Jalolov adds U20 World title to impressive resume

By Vinay Siwach

SOFIA, Bulgaria (August 16) -- The last time Umidjon JALOLOV (UZB) was in Sofia, he went home as a world champion. Three years later, he returned to the Bulgarian capital to win his second age-group world title.

The '19 U17 world champion ran through the field at 65kg at the U20 World Championships and set up a final against returning silver medalist Ziraddin BAYRAMOV (AZE). While he would have liked to wrestle full six minutes, Bayramov pulled out of the final due to a shoulder injury when Jalolov was leading 5-1 in the final.

With the win and his exploits at the senior level this year, Jalolov has ascertained that he belongs to the stage and can give Uzbekistan the freestyle star it is searching for.

In Ufa, Jalolov suffered an opening round to finish 10th while Bayramov lost to Shamil MAMMEDOV (RWF) in the final.

However, both looked in solid form in Sofia with Bayramov defeating U23 and U20 Asian champion Sujeet KALKAL (IND) in the semifinal.

But in the final, Jalolov proved too much for Bayramov who was called passive early before scoring a stepout. Jalolov then got on a single and scored a takedown. Trying to cover the deficit, Bayramov shot a double but hit his shoulder on Jalolov's leg and abandoned the attack. He then tapped for medical attention when Jalolov hit the counter.

The Azerbaijan corner decided to pull out of the final, giving Jalolov the win. A disappointed Bayramov cursed his luck for finishing with a second straight silver medal at the U20 Worlds. 

This year, Jalolov has won bronze medals at the Istanbul and Almaty ranking events apart from the bronze at the U20 Asians. The Youth Olympic gold medalist will now hope to transition the age-group success at the senior level in what is one of the deepest weight classes in the world.

Benjamin KUETER (USA)Benjamin KUETER (USA) won the 97kg U20 world title in Sofia. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

USA wins 2 golds

In other finals on Tuesday, the USA won two gold medals while Iran and Azerbaijan won one each as five world champions were crowned.

18-year-old Benjamin KUETER (USA) emerged as the world champion at 97kg after securing a fall over '21 U17 world champion Rifat GIDAK (TUR) in the final. 

Gidak got the hold over Kueter and scored an exposure using a seatbelt throw but Kueter quickly got out of it to score two of his own and then used a move that he learned wrestling folkstyle in the US.

"It started a little crazy but I hit this gut and felt the momentum coming along," Kueter said. "I got on top and the move I did was actually a folkstyle move which we do in the States. It's hard for foreigners as they don't get that feeling."

Gidak tried locking the hands to stop Kueter from getting the rolls but the American ultimately used an arm bar to pin the Turkey wrestler.

The Iowa City native, who is also an All-American in American football, explained that Gidak was stronger in defense.

"He was in a strong position," Kueter said. "He stopped me from going to one side but all I had to do was go the other way. I could hear coach Green yelling go around, go around and that was it."

Jore VOLK (USA)Jore VOLK (USA) beat U20 Asian champion Merey BAZARBAYEV (KAZ), 3-2, to win the 57kg gold. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Jore VOLK (USA) was the other world champion for the USA as he beat U20 Asian champion Merey BAZARBAYEV (KAZ), 3-2, in a close 57kg final.

In a final of two halves, Volk took to Bazarbayev with continuous attacks and managed to circle behind Bazarbayev. He tried scoring a takedown but ended up dragging the Kazakhstan wrestler for a point. He did get the takedown in another sequence just before the break to lead 3-0.

"I was confident in my defense and even if I gave up points in the second period, I knew I will get one of my own," Volk said.

He did exactly that and forced Bazarbayev to attack. Volk was called passive and penalized for a singlet pull but with some classic underhook defense, the USA wrestler managed to win the title.

Kanan HEYBATOV (AZE)Kanan HEYBATOV (AZE) celebrates after winning the 70kg final. (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)

The USA could have crowned three champions but Kanan HEYBATOV (AZE) beat Mitchell MESENBRINK (USA), 13-7, in a slugfest that saw him play out a tactical game in the final.

He began with a big two and two and tried to secure the fall but Mesenbrink managed to roll over and survive. He gave up a gut wrench before getting the reversal. Heybatov went into the break with a 7-1 lead.

The second period began with Mesenbrink scoring two stepouts but gave up a takedown as well. He scored one of his own and a stepout to cut the lead to 9-6. But Heybatov kept coming back and scoring takedowns to ultimately win 13-7.

Sobhan YARI (IRI)Sobhan YARI (IRI) won the only gold for Iran on Tuesday. (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)

At 79kg, Sobhan YARI (IRI) gave Iran a gold medal as he beat Mushegh MKRTCHYAN (ARM), 5-0, in the final.

