#WrestleBudapest: Kamal third time lucky to win European title
Sunday, April 3, 2022 - 18:40 By Vinay Siwach
BUDAPEST, Hungary (April 3) -- Turkey claimed back-to-back gold medals to close out the European Championships in Budapest.
Overall, Turkey finished with three gold, one silver, and three bronze at the tournament to finish 150 points. However, this was not enough to overtake Azerbaijan which had 165 points and won the Greco-Roman team title. Georgia finished third with 114 points.
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.
"I have been waiting for this for a very long time," Kamal said. "This is my third final and I lost the first final 5-5, the second final 3:1, finally I managed to win the gold medal. I am still very young and have many goals."
After getting a point for Nazaryan's passivity, Kamal managed to score from a step-out to lead 2-0. A second-period takedown and a step-out gave him a comfortable 5-0 lead.
Nazaryan looked like a shadow of himself from Saturday. He had defeated defending champion Gevorg GHARIBYAN (ARM) 10-1 in the semifinal but could not repeat the performance in the final.
Kamal was well aware of Nazaryan's abilities to score from par terre and had planned to not let the Bulgarian get that chance.
"I know exactly who is the father [Armen NAZARYAN] of my opponent in the final," he said. "I know with which technique he became Olympic champion. His son [Edmond] is as good and talented as his father. I knew it would be hard, but I won with my will and stubbornness."
Kamal burst into the scene with three back-to-back world titles and has now added all age-group European titles to his name. Kamal, all recovered from his injury at the U23 Worlds, has his eyes set on a senior World title.
"I suffered a serious injury at the U23 World Championships six months ago," he said. "I know who I am and what I want, and I know that I always want to be the strongest."
Murat FIRAT (TUR) won the gold at 67kg. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)
The second gold for the nation came from Murat FIRAT (TUR) as he 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.
This was Firat's second championships win, seven years after he won the first one at the junior European title in 2015.
Robert FRITSCH (HUN) won Hungary's first gold of the tournament. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)
Hungary did have a home champion as 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.
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.
The final gold of the tournament went to Kiril MILOV (BUL) who 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.
GR medal bouts
GOLD: Kerem KAMAL (TUR) df (BUL) Edmond NAZARYAN, 5-0
BRONZE: Murad MAMMADOV (AZE) df Razvan ARNAUT (ROU), 5-2
BRONZE: Gevorg GHARIBYAN (ARM) df Erik TORBA (HUN), 5-1
GOLD: Murat FIRAT (TUR) df Krisztian VANCZA (HUN), 3-1
BRONZE: Slavik GALSTYAN (ARM) df Ramaz ZOIDZE (GEO), via fall
BRONZE: Hasrat JAFAROV (AZE) df Sebastian NAD (SRB), 8-1
GOLD: Robert FRITSCH (HUN) df Shmagi BOLKVADZE (GEO), 3-2
BRONZE: Ulvi GANIZADE (AZE) df Kristupas SLEIVA (LTU), 14-7
BRONZE: Ali ARSALAN (SRB) df Pavel PUKLAVEC (CRO), via fall
GOLD: Rafig HUSEYNOV (AZE) df Gela BOLKVADZE (GEO), 2-1
BRONZE: Tamas LEVAI (HUN) df Mihail BRADU (MDA), 4-1
BRONZE: Burhan AKBUDAK (TUR) df Pascal EISELE (GER), 6-1
GOLD: Kiril MILOV (BUL) df Arvi SAVOLAINEN (FIN), 4-1
BRONZE: Daniel GASTL (AUT) df Murat LOKIAYEV (AZE), 4-1
BRONZE: Vladlen KOZLIUK (UKR) df Felix BALDAUF (NOR), 8-0