Team USA Sends Four Wrestlers to #WrestleBudapest Finals

By Vinay Siwach

BUDAPEST, Hungary (July 19) --- As soon as James MULLEN (USA) won his semifinal at 110kg, his USA teammate James ROWLEY (USA) began calculating the team scores. “That's 80 points,” he would shout to his team in the warm-up hall.

USA took a huge step towards the team title at the cadet World Championships which got underway in Budapest Monday as they entered four wrestlers in the five finals for Tuesday, the most for any country. India were the second best behind USA with two finalists while Russia, Iran, Georgia and Kazakhstan sending one each. Wrestlers from USA and India will meet in the two finals – 48kg and 80kg – on Tuesday.

That gives them a 30-point lead going into Tuesday which will see five more freestyle weight classes in action apart from the medal bouts of 48kg, 55kg, 65kg, 80kg and 110kg.

Two 15-year-olds made it to the final of 48kg in contrasting fashion as Pan Am champion Luke LILLEDAHL (USA) registered a thrilling win in the semifinals while Aman GULIA (IND) dominated his semifinal to win in a minute and five seconds.

Luke LILLEDHALE USALuke LILLEDAHL (USA) won his semifinal at 48kg 4-3. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Lilledahl, who trains in Missouri, will be looking to give himself an early birthday present, hopefully a gold, as he turn 16 years old in two weeks' time. He had a tough day in office as he began with a stunning 9-9 win over Akhmad MUSAKHADZHIEV (RUS) which saw USA challenge a call and winning it. He then handled Azim ABDYKALYKOV (KGZ) 8-1 before beating Nurdanat AITANOV (KAZ) 4-3 in the semifinals. He needed a late takedown with a double to win the bout.

Assessing his bouts, Lilledahl said he could have done better but he is now preparing for his final against India.

“[My wrestling was] not the best and I still have work to do,” Lilledahl said. “I am representing my country so I have to do my best no matter what. [For the final], just prepare mentally and watch some videos.”

Gulia went for a leg-lace to finish his opponent Rezo MARSAGISHVILI (GEO) 10-0 in the semifinal. In the morning session he had conceded only one point while scoring 14.

The Indian stayed back to watch Lilledahl's semifinal and observed a few things before the two meet in the final on Tuesday.

“He only shows false attack and dodges,” Gulia said. “I'll watch his videos