The first period was a slow affair as both wrestlers were happy to not engage in scrambles. Yari led 1-0 at the break after getting a point for Mkrtchyan's passivity. A minute into the second period, he scored a takedown before another passivity point and stepout helped him secure the win with ease.

Amirreza MASOUMI (IRI)Amirreza MASOUMI (IRI) defeated Nicholas FELDMAN (USA), 11-1, in the 125kg semifinal. (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)

Iran leads ahead

With Yari's gold and three more wrestlers winning their respective semifinals on Tuesday, Iran took control of the team title race by moving past the USA at the top spot.

In a strong show on Tuesday's semifinals, Armin HABIBZADEH (IRI), Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (IRI) and Amirreza MASOUMI (IRI) reached the gold medal bouts.

Returning 86kg world champion Firouzpour reached the final at 92kg after handing Adlan VISKHANOV (FRA) an 10-0 loss in the semifinal. The Asian champion was not scored upon in his three bouts on Tuesday and he will hope to keep a clean record in the final against Andro MARGISHVILI (GEO) who reached the final beating Sergey SARGSYAN (ARM), 4-3.

'21 U17 world champion Masoumi also dominated his competition and reached the final with ease after beating Nicholas FELDMAN (USA), 11-1 in the semifinal. His pressure wrestling was once again on display, scoring stepouts at will against the USA wrestler.

Masoumi will have to beat U20 Asia silver medalist Mahendra GAIKWAD (IND) to win the title. Gaikwad defeated Namoz ABDURASHIDOV (UZB), 6-0 in the other semifinal.

Habibzadeh will like to add a world title to his continental one at 61kg after he defeated Khamzat ARSAMERZOUEV (FRA), 3-0, to reach the final. A point for passivity and a takedown was all the action in the bout.

But former U17 world bronze medalist Yuto NISHIUCHI (JPN) will be a tough match for him as the Japanese star looks to add a gold medal to his bronze from the 2019 Worlds in Sofia. In a high-scoring semifinal, Nishiuchi scored a 16-8 win over Mohit KUMAR (IND).

Both wrestlers had four-point moves in the first period which saw 16 points being scored with Nishiuchi leading 10-6. He added a takedown and gut in the second period before Kumar scored exposure. But Nishiuchi managed to win comfortably.

Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE)Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE) outscored his opponents 38-2 on Tuesday. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

The other finalist for Japan came at 74kg as Ryunosuke KAMIYA (JPN) set up the gold medal bout against U20 European champion and returning silver medalist Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE).

Kamiya wrestled '21 U17 world champion Sagar JAGLAN (IND) in the semifinal and displayed strong defense to win 9-2. Jaglan got hold of Kamiya's leg and tried to score a takedown when the Japan wrestler tripped him for four points. A double for another four-pointer all but sealed the match for Kamiya, avenging his 4-0 loss to Jaglan from the 2019 U15 Asian Championships.

Gadzhiev will be hoping to win the U20 world title after finishing second to Erfan ELAHI (IRI) last year at 70kg. Elahi lost 10-4 to Jaglan earlier in the day.

Overall, the U23 European champion outscored his opponents 38-2 including the 5-2 semifinal win over Luka CHKHITUNIDZE (GEO).

Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA)Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA), red, is hoping to upgrade his 2021 silver to gold in Sofia. (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)

Another returning silver medalist hoping to win the title is Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA) as he reached the 86kg final against Bennett BERGE (USA).

Magamadov was stopped by Firouzpour last year but the France wrestler looks determined to win the gold this year. He defeated Sabuhi AMIRASLANOV (AZE), 11-2, in the semifinal. But his biggest win came in the quarterfinal when he leg laced Aref RANJBARI (IRI) to win in just over a minute.

Wednesday he will face Berge in the final who defeated Ismail KUCUKSOLAK (TUR), 9-7, after being 5-0 down. Kucuksolak scored a four-pointer and a point for Berge's passivity but as the Turkey wrestler got tired, Berge scored five stepouts in the second period to make it 5-5 before adding two takedowns to make it 9-5. A consolation takedown gave Kucuksolak two points.

Apart from the freestyle medal bouts on Wednesday, women's wrestling begins at the U20 World Championships with 50kg, 55kg, 59kg, 68kg and 76kg wrestlers going on the mat.

