Bakhramov Matches Brother as Asian Greco Champion; Geraei, Abdvali Also Strike Gold Among Siblings

By Ken Marantz

XI’AN, China (April 28)—Having seen his younger brother win a gold medal the day before, Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) did what comes naturally to a sibling. Wanting what he has.

Bakhramov made it two golds in the family when he captured the 60kg title as the Asian Championships finished up with competition in five Greco-Roman finals on the sixth and final day in Xi’an.

Bakhramov defeated RI Se Ung (PRK) by a 12-4 technical fall, avenging a loss in the semifinals at last year’s Asian Championships in Bishkek, where he had to settle for a bronze medal. 

It also gave Uzbekistan a second gold medal after younger brother Ilkhom captured the 55kg title the previous day.

“Two brothers in one sport is very excellent,” Bakhramov said. “We motivate each other. If the younger brother wins a medal, why shouldn’t the older brother also win? If he wins, I must win.”

Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI) celebrates after winning the 72kg gold medal with a 5-0 win over China's ZHANG Hujun. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

Meanwhile, Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI) and Saeid ABDVALI (IRI)—who also had brothers competing in Xi’an, both of whom won bronze medals—cruised to the 72kg and 82kg titles, respectively, to help Iran capture the team championship by just two points ahead of Uzbekistan.

The title race came down to the final match of the tournament, and a 3-2 victory by Uzur DZHUZUPBEKOV (KGZ) over Jahongir TURDIEV (UZB) in the 97kg final left Uzbekistan two points short of Iran, which won with 165 after securing four golds and three bronzes. 

Kazakhstan was third with 134 points, mainly on the strength of six bronze medals.

Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) tosses RI Se Ung (PRK) in the 60kg gold-medal bout. The Uzbekistan wrestler reached the top of the podium with a 12-4 victory. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

In a never-a-dull moment 60kg final, Bakhramov got the advantage first in the par terre position and executed a roll for a 3-0 lead. But Ri, who knocked off 2017 world champion Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) and world bronze medalist Sailike WALIHAN (CHN) en route to the final, came back with a 2-point back drop.

Bakhramov replied with a twisting head lock for two points, but Ri struck back with a 2-point head lock throw to cut the gap to 5-4. 

In the second period, the Uzbeki padded his lead with a takedown and 1-point leg-grab penalty. With the seconds ticking down, Ri made a last-ditch leap for a score, but landed on his back, giving Bakhramov four points and the technical fall at the buzzer.

“Last time I didn’t know him, what moves he would do,” Bakhramov said. “This time I was ready absolutely. I trained very well and was completely ready for this championships.”

For Ilkhom Bakhramov, seeing his older brother’s success only doubled the pleasure of his own.

“Yesterday when I won the [gold] medal, I was really happy,” he said. “But it was like 50 percent. Today, my brother also won, so that’s why it’s 100 percent. I was shouting and jumping.”

Geraei, who was third at the Asian Games last summer in Jakarta, earned his first Asian title with a solid 5-0 victory over ZHANG Hujun (CHN) in the 72kg final. 

Geraei, whose older brother Mohammadali was third at 77kg on Saturday, scored a takedown in each period and was never really put in danger. 

Saeid ABDVALI (IRI) shutout India's Singh HARPEET, 8-0 to win the 82kg gold medal. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

Abdvali, a former world champion and Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, was even more dominant in putting away Singh HARPEET (IND) by 8-0 technical fall in 3:54, scoring two takedowns and four stepouts.

“My program to prepare for this championships was five months,” said Abdvali, who won all three of his matches by technical falls without surrendering a point to add a first Asian title to two Asian Games crowns. “At the competition, I was strong and ready.”

Advali said younger brother Saman, a bronze medalist at 63kg, had his chance for gold, too. “He made a mistake and that caused him to lose,” he said.

Uzur DZHUZUPBEKOV (KGZ) celebrates after scoring the 3-2 win over Jahongir TURDIEV (UZB) in the 97kg gold-medal match. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

In the 97kg final, Dzhuzupbekov, who was third at both the Asian Championships and Asian Games last year, managed to roll Turdiev from the par terre position a minute into the second period to take a 3-1 lead, then held on for the victory.

RYU Hansu (KOR) used a four-point move to top Meiirzhan SHERMAKHANBET (KAZ), 5-1 in the final at 67kg. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

The other title at stake on the final night at Xidian University’s Invengo Gymnasium went to RYU Hansu (KOR), who scored with a 4-point move with :46 left in the 67kg final to top world bronze medalist Meiirzhan SHERMAKHANBET (KAZ), 5-1.

With the wrestlers tied at 1-1 from passivity points, Ryu secured a body lock from the side, then twisted Shermakhanbet backwards and down for the big-point move that secured his third Asian gold.  

