, 79, 92kg; GR - 55, 63, 72, 82kg; WW - 55, 59, 65, 72kg
16:00 - Draw - FS - 57, 65, 74; GR-87 ,97, 130; WW - 62 ,68 ,76kg
16:30 - Opening ceremony
17:00 - Semifinals FS - 61, 70, 79, 92kg; GR - 55, 63, 72, 82kg; WW - 55, 59, 65, 72kg

March 1 (Friday) 
8:00 - Medical examination and weigh-in 1 - FS - 57, 65, 74; GR (+ 2 kg) - 87, 97, 130; WW - 62, 68, 76kg
8: 30 - Weigh-in 2 FS - 61,70,79, 92 kg; GR (+ 2 kg) - 55,63,72,82 kg; WW - 55,59,65, 72 kg Referee meeting
10: 00 - Elimination rounds FS - 57, 65, 74; GR - 87, 97, 130; WW - 62, 68, 76 kg
10: 00 - Repechages FS - 61, 70, 79, 92kg; GR - 55, 63, 72, 82kg; WW - 55, 59, 65, 72kg
16: 30 - Draw - FS - 86, 97, 125; GR - 60, 67, 77kg; WW - 50, 53, 57kg
17: 00 - Semi-finals FS - 57, 65, 74; GR - 87, 97, 130; WW - 62, 68, 76kg
18:00 - Final matches and awarding ceremony - FS - 61,70,79, 92kg; GR - 55, 63, 72, 82kg; WW - 55, 59, 65, 72kg

March 2 (Satuday) 
8:00 - Medical examination and weigh-in 1 - FS - 86, 97, 125; GR (+ 2 kg) - 60, 67, 77 kg; WW - 50, 53, 57kg 
8:30: - Weigh-in 2 - FS - 57, 65, 74; GR (+ 2 kg) - 87, 97, 130; WW - 62, 68, 76kg 
10: 00 - Elimination rounds - FS - 86, 97, 125; GR - 60, 67, 77 kg; WW - 50, 53, 57kg
10:00 - Repechages - FS - 57, 65, 74; GR - 87, 97, 130; WW - 62, 68, 76kg
17:00 - Semifinals - FS 86, 97, 125kg;GR - 60, 67, 77 kg; WW - 50, 53, 57kg
18: 00 - Final matches and awarding ceremony - FS - 57, 65, 74; GR - 87, 97, 130; WW - 62, 68, 76kg

March 3 (Sunday) 
8:00 - Weigh-in 2 - FS - 86, 97, 125; GR (+ 2 kg) - 60, 67, 77kg; WW - 50, 53, 57kg
Repechages - FS - 86, 97, 125; GR (+ 2 kg) - 60, 67, 77 kg; WW - 50, 53, 57kg
Final matches and awarding ceremony - FS - 86, 97, 125; GR - 60, 67, 77 kg; WW - 50, 53, 57kg


United States and China Claim Dan Kolov Team Titles

By Eric Olanowski

RUSE, Bulgaria (March 3) – Olympic champion Kyle SNYDER sealed the Dan Kolov team title for the United States (147 points) with a 4-0 shutout win over Ukraine’s Valerii ANDRIITSEV in the 97kg gold-medal bout. 

In the finals, Snyder won the position battle and capitalized on four one-point exchanges to join fellow Americans Jordan BURROUGHS and Alex DIEREINGER as Dan Kolov freestyle champions. 


A second Olympic champion also claimed a gold medal on the fourth and final day of wrestling in Ruse, Bulgaria. 

Iran’s Rio Olympic champion Hassan YAZDANICHARATI (IRI) obliterated four-time world medalist Ali SHABANAU (BLR), 16-5 in the 86kg finals and won his first Ranking Series gold medal. Yazdani’s smothering pace and left side underhook proved to be too much for the Belarusian, as he gave up a pair of four-point moves, two takedowns, and a quartet of step-outs.

Iran’s 2018 world bronze medalist Parviz HADI (IRI) closed out the tournament and handed Iran their second gold medal of the night, when he edged Oleksandr KHOTSIANIVSKYI (UKR), 6-4, for the 125kg gold. 