PodiumThe four medalists at 65kg in Sofia. (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)


GOLD: Jore VOLK (USA) df. Merey BAZARBAYEV (KAZ), 3-2 

BRONZE: Ahmad JAVAN (IRI) df. Luka GVINJILIA (GEO), 11-0
BRONZE: Abhishek DHAKA (IND) df. Heorhii KAZANZHY (UKR), 8-5

GOLD: Umidjon JALOLOV (UZB) df.  Ziraddin BAYRAMOV (AZE), via injury (5-1)

BRONZE: Yoshinosuke AOYAGI (JPN) df. Robert CORNELLA (USA), 6-6
BRONZE: Sujeet KALKAL (IND) df. Mykyta ZUBAL (UKR), 12-1

GOLD: Kanan HEYBATOV (AZE) df. Mitchell MESENBRINK (USA), 13-7

BRONZE: Hossein AGHAEI (IRI) df. Hayk PAPIKYAN (ARM), 5-2 
BRONZE: Mulaym YADAV (IND) df. Gigi KURKHULI (GEO), 12-2

GOLD: Sobhan YARI (IRI) df. Mushegh MKRTCHYAN (ARM), 5-0

BRONZE: Otari ADEISHVILI (GEO) df. Bekir OVEC (TUR), 10-4
BRONZE: Mukhammad ABDULLAEV (KGZ) df. Soslan TIGIYEV (AZE), 18-10

GOLD: Benjamin KUETER (USA) df. Rifat GIDAK (TUR), via fall





SF 1: Armin HABIBZADEH (IRI) df. Khamzat ARSAMERZOUEV (FRA), 3-0
SF 2: Yuto NISHIUCHI (JPN) df. Mohit KUMAR (IND), 16-8

GOLD: Ryunosuke KAMIYA (JPN) vs. Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE)

SF 1: Ryunosuke KAMIYA (JPN) df. Sagar JAGLAN (IND), 9-2
SF 2: Dzhabrail GADZHIEV (AZE) df. Luka CHKHITUNIDZE (GEO), 5-2


SF 1: Rakhim MAGAMADOV (FRA) df. Sabuhi AMIRASLANOV (AZE), 11-2
SF 2: Bennett BERGE (USA) df. Ismail KUCUKSOLAK (TUR), 9-7


SF 1: Andro MARGISHVILI (GEO) df. Sergey SARGSYAN (ARM), 4-3
SF 2: Amirhossein FIROUZPOUR (IRI) df. Adlan VISKHANOV (FRA), 10-0

GOLD: Amirreza MASOUMI (IRI) vs. Mahendra GAIKWAD (IND)

SF 1: Amirreza MASOUMI (IRI) df. Nicholas FELDMAN (USA), 11-1
SF 2: Mahendra GAIKWAD (IND) df. Namoz ABDURASHIDOV (UZB), 6-0


Iran crowns trio of U20 world champs, wins team title

By Vinay Siwach

SOFIA, Bulgaria (August 21) -- When Alireza MOHMADIPIANI (IRI) was in Bulgaria last time, he was wrestling at his first senior tournament at the Dan Kolov in Sofia. Mohmadipiani finished with a bronze medal after losing the semifinal to European silver medalist Gela BOLKVADZE (GEO) in the semifinal.

Despite the loss, Mohmadipiani took home a lesson from the loss of being on the attack from the word go in a bout.

He used a similar strategy in the 82kg final against '21 U17 world champion Achiko BOLKVADZE (GEO) to win the gold medal at the U20 World Championships in Sofia.

Mohmadipiani was one of the three gold medalists for Iran on Sunday as the latest edition of the U20 World Championships came to an end with Iran winning the Greco-Roman title with 174 points. Azerbaijan finished second with 119 points while Ukraine managed to jump to third with 93 points.

The two other gold medals on Sunday were captured by wrestlers from Azerbaijan. A historic bronze medal was also won by Richard KARELSON (EST), becoming the first-ever medalist from the country at U20 Worlds.

For Iran, Mohmadipiani had the most convincing victory even though he faced one of the most accomplished wrestlers entered in the competition.

18-year-old Bolkvadze began aggressively against Mohmadipiani but lost some steam as the bout went on. He was called passive and Mohmadipiani failed to get a turn. But 20 seconds later, Mohmadipiani got him into a body lock and pushed him to the mat to get four points.

In the second period, Bolkvadze got the opportunity to level scores but he failed to get any points from par terre.

Bolkvadze struggled to keep up with the pace of the bout and the referee warned him for blocking. On the second warning, he was cautioned with two points. Mohmadipiani got the win when Bolkvadze received his second caution and two points.

"Bolkvadze is a good wrestler and he won a gold medal last year [at U17," Mohmadipiani said. "I won the Asian Championships. So great bout but I won against him at the end."

With the U20 title in the bag, the Iran youngster is hoping to quickly move to seniors from next year onwards. But he knows the challenge that comes with it.

"The weight class has many good wrestlers," he said. "We have Azerbaijan [Rafig HUSEYNOV] and Turkey [Burhan AKBUDAK] but I'm well trained and I think I can win.”

Saeid ESMAEILI (IRI)Saeid ESMAEILI (IRI) defeated Suren AGHAJANYAN (ARM) in the 60kg final. (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)

At 60kg, Saeid ESMAEILI (IRI) had all but lost the gold to Suren AGHAJANYAN (ARM) as he trailed 6-2 with 22 seconds left in the final. But Esmaeili got his hands around Aghajanyan’s waist before moving into a bearhug and he secured a four-point throw to win 6-6.