“It’s something that I practice all the time,” said Ryu, a two-time Asian Games champion and 2017 world champion. “It came natural to me because I have done it so many times.”

Host China, which finished 10 points behind Kazakhstan in the team standings, ended on a positive note with three wrestlers taking bronze medals: ZHANG Gaoquan (CHN) at 67kg, QIAN Haitao (CHN) at 87 kg and XIAO Di (CHN) at 97kg. 

Japan came away with a pair of bronzes from Fumita at 60kg and Shogo TAKAHASHI (JPN) at 67kg. Fumita, the 2017 world and Asian champion, won without a fight as Walihan defaulted their bronze-medal match due to a shoulder injury. 

One of the more exciting matches of the evening program was a come-from-behind victory by Maxat YEREZHEPOV (KAZ) in an 82kg bronze-medal match.

Trailing Jalgasbay BERDIMURATOV (UZB) 5-0, Yerezhepov was in the process of being lifted for a roll, when he suddenly clamped down on his opponent’s arm to send him to his back and win by an unlikely fall at 2:02.

Day 6 results


60kg (12 entries)

Gold – Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) df. RI Se Ung (PRK) by TF, 12-4, 6:00
Bronze – Gyanender GYANENDER (IND) df. HUANG Jui Chi (TPE) by TF, 9-0, 2:45
Bronze – Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) df. Sailike WALIHAN (CHN) by Default

67kg (14 entries)
Gold – RYU Hansu (KOR) df. Meiirzhan SHERMAKHANBET (KAZ), 5-1
Bronze – ZHANG Gaoquan (CHN) df. Abdulkarim AL HASAN (SYR), 7-0
Bronze – Shogo TAKAHASHI (JPN) df. Mirzobek RAKHMATOV (UZB), 5-2

72kg (9 entries)
Gold – Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI) df. ZHANG Hujun (CHN), 5-0 
Bronze – Ruslan TSAREV (KGZ) df. Yogesh YOGESH (IND) by TF, 8-0, 1:12 
Bronze – Demeu ZHADRAYEV (KAZ) df. Aram VARDANYAN (UZB)  by Fall, 2:29 (3-2)

82kg (9 entries)
Gold – Saeid ABDVALI (IRI) df. Singh HARPEET (IND) by TF, 8-0, 3:54
Bronze – Maxat YEREZHEPOV (KAZ) df. Jalgasbay BERDIMURATOV (UZB) by Fall, 2:02 (2-5)
Bronze – QIAN Haitao (CHN) df. Burgo BEISHALIEV (KGZ) by TF, 9-0, 3:29 

97kg (9 entries)
Gold – Uzur DZHUZUPBEKOV (KGZ) df. Jahongir TURDIEV (UZB), 3-2
Bronze – XIAO Di (CHN) df. LEE Seyeol (KOR), 1-1 
Bronze – Mahdi ALIYARIFEIZABADI (IRI) df. Alimkhan SYZDYKOV (KAZ), 4-2

Team Standings
1. Iran 165 points (4 gold-0 silver-3 bronze)
2. Uzbekistan 163 (2-3-1)
3. Kazakhstan 134 (0-1-6) 


Younger Geraei Earns Shot at Asian Greco Gold; Iran, Uzbekistan Put 2 Each in Finals

By Ken Marantz

XI’AN, China (April 28)— Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI) has already exceeded his older brother at the Asian Championships, while Uzur DZHUZUPBEKOV (KGZ) prevented the possibility of a Iranian sweep of the four heaviest weights in Greco-Roman. 

Geraei was one of two Iranians to advance to the finals in the five remaining weight classes on the final day of the six-day tournament in Xi’an, setting up a clash for the 72kg gold with local favorite ZHANG Hujun (CHN).

Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Saeid ABDVALI (IRI) gained a place in the 82kg final against Singh HARPEET (IND), but world bronze medalist Mahdi ALIYARIFEIZABADI (IRI) was denied a shot at the 97kg gold after suffering a nail-biting 7-5 loss to Dzhuzupbekov in the semifinals.

Uzbekistan also placed two wrestlers in the finals in the night session at Xidian University’s Invengo Gymnasium, with 2018 bronze medalist Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) advancing at 60kg and Jahongir TURDIEV (UZB) taking on Dzhuzupbekov at 97kg.

Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI) will wrestle China's ZHANG Hujun in the 72kg finals. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Geraei, third at last summer’s Asian Games in Jakarta, overcame a high hurdle in the semifinals by beating 2017 world silver medalist Demeu ZHADRAYEV (KAZ), 9-3, capping the victory with a highlight-reel four-point throw.

Geraei had watched as older brother Mohammadali GERAEI (IRI) had to settle for the 77kg bronze the day before, when Iran picked up golds at 87kg and 130kg. 

 “There was no effect on my wrestling,” Geraei said of his brother’s defeat. “But I was little sad about my brother. My brother could have been first.”

