Evloev leads Russia's Dominance at Matteo Pellicone

By Vinay Siwach

OSTIA, Italy (March 4) --- Two years after his last Ranking Series event, Musa EVLOEV (RUS) captured his third gold medal of the Series with a dominant performance at the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series, which got underway in Rome on Thursday.

The two-time defending world champion showed no mercy on his opponents, scoring two out of three wins by technical superiority. On the way to his gold medal, the Russian scored 22 points and did not concede a single one.

Evloev was the second of Russia's three gold medals on day one of the event. Russian national champion Viktor VEDERNIKOV (RUS) captured the 55kg gold medal while Emin Narimanovitch SEFERSHAEV (RUS), a junior world champion, claimed the top honors at 60kg weight category.

Kazakhstan captured two gold medals of its own after advancing four wrestlers to the finals in the morning session. Aidos SULTANGALI (KAZ) open the gold medal account for his country after his countryman Sultan ASSETULY (KAZ) forfeited the final due to injury. Meiirzhan SHERMAKHANBET (KAZ) captured his second Ranking Series gold and fourth medal overall after a technical superiority 12-2 over Mate KRASZNAI (HUN).

Hungary and Turkey were the two other countries which claimed the remaining two gold medals to close the day. Istvan TAKACS (HUN) won the 87kg gold medal while four-time world champion Riza Kayaalp (TUR) claimed the 130kg gold medal with 7-0 win in the final.

Evloev, who won the gold medal at the Individual World Cup in Belgrade, began the day with an 8-0 win over Luca SVAICARI (ITA) and gave little to no chance to Rio Olympics and world bronze medalist Cenk ILDEM (TUR) in his 6-0 win.

Less than two minutes into the final, the 27-year-old came up with a big four-point throw in the final against Erik SZILVASSY (HUN). He then scored a second-period pushout to compelete the win 8-0 and capture his first Ranking Series gold since the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov gold in March, 2019.

While Vedernikov also showed dominance throughout his round-robin to win the gold, Sefershaev had a some close bouts. In the quarter-final, the Russian survived a close 2-2 win against Zhanserik SARSENBIYEV (KAZ) before getting the gold via injury default.

Coming into the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series, Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) was the favourite to win the gold medal at 87kg category. He held an unpreecented record having won six Ranking Series gold medals and begin unbeaten in 23 bouts.

But after three years of sheer dominance at the event, Lorincz tasted his first defeat at the hands of fellow countryman Istvan Takacs (HUN).

Takacs was his country's lone gold medalist of the day but it was the semi-final that made the headlines. With three wrestlers in the 87kg category, Lorincz and Takacs met in the last-four bout. Both wrestlers exchanged points for passivity but it was the latter who took a 3-1 lead for exposure and kept it till the end, hand Lorincz his first Ranking Series defeat in 25 bouts.

Kayaalp was the final gold medal of the day. While there were some nervous moments for the multi-medalist at the Olympics as he took the bouts till the last minute, he cruised to his second Ranking Series gold, first in three years. It was a deliberate method by him.

"It's good to wrestle in Rome and prepare for the upcoming tournaments," he said. "I wanted to take the matches as long as possible from my side."

Kayaalp will now be headed back to Turkey for a training camp before heading to Poland for the European Championships. He will also be part of the second Ranking Series event, also to be held in Poland.

Action will continue on day two in Rome with remaining three Greco-Roman and four women's freestyle weight categories.



GOLD - Emin SEFERSHAEV (RUS) df. Ahmet UYAR (TUR), via inj. def.
BRONZE - lZhanserik SARSENBIYEV (KAZ) df. Ildar HAFIZOV (USA), 7-5
BRONZE - Krisztian KECSKEMETI (HUN) df. Joshua Xavier MEDINA(PUR), 2-1

GOLD - Aidos SULTANGALI (KAZ) df Sultan ASSETULY (KAZ) via inj. def.
BRONZE -Neeraj NEERAJ (IND) df. Samuel JONES (USA), 6-4
BRONZE -Mohammad ALAJMI (KUW) df. Marat GARIPOV (RUS), via inj. def.