Aghajanyan scored exposure from par terre to lead 3-2 before Esmaeili scored a takedown on the edge just before the break.

In the second period, Esmaeili worked more but there was no passivity call as Aghajanyan scored two stepouts to lead 5-2.

Esmaeili tried going for a takedown but his hands moved below the Aghajanyan’s waist and the move was illegal. Iran challenged the call but lost. It seemed that the final was all locked up when the U20 Asian champion stunned Aghajanyan, and the crowd with the throw to take the criteria lead.

Ali ABEDIDARZI (IRI)Ali ABEDIDARZI (IRI) scored six stepout points against Iussuf MATSIYEV (KAZ) in the 97kg final. (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)

The third gold medal for Iran came in emphatic fashion as Ali ABEDIDARZI (IRI) won the 97kg weight class over Iussuf MATSIYEV (KAZ).

Matsiyev took a 4-0 lead with a stepout and turn from par terre and Abedidarzi was struggling to get going with his attacks. But just before the break, he scored two stepouts and Matsiyev was hit with caution for fleeing.

Abedidarzi scored three more stepouts in the second period to claim the lead 5-4. When Matsiyev was called passive, Abedidarzi continued the bout from standing and scored three points to win 9-4.

Kanan ABDULLAZADE (AZE)Kanan ABDULLAZADE (AZE) won the gold at 67kg after beating Nika BROLADZE (GEO). (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)

Azerbaijan won the remaining two gold medals as Kanan ABDULLAZADE (AZE) won the 67kg weight class while Gurban GURBANOV (AZE) won at 72kg.

Abdullazade wrestled Nika BROLADZE (GEO) in the final and fell when the latter took the 1-1 criteria lead. Broladze planned to keep the lead until the end of the six minutes but Abdullazade scored a stepout with a minute and 13 seconds left.

Broladze, with time running out, tried to throw Abdullazade but both wrestlers fell with no control. But in the same sequence, Abdulladze managed to run around and score a go-behind to extend his lead to 4-1 for the win.

Gurban GURBANOV (AZE)Gurban GURBANOV (AZE) celebrates after emerging as the champion at 72kg. (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)

Gurbanov had a similar script for his final as he defeated Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA), 4-0, in the 72kg final. Perhaps he did not plan to get the first passivity point but Solovei was called passive and forced into par terre.

The former U17 world champion got the turn using a gut wrench to lead 3-0 at the break. He then continued to wrestle aggressively in the second period and Solovei was again called passive. This time Gurbanov did not get the turn but the score read 4-0.

Solovei got his chance to score when the third passivity was called against Gurbanov but Solovei had nothing left in him to turn the Azerbaijan wrestler.

Richard KARELSON (EST)Richard KARELSON (EST), blue, won Estonia's first-ever medal at U20 World Championships. (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)

Estonia’s historic medal

No Estonia Greco-Roman wrestler even won a medal at the U20 Worlds but Richard KARELSON (EST) changed that on Sunday as he won a bronze medal in the 97kg weight class after beating Roman BALCHIVSCHII (MDA), 8-0, in the bronze medal bout.

In June, Karelson had become the first U20 European champion from Estonia in Greco-Roman. He was the second ever Estonian Greco-Roman wrestler to enter the final.

Incidentally, his father is also named Richard.

“It’s a great feeling,” Karelson said. “I hope I can work on this and win at the U23 Worlds as well. I know that the competition will be harder than this.

Karelson's father was the one who forced his son into wrestling after he was growing too fast.

In the previous two U20 Worlds, Karelson had finished 15th in Ufa and 12th in Tallin, his hometown. But with the bronze medal in Sofia, Karelson hopes he can lift his performance moving forward.

"The U20 European gold and this bronze medal will help me get some funds," he said. "Now I hope to continue this performance and train more."

With the U17 and U20 behind, the action now moves on to the World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia in two weeks. 

IranIran won the Greco-Roman team title at the U20 World Championships. (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)



BRONZE: Nihat MAMMADLI (AZE) df. Koto GOMI (JPN), 3-3 


BRONZE: Seyed SOHRABI (IRI) df. Nestori MANNILA (FIN), 11-2

GOLD: Gurban GURBANOV (AZE) df. Alexandru SOLOVEI (MDA), 4-0

BRONZE: Irfan MIRZOIEV (UKR) df. Igor BOTEZ (ROU), 7-6




BRONZE: Rohit DAHIYA (IND) df. Ruslan ABDIIEV (UKR), 8-7 (via cautions)
BRONZE: Alperen BERBER (TUR) df. Fares GHALY (EGY), 9-1


BRONZE: Nurmanbet RAIMALY UULU (KGZ) df. Luka KATIC (SRB), 9-0