Uzur DZHUZUPBEKOV (KGZ) will wrestle Jahongir TURDIEV (UZB) in a rematch of the Asian Games bronze-medal match. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

ZHANG Hujun (CHN) seemed to be heading to the 97kg final when Dzhuzupbekov reversed him to his back during a roll attempt with 30 seconds left for the winning points. That avenged a loss to the Iranian at a tournament in Istanbul last year.

“Everyone was screaming and it was motivating me,” said Dzhuzupbekov, a bronze medalist on home soil last year in Bishkek as well as at the Asian Games. “At the end, I was just thinking to keep attacking him.”

The final against Turdiev, who turns 37 this week, will be a rematch of the bronze-medal match in Jakarta won by Dzhuzupbekov.

RI Se Ung (PRK) knocked off world champion Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) and world bronze medalist Sailike WALIHAN (CHN) on his road to the 60kg finals. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

The depth of quality in Asia in the 60kg division came out as neither 2017 world champion Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) nor 2018 world bronze medalist Sailike WALIHAN (CHN) made it to the final.

Both wrestlers were knocked off by crafty RI Se Ung (PRK), and will meet for a bronze medal. Ri will take on Bakhramov for the gold.

Ri, the silver medalist at Bishkek 2018, defeated Fumita, 5-3, in the quarterfnals. From the par terre position, Ri reeled off a pair of rolls before giving up a reversal to lead 5-1. In the second period, Fumita put the pressure on, but could only gain a two-point penalty for fleeing. 

“[The difference] was that I didn’t attack, that was big,” said Fumita, who returned from a knee injury to defeat 2018 Asian champion Shinobu OTA (JPN) at the national championships in December, a month after winning the world U23 title. 

Ri’s victory over Walihan in the semifinals followed a similar pattern, as he scored five points in the first period and went on to win 5-2.

Mirambek AINAGULOV (KAZ), the runner-up to Fumita at the Paris 2017 world championships and an Asian bronze medalist last year, failed to make it out of the first round, falling to LEE Jungbaik (KOR), who was subsequently ousted by Walihan.

RYU Hansu (KOR) will look to win his third Asian title when he competes against Meiirzhan SHERMAKHANBET (KAZ) in the 67kg finals. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

At 67kg, Asian Games champion RYU Hansu (KOR) will look to add to his long list of laurels, which includes two previous Asian titles, when he takes on world bronze medalist Meiirzhan SHERMAKHANBET (KAZ) in the final.

Ryu, a 2017 world champion, knocked off 2018 bronze medalist Mirzobek RAKHMATOV (UZB), 7-2, in the semifinals, while Shermakhanbet trailed 2-0 going into the second period against gritty Abdulkarim ALHASAN (SYR) before blitzing his way to a 10-2 technical fall victory.

Day 6 results


60kg (12 entries)
Gold – Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) v RI Se Ung (PRK)
Bronze – HUANG Jui Chi (TPE) vs Gyanender GYANENDER (IND)
Bronze – Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) v Sailike WALIHAN (CHN)

RI Se Ung (PRK) df. Sailike WALIHAN (CHN), 5-2
Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) df. Gyanender GYANENDER (IND) by TF, 9-0, 1:24

67kg (14 entries)
Gold – Meiirzhan SHERMAKHANBET (KAZ) v RYU Hansu (KOR)
Bronze – ZHANG Gaoquan (CHN) v Abdulkarim AL HASAN (SYR)
Bronze – Shogo TAKAHASHI (JPN) v Mirzobek RAKHMATOV (UZB)

Meiirzhan SHERMAKHANBET (KAZ) df. Abdulkarim AL HASAN (SYR) by TF, 10-2, 4:06
RYU Hansu (KOR) df. Mirzobek RAKHMATOV (UZB), 7-2

72kg (9 entries)
Gold – ZHANG Hujun (CHN) v Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI)
Bronze – Yogesh YOGESH (IND) v Ruslan TSAREV (KGZ)

Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI) df. Demeu ZHADRAYEV (KAZ), 9-3
ZHANG Hujun (CHN) df. Ruslan TSAREV (KGZ), 5-5

82kg (9 entries)
Gold – Saeid ABDVALI (IRI) v Singh HARPEET (IND)
Bronze – Maxat YEREZHEPOV (KAZ) v Jalgasbay BERDIMURATOV (UZB)
Bronze – Burgo BEISHALIEV (KGZ) v QIAN Haitao (CHN)

Saeid ABDVALI (IRI) df. Jalgasbay BERDIMURATOV (UZB) by TF, 10-0, 4:27
Singh HARPEET (IND) df. QIAN Haitao (CHN) by TF, 10-1, 3:42

97kg (9 entries)
Bronze – LEE Seyeol (KOR) v XIAO Di (CHN)

Jahongir TURDIEV (UZB) df. XIAO Di (CHN), 4-1