India Crowns Two #WrestleBudapest Champions; Russia Bounces Back

By Vinay Siwach

BUDAPEST, Hungary (July 20) --- India won the head-to-head battle in the finals against USA to claim two gold medals as five new world champions were crowned at the cadet World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. USA, Russia and Iran won the remaining three titles.

Aman GULIA (IND) defeated Luke LILLEDAHL (USA) at 48kg and Sagar JALGAN (IND) won the 80kg final against James ROWLEY (USA) which helped India stay alive in the team title race.

The second day of the Championships saw the medal bouts of 48kg, 55kg, 65kg, 80kg and 110kg while the finalists were also decided in the remaining five weight classes – 45kg, 51kg, 60kg, 71kg and 92kg. The remaining medal bouts will take place Wednesday.

Cadet World Championships Budapest

Gulia was the first champ as he held off Pan Am champion Lilledahl in the 48kg final 5-2. The Indian was awarded the first point for the American's passivity and he later extended his lead to 3-0, scoring a takedown via slide-by.

In the second period, he went for a big double but Lilledalh was quick to push his legs back and counter for a takedown and reduce the lead to 3-2. But his attempts for another two points for the win went in vain as Gulia defended the duck-under attacks. A counter gave two more points to Gulia.

“I have worked really hard to reach here,” Gulia said. “I can't thank my coaches enough and I would ask them to train me harder for the junior and senior level and ultimately the Olympics.”

In the second India-USA final, Jaglan showed a stronger stamina than Rowley to win 4-0 ay 80kg. All four points were scored via stepouts as Rowley looked a shadow of himself from Monday. Rowley found it difficult to sneak through Jaglan's defence which remained solid throughout the four minutes.

Meyer SHAPIRO USAMeyer SHAPIRO (USA) won the 65kg gold in Budapest. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

But it was not all disappointment for USA as Meyer SHAPIRO (USA) won the 65kg gold medal with a stunning win over Giorgi GOGRITCHIANI (GEO). He got the fall after completely breaking his Georgian opponent.

Gogritchiani led early in the bout but Shapiro, with his constant pressure and attacks, wore down the Georgian and by the last minute, he had the bout under his control.

“I did not have any plan and had a blank mind as I wrestled,” Shapiro said. “I wanted to remain calm and with a minute and 30 seconds remaining, I knew the kid is not going to last long. I knew by that time that I will win the match."

Shapiro, with his high-paced wrestling, worked two takedowns as Gogritchiani crumbled and gave up. “When I got the first takedown, I got the momentum. That was 50 seconds remaining,”

The 17-year-old called it his biggest win and said he will be taking some time off wrestling after two grueling months of training.

“Definitely the biggest tournament I have won, he said. “Especially to come from behind and win. I had a great tournament. I am going to take some time off wrestling and go home and relax.”

Amirreza Fardin MASOUMI VALADI (IRI)Amirreza MASOUMI VALADI (IRI) became a world champion at the 110kg weight class. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Iran had a special moment in Budapest as Amirreza MASOUMI VALADI (IRI), son of two-time world medalist and 2008 Olympics fifth-placer Fardin, won the gold medal at 110kg.

Wrestling against James MULLEN (USA), Masoumi Valadi scored two four-point throws and then a counter for two points to finish the bout 10-0 well before the regular time of four minutes.

Mullen pressured Masoumi Valadi towards the danger zone but the latter tossed him over for four points. The second attempt was by the Iran wrestler as he pushed and scored four more. A desperate Mullen tried an arm-throw but failed, giving the Iranian 10-0 win.

Russia won the 55kg gold as Magomed BAITUKAEV (RUS) defeated Abdinur NURLANBEK (KAZ) 4-3 in a nail-biting final, thanks to a challenge which Russia won in the final few seconds.

Nulanbek tried defending a lead in the second period but Baitukaev scored a takedown which was not awarded initially and only after the challenge. The Kazak then got another point but it was not enough for the title.

“I am very happy to win the gold medal. My opponent was very tough. When I was stepping on the mat, I was thinking about the victory,” Baitukaev said.

Russia bounces back

Russia will have a chance to add to Baitukaev's gold on Wednesday as it bounced back after a dismal opening day and advanced three finalists on the second day.

Iran and Uzbekistan also improved their performances and sent two wrestlers each to the finals. Two best teams of day one – USA and India – managed to only one each. Turkey earned the remaining spot in the finals' line-up.

Tuesday's performance from Russia brought them back into the team race as they removed India from the second spot and closed the gap with top team USA which has five finalists in total.

Bowen William BASSETT (USA)Bowen BASSETT (USA) secured his place in the 45kg final. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Russia and USA will square off in the 45kg final on Wednesday as Alikhan ASHINOV (RUS) and Bowen BASSETT (USA) dominated their respective halves of the bracket to reach the summit clash.

Bassett, who is just 14-years-old, was class apart in the competition as he won his first two bouts via fall and the semifinal via technical superiority.

His opponent in the semifinal, Umidjon ISKANDAROV (UZB), did score two points over Bassett in the semifinal but surrendered 13 to the young cadet from USA.

Bassett, unfazed that he is the youngest wrestler in the field, said he got better with each bout and is confident that he can go all the way.

“I don't let that [age] faze my mind. I just try to tech fall everyone,” Bassett said. “My performance got better as it went on. First match I wrestled well, got it done but every match as it goes on, I get better. No one can stop me.”

He will be wrestling Ashinov in the final who beat Imronbek RAKHMANOV (KGZ) in the semifinal 6-0. All six points were scored in the first period.

Ashinov, the Kabardino, Balkaria native, trains in a village close to Nalchik. He said he is excited to wrestle an American wrestler in the final.

