Kim, Nouri Add to Asian Greco Gold Collections; Tasmuradov Denied by Tuo, Back Injury

By Ken Marantz

XI’AN, China (April 27)— Former Olympic champion KIM Hyeonwoo (KOR) didn’t need much help in capturing a fifth gold medal at the Asian Championships, but got some anyway in the form of a risky decision by his opponent. 

Hossein NOURI (IRI), meanwhile, didn’t dominate the opposition, but was never really challenged either in capturing a fourth career gold. 

Iran won two gold medals out of five on the first day of the Greco-Roman competition in Xi’an, while host China gained a title when a bad day for four-time Asian champion Elmurat TASMURADOV (UZB) only got worse.

Olympic champion KIM Hyeonwoo (KOR) won his fifth Asian title with an 8-0 win over India's Singh GURPREET in the 77kg gold-medal match. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

Kim, who had two falls and a technical fall leading up to the final at 77kg, secured the gold with an 8-0 technical fall over Singh GURPREET (IND). But the match ended on an odd note--with the winning point being awarded on an unsuccessful challenge by the Indian side.

Kim, a 2018 world bronze medalist, had a five-point lead when he spun behind for a takedown to make it 7-0. The Indian coach threw the stuffed toy used for a challenge, and Gurpreet approved the move, despite the risk that it could cost him the bout.

“His leg was outside the zone,” Gurpreet said of his decision. “So I said OK to the coach.”

For Kim, it was his first Asian gold since winning three straight from 2013-15. The London 2012 Olympic champion and Rio 2016 bronze medalist, who finished third at last summer’s Asian Games in Jakarta, looks to be on track to being a contender at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Hossein NOURI (IRI) won his second consecutive Asian title with a 2-0 win over India's Kumar SUNIL (IND) in the 87kg finals. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

Nouri, the defending champion at 87kg, also faced an Indian opponent in his final, and struck gold again after scoring a first-period takedown against Kumar SUNIL (IND) then holding on for a 2-0 victory.

Nouri gained his points when he deftly avoided a stepout by slipping to the side, then shrugging Sunil past him and getting behind.

“My opponent was good, but when I scored two points, I thought, no problem, I can hold him and I can win,” Nouri said. As for the scoreless second period. “I was reacting to the action of the opponent. Everything he did, I had a strategy for,” he said.

Nouri, a 2017 world bronze medalist and last year’s Asian Games champion, said this Asian title was the hardest to win, as he won all four of his matches by two points. 

“The competition was very high and strong, and all of my matches were very hard,” Nouri said. 

TUO Erbalu (CHN) was awarded the 63kg gold medal after Elmurat TASMURADOV (UZB) was unable to complete the match. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

China gained its title when Tasmuradov was unable to continue in the 63kg final against TUO Erbalu (CHN) after suffering a severe back strain. The bout was ended 37 seconds into the second period with Tuo leading 4-3.

“I know he was second at the world championships in 2018, and I feel very sorry for him to get an injury,” said Tuo, who graciously assisted Tasmuradov in descending the steps from the mat, much to the appreciation of the crowd at Xidian University’s Invengo Gymnasium.

Asked by Chinese TV if he thought he could have won anyway, Tuo replied: “He is really strong and an outstanding wrestler. But I think I have the confidence to challenge him. I have been building up my strength and fitness.”

Circumstances notwithstanding, Tuo, the Chinese national champion, was ecstatic over winning his first major international title. 

“I’m really excited, even shocked,” he said. “I’m still hesitant to believe this is real.”

For Tasmuradov, who missed the medal ceremony, the injury was the last blow of a forgettable day. Already suffering from an upset stomach, his nose started to bleed early in the final and he had to take a break several times to staunch the flow.

In the first period, Tasmuradov scored two points with a slick arm throw, but Tuo came back with two-point lift from a front headlock. After scoring on a stepout, Tasmuradov suddenly dropped to the mat, holding the right side of his back. He later said he suffered the injury while twisting during the earlier lift.

He finished the period, but the pain became too much and he gave up the fight, which drew a fleeing penalty. That was immaterial, as he quickly dropped again to the mat, where he remained to be examined by the tournament doctor, who deemed him unable to continue. 

After helping Tasmuradov off the mat, Tuo returned to take a victory lap holding the Chinese flag.  

Amir GHASEMIMONJEZI (IRI) snuck past Muminjon ABDULLAEV (UZB), 3-2 in the 130 gold-medal match. (Photo: Sachiko Hotaka)

Iran also grabbed the last of the gold medals at stake on the fifth day of the six-day tournament when Amir GHASEMIMONJEZI (IRI) edged Muminjon ABDULLAEV (UZB) 3-2 in the 130kg final. 

All of the points came in a quick flurry early in the first period. Ghaseminmonjezi stopped a back-drop attempt to go up 2-0, but Abdullaev gained two back by stepping over on a roll attempt, only to see the Iranian get behind again for a one-point reversal.   

Ilkhom BAKHROMOV (UZB) captured the first gold of the night at 55kg, getting a point by stepout with 1:25 left to defeat Hiromu KATAGIRI (JPN), 1-1, and add the senior Asian title to the junior one he captured in 2016

.Katagiri’s point came for passivity in the first period. He launched a number of positive throw attempts, but while some came close, none were enough to pick up points as he was denied in his bid to keep the Asian title in the lightest Greco weight class in Japanese hands for a third straight year.

The tournament concludes Sunday with competition in the five remaining Greco-Roman weight classes, which could see a rematch of the 59kg final from the 2017 world championships between winner Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) and Mirambek AINAGULOV (KAZ) at 60kg.

Day 5 results


55kg (10 entries)
Gold – Ilkhom BAKHROMOV (UZB) df. Hiromu KATAGIRI (JPN), 1-1
Bronze – Asan SULAIMANOV (KGZ) df. Reza KHEDRI (IRI), 3-1 
Bronze – Khorlan ZHAKANSHA (KAZ) df. JEON Hyeokjin (KOR) by TF, 9-0, 3:50 

63kg (9 entries)
Gold – TUO Erbalu (CHN) df. Elmurat TASMURADOV (UZB) by Injury Def., 2;23 (4-3) 
Bronze – JUNG Jinwoong (KOR) df. Urmalbek AMATOV (KGZ), 7-3
Bronze – Saman ABDOUVALI (IRI) df. Kudaibergen TURSYNOV (KAZ), 2-1

77kg (11 entries)
Gold – KIM Hyeonwoo (KOR) df. Singh GURPREET (IND) by TF, 8-0, 2:28 
Bronze – Tamerlan Shadukayev (KAZ) df. Bakhit BADR (QAT) by TF, 8-0, 1:11. 
Bronze – Mohammadali GERAEI (IRI) df. Naotsugu SHOJI (JPN) by TF, 9-0, 1:43

87kg (10 entries)
Gold – Hossein NOURI (IRI) df. Kumar SUNIL (IND), 2-0
Bronze – Azamat KUSTUBAYEV (KAZ) df. Tokhirdzhon OKHONOV (TJK) by TF, 8-0, 4:35
Bronze – Ruslam ASSAKALOV (UZB) df. Masato SUMI (JPN) by TF, 9-1, 2:39

130kg (8 entries)
Gold – Amir GHASEMIMONJEZI (IRI) df. Muminjon ABDULLAEV (UZB), 3-2 
Bronze – Damir KUZEMBAYEV (KAZ) df. Prem PREM (IND) by Fall, 1:27 (5-0)
Bronze – Murat RAMONOV (KGZ) df. KIM Minseok (KOR) by TF, 10-2, :55


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)