U.S. Sends 6 to Freestyle Finals, Cuba 4 in Pan American Championship

By William May

FRISCO, Texas (February 27) – Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) wrapped up three technical falls in Saturday’s morning session and five teammates followed the World and Olympic Games champion into the freestyle finals on the second day of the Pan American wrestling championships.

Burroughs wrapped up a pair of 10-0 victories in the early rounds at 74kg but had to work for a 13-2 win over Ilya ABELEV (CAN) in the semifinals at Dr. Pepper Arena.

Burroughs, also a two-time Pan American Games gold medalist, squares off with Carlos IZQUIERDO MENDEZ (COL) in the 74kg final a bid for only his second continental championships crown.

Joining Burroughs in his quest will be London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medalist Coleman SCOTT (61kg) and world bronze medal winner at 70kg, James GREEN (65kg).

Scott racked up a pair of technical falls in the morning, but Green struggled to hold onto a 3-2 win over 2014 Pan American silver medalist Brandon DIAZ RAMIREZ (MEX).

Meanwhile, 2014 bronze medal winner Frank MOLINARO (USA) squares off in the 70kg final with Alejandro VALDES TOBIER (CUB), who will be seeking his fourth Pan American championships crown.

Valdes Tobier leads the charge for Cuba and will be followed by world and Olympic Games medalist Livan LOPEZ AZCUY (86kg) and two-time world silver medalist Reineris SALAS PEREZ (97kg).

Lopez Azcuy and Salas Perez are both wrestling up a weight category in the championships and are expected to be back at their current competitive weights of 74kg and 86kg, respectively, for next week’s Pan American Olympic qualification tournament.

Despite their sparkling credentials, both Lopez Azcuy and Salas Perez were unable to qualify Cuba for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at last year’s world championships in Las Vegas.

Cuba’s fourth entry in Saturday evening’s gold medal finals will be Yudenny ALPAJON ESTEVEZ (CUB), who meets Dominique BRADLEY (USA) at 125kg.

Meanwhile, 2015 Pan American Games gold medalist at 57kg Yowlys BONNE RODRIQUEZ (CUB) fell in the quarterfinals at 65kg by technical fall to 18-year-old Anthony MONTERO CHIRINOS (VEN), who was the Pan American junior runner-up last May.

Montero Chirinos advanced to the finals, however, giving Bonne Rodriguez a shot at a bronze medal. Bonne Rodriquez, like Lopez Azcuy and Salas Perez, was unable to qualify for Rio 2016 in Las Vegas, so will attempt to qualify next week in Frisco.

In the evening’s first gold medal final, 2012 Pan American champ Sam HAZEWINKEL (USA) squares off with 2014 Pan American junior champion Darthe CAPELLAN (CAN).

For complete results, go to unitedworldwrestling.org/event/pan-american-championship-senior-2 and click on the button for “Arena” and then “Results”.

Freestyle, Championship Final Pairings


61kg – Uber CUERO MUNOZ (COL) v Coleman SCOTT (USA)

65kg – Anthony MONTERO CHIRINOS (VEN) v James GREEN (USA)

70kg – Frank MOLINARO (USA) v Alejandro VALDES TOBIER (CUB)



97kg – Jose DIAZ ROBERTTI (VEN) v Reineris SALAS PEREZ (CUB)

125kg – Dominique BRADLEY (USA) v Yudenny ALPAJON ESTEVEZ (CUB)