Hadi trailed 3-0 but scored six unanswered points from a takedown and a four-point throw off a high crotch to gain the 6-3 lead. Hadi surrendered a late step out, but his two-point cushion was still enough to give him the win and his first Ranking Series title. 

It’s also worth noting that Hadi had to win back-to-back matches over returning world medalist just to make it to the finals. He defeated China’s returning world finalist Zhiwei DENG (CHN), 8-4, and followed that up with a 5-2 win over two-time world bronze medalist Nicholas GWIAZDOWSKI (USA). 

The United States won the freestyle team title, finishing 32 points ahead of second place Russia (115 points), and 47 points ahead of the bronze-medal winners Turkey. Ukraine (88 points) and Georgia (80 points) rounded out the top-5 respectively. 

In women’s wrestling, PANG Qianyu (CHN) and RONG Ningning (CHN) carried China to the team title with their gold-medal performance on the final day of wrestling in Ruse. 

In the 53kg finals, Pang Qianyu trailed India’s Vinesh VINESH (IND) 2-0 after the opening frame but scored nine unanswered points and gave China their first Dan Kolov women’s wrestling title of the weekend.

On her lone scoring sequence of the match, Pang grabbed a takedown from a high-level shot and fell right into a left side trapped arm gut wrench. The Chinese wrestler rolled Vinesh with a trio of gut wrenches and gained control of the match, 8-2. A failed Indian challenge brought the score to 9-2, which is where the 53kg gold medal bout ended. 


Reigning world champion Rong Ninging handed China their second gold medal of the day when she avenged her U23 world championship loss to Norway’s Grace BULLEN and picked up the fall in the 57kg finals. 

Rong was shutting out the Norwegian wrestler 4-0 before stopping a throw attempt and scoring the fall. 

The third women’s wrestling gold medalist on the fourth and final day of wrestling in Ruse was Iwona MATKOWSKA (POL), who defeated America's Erin GOLSTON (USA), 4-1, in the 50kg finals. 

China won the women's wrestling team title, finishing 20 points ahead of second place Ukraine (92 points), and 35 points in front of third-place the United States (77 points). Turkey (75 points) and India (65 points) finished in fourth and fifth places respectively. 

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GOLD - United States (147 points)
SILVER - Russia (115 points)
BRONZE - Turkey(100 points)
Fourth - Ukraine (88 points)
Fifth - Georgia (80 points)

BRONZE - Boris MAKOEV (SVK) df. Azamat DAULETBEKOV (KAZ), 4 - 4
BRONZE - Akhmed AIBUEV (FRA) df. Fatih ERDIN (TUR), via inj. def.

GOLD - Kyle Frederick SNYDER (USA) df. Valerii ANDRIITSEV (UKR), 4-0 
BRONZE - Murazi MCHEDLIDZE (UKR) df. Baki SAHIN (TUR), 10-0

GOLD - Parviz HADI (IRI) df. Oleksandr KHOTSIANIVSKYI (UKR), 6-4 
BRONZE - Daniel LIGETI (HUN) df. DENG Zhiwei (CHN), 6-1 
BRONZE - Said GAMIDOV (RUS) df. Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO), via inj. def. 

Women’s Wrestling 
GOLD - China (112 points)
SILVER - Ukraine (92 points)
BRONZE - United States (77 points)
Fourth - Turkey (75 points)
Fifth - India (65 points)

GOLD - Iwona Nina MATKOWSKA (POL) df. Erin Simone GOLSTON (USA), 4-1 
BRONZE - Whitney CONDER (USA) df. Victoria Lacey ANTHONY (USA), 4 - 0

GOLD - PANG Qianyu (CHN) df. Vinesh VINESH (IND), 9-2 
BRONZE - Vanesa KALADZINSKAYA (BLR) df. Juan DENG (CHN), via fall 

GOLD - RONG Ningning (CHN) df. Grace Jacob BULLEN (NOR), via fall 
BRONZE - Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR) df. Sara Johanna LINDBORG (SWE), 10 - 0
BRONZE - Iryna KURACHKINA (BLR) df. Bilyana Zhivkova DUDOVA (BUL), 8-2