“I know that my opponent will be the American guy, but I have never seen his wrestling before,” Ashinov said. “But I'll be ready.”

Bassett echoed the same thoughts, given that USA and Russia enjoy a healthy rivalry in wrestling.

“He [Ashinov] will be pretty tough,” Bassett said. “I am glad that I'll be wrestling him in the finals. USA vs Russia is a rivalry. Excited for that. It will be a great match and best of luck to him.”

Akhmed Abdulaevitch MUSAEV (RUS)Akhmed MUSAEV (RUS) defeated JAIDEEP (IND) to enter the 71kg final in Budapest. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

At 71kg, Akhmed MUSAEV (RUS) booked his spot in the final against Seyedhassan ESMAEILNEZHAD ARCHI (IRI) after a late exposure win in the semifinal.

Wrestling JAIDEEP (IND) in the semifinal, he gave up two stepouts and was training until the last 20 seconds when both wrestlers scrambled for advantage. As the time expired, Russia challenged, asking for two points for Musaev.

Musaev won the challenge and claimed a 2-2 win over Jaideep to enter the final against Esmaeilnezhad Archi, who defeated Yerkhan BEXULTANOV (KAZ) 5-1 in the semifinal.

Zhorik DZHIOEV (RUS) was third Russian to enter the final as he advanced at the 92kg weight class. In a dominating performance, Dzhioev defeated Gavin NELSON (USA) 8-0 in the semifinal.

"I wrestled well today but I don't know what will happen in the final,” Dzhioev, who trains at the Ossetia's Brothers’ Taimazov club, said. “I haven’t seen my opponent’s match, I’ll try to get ready as if it is my last match.”

He will face Rifat GIDAK (TUR) in the final. The Turkey wrestler was equally dominant as he defeated Yusif DURSUNOV (AZE) 6-0 in the semifinal. He is yet to concede a point in the tournament, having scored 21 over his opponents.

Iran and Uzbekistan set up a final at 51kg as Nodirbek JUMANAZAROV (UZB) and Ali KHORRAMDEL (IRI) advanced from either side of the bracket.

FS 51kg Jesuroga (USA) vs. Jumanazarov (UZB)Nodirbek JUMANAZAROV (UZB) will wrestle for the 51kg gold. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Jumanazarov's first victim was Nathanael JESUROGA (USA) as he won 10-0 before beating Tigran BUNIATYAN (ARM) 8-2 in the semifinal.

Khorramdel was equally dominant in the day he outscored his opponents 26-0 in three bouts. In the semifinals, he faced CHIRAG (IND) and got a 6-0 win with ease.

The second Uzbekistan wrestler to enter the final was Kamronbek KADAMOV (UZB) as he secured the place in the 60kg gold medal bout against Jaskaran SINGH (IND).

Kadamov is a returning silver medalist from 2019 cadet World Championships in Sofia. He overcame Baris UNSAL (TUR) 9-0 in the semifinal and will now be preparing for Singh.

“We are going to analyze the videos of my Indian opponent together with my coaches,” he said.

Singh, who trains in Patiala, Punjab, outscored his opponents 32-4 on his way to the final. With a strong defence and some perfect single leg attacks, he made it to the final after beating Abdulrahman IBRAHIMOV (AZE) 6-2 in the semifinal.

On Wednesday, women's wrestling will take centerstage. Japan, China and Canada, the top nations in women's wrestling, are not entered for the tournament due to travel restrictions forced by COVID-19.

Sagar PodiumThe four medalists at 80kg weight class in Budapest. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)




Magomed BAITUKAEV (RUS) df. Abdinur NURLANBEK (KAZ), 4-3

BRONZE: Javid JAVADOV (AZE) df Vaibhav PATIL (IND), 7-5

Meyer SHAPIRO (USA) df Giorgi GOGRITCHIANI (GEO), via fall

BRONZE: Khabib ZAVURBEKOV (RUS) df Aghanazar NOVRUZOV (AZE), 10-2

Sagar JAGLAN (IND) df James ROWLEY (USA), 4-0

BRONZE: Mustafagadzhi MALACHDIBIROV (RUS) df Gabriele NICCOLINI (ITA), via fall

Amirreza MASOUMI VALADI (IRI) df James MULLEN (USA), 10-0

BRONZE: SAHIL (IND) df Alikhan KUSSAINOV (KAZ), via fall

Rifat Eren GIDAK (TUR)Rifat GIDAK (TUR), left, will wrestle for the 92kg gold medal in Budapest. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Semifinal Results

Alikhan ASHINOV (RUS) vs Bowen BASSETT (USA)

SF 1: Bowen BASSETT (USA) df Umidjon ISKANDAROV (UZB), 13-2
SF 2: Alikhan ASHINOV (RUS) df Imronbek RAKHMANOV (KGZ), 6-0


SF 2: Nodirbek JUMANAZAROV (UZB) df Tigran BUNIATYAN (ARM), 8-2

Jaskaran SINGH (IND) vs Kamronbek KADAMOV (UZB)

SF 1: Jaskaran SINGH (IND) df Abdulrahman IBRAHIMOV (AZE), 6-2
SF 2: Kamronbek KADAMOV (UZB) df Baris UNSAL (TUR), 9-0


SF 1: Seyedhassan ESMAEILNEZHAD ARCHI (IRI) df Yerkhan BEXULTANOV (KAZ), 5-1
SF 2: Akhmed MUSAEV (RUS) df JAIDEEP (IND), 2-2

Rifat GIDAK (TUR) vs Zhorik DZHIOEV (RUS)

SF 1: Zhorik DZHIOEV (RUS) df Gavin NELSON (USA), 8-0
SF 2: Rifat GIDAK (TUR) df Yusif DURSUNOV (AZE), 6-0


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.