BRONZE - Almat KEBISPAYEV (KAZ) df. Enes BASAR (TUR), 3 - 2
BRONZE -Nazir Rachidovitch ABDULLAEV (RUS) df. Murat FIRAT (TUR), 1-1

GOLD - Istvan TAKACS (HUN) df David LOSONCZI (HUN) 4-1
BRONZE - Bekkhan OZDOEV (RUS) df. Josef Patrick RAU (USA), 8-0 
BRONZE - Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) df. Simone FIDELBO (ITA), 8-0

BRONZE - Olzhas SYRLYBAY (KAZ) df. Ondrej DADAK (CZE), 9-0
BRONZE - Cenk ILDEM (TUR) df. Luca SVAICARI (ITA), 7-1

GOLD - Riza Kayaalp (TUR) df Abdellatif Mohamed Ahmed MOHAMED (EGY) 7-0
BRONZE - Naveen NAVEEN (IND) df. Stepan DAVID (CZE), 1-1


USA closes out U17 Worlds with 3 golds, historic FS title

By Vinay Siwach

ROME, Italy (July 31) -- James GREEN (USA) was part of the USA team which won the freestyle team title for the first time in 22 years at the 2017 World Championships. The two-time world medalist won a silver medal in that edition.

Five years later, Green got another chance to hold the team trophy, this time as the chief coach of the USA team at the U17 World Championships in Rome on Sunday.

USA won a historic first U17 freestyle world title in Rome with nine out of their 10 wrestlers winning medals including four golds. It finished with 190 points which was more than enough to exchange places with defending champions India which finished with 126 points.

Azerbaijan, a nation that won the European team title, finished third with 122 points.

USA became the fourth nation to win the U17 world freestyle title after Russia, Iran and India since the U17 Worlds were reinstated in 2011. Russia won the title every year until 2018 when Iran broke that streak.

Russia won again in 2019 before India became only the third country to win the title in 2021.

USAUSA coach James GREEN, center, with the team title trophy. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

"It feels like it's straight out of a movie," he said. "It's like a reminiscent of 2017 when I was part of the world team that won the title for the USA after 22 years."

After finishing with a gold, three silver and a bronze medal on day six, the USA rocked again on the final day with three gold and a bronze to close out the tournament.

"I know how these guys are feeling," he said. "I am so excited to win this on my first trip and looking forward to more coaching."

Since 2011, the USA finished in the second spot five times in nine U17 Worlds with the latest being to India at the previous edition. But this year, all the USA wrestlers won their head-to-heads against India which ultimately proved to be the difference between who became the champions.

"The draw kind of worked in our favor," Green said. "We definitely had a gameplan not just for India but for everyone else including the Europeans as well.  But I can tell you one thing that our wrestlers wanted to get a hand on Indian wrestlers because we lost to them last time."

Luke LILLEDAHL (USA)Luke LILLEDAHL (USA), blue, upgraded his '21 silver to gold. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Luke LILLEDAHL (USA) finished with a silver medal in 2021 after suffering a loss against Aman GULIA (IND) but there was no stopping Lilledahl this year as he upgraded to gold with a dominating 10-1 win over Mohammad Reza ASADI (IRI).

The 51kg final, pretty much controlled by Lilledahl, began with two exchanging stepout but then the USA wrestler switched levels after the break and scored takedowns whenever he found Asadi going for a half shot. He countered two of Asadi's attacks while he scored a takedown and added a leg lace in his 12-1 victory for the gold medal.

"Luke wrestlers at a hard pace," Green said. "He keeps a low head but is always moving and engaging. He takes the points as they come and doesn't rush into attacks."

Two other gold medalists for the USA on Sunday, Domenic MUNARETTO (USA) and Joseph SEALEY (USA), also impressed Green.

Munaretto won the 45kg gold medal by beating Bashir VERDIYEV (AZE), 2-0 in the final. Overall, the champion outscored his opponents 30-2 in the tournament.

Joseph SEALEY (USA)Joseph SEALEY (USA) outscored his opponents 55-1 in Rome. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

At 71kg, Sealey dashed local hopes to see a home champion by decimating Raul CASO (ITA), 12-0, in the gold medal bout.

Sealey, like his all other bouts, was wrestling at a completely different level and pace which Caso had no answer to. When Caso tried to engage in underhooks, he would get tripped by Sealey and when he tried to score a takedown, Sealey would easily stop any such attempts.

His two inside trips and two takedowns were enough to help Sealey win the crown and get some praise from coach Green.

"Sealey was very impressive," he said. "He wrestles like a senior athlete and can wrestle someone from that level. He conceded the least points in the whole tournament."

Sealey wrestled five bouts to win the gold and in an impressive record, scored 55 points and conceded only one.

Drawing experience from the title-winning run in 2017, Green had communicated to his team to 'have fun' during the tournament.

"I just told them that you are capable of being world champs and future Olympic champions," he said. "But more importantly I told them to have fun at this tournament. Most of these guys are wrestling for the first time and they can be hard on themselves so I didn't want that. And once we all met, they had the team chemistry and it clicked right away."

Ebrahim ELAHI (IRI)Ebrahim ELAHI (IRI), blue, pulled off a 5-4 win against Bilol SHARIP UULU (KGZ) in the 60kg final. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

The other gold medals of the night were shared between Iran and Kazakhstan.

At 60kg, Ebrahim ELAHI (IRI) defeated U17 Asian champion Bilol SHARIP UULU (KGZ), 5-4 to win the gold after trailing 3-1 at one point. Sharip Uulu scored the first points with a duck-under during the activity period against Elahi. It was initially awarded as four but Iran challenged the call and it was reversed to two points only.

But Elahi's constant moves towards Sharip Uulu's legs paid dividends as he leveled the score 3-3 and led on criteria. He then added a takedown against the tiring Kyrgyzstan wrestler to extend his lead to 5-3. He was warned for fleeing during the final 10 seconds which made the score 5-4 but did not change the result.

Elahi's gold was Iran's first of the tournament as it finished fifth in the team rankings.

Kamil KURUGLIYEV (KAZ)Kamil KURUGLIYEV (KAZ) won the 92kg gold, the second of the tournament for Kazakhstan. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Returning bronze medalist Kamil KURUGLIYEV (KAZ) went all the way this year and captured his maiden world title, a month after he had won the U17 Asian title.

Musza ARSUNKAEV (HUN) had no answers to Kurugliyev's style of wrestling, inspired by his former world bronze medalist father and cousin-brother, European champion Duaren KURUGLIEV (RWF).

After a 3-0 lead in the first period, Kurugliyev began the second with a huge double-leg for four and then added two takedowns to close out a statement win in Rome.

The World Championships season will now move to Sofia, Bulgaria with the U20 Worlds beginning August 15.




GOLD: Domenic MUNARETTO (USA) df. Bashir VERDIYEV (AZE), 2-0

BRONZE: Arman HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) df. Amirmohammad NAVAZI (IRI), via fall
BRONZE: Nikoloz BOTCHORISHVILI (GEO) df. Constantin RUSU (MDA), 5-4

GOLD: Luke LILLEDAHL (USA) df. Mohammad Reza ASADI (IRI), 10-1

BRONZE: Nurdanat AITANOV (KAZ) df. Ben TARIK (MAR), 1-1

GOLD: Ebrahim ELAHI (IRI) df. Bilol SHARIP UULU (KGZ), 5-4

BRONZE: Taiga OGINO (JPN) df. Alessandro NINI (ITA), 3-1

GOLD: Joseph SEALEY (USA) df. Raul CASO (ITA), 12-0



BRONZE: Maxwell MCENELLY (USA) df. Sahil JAGLAN (IND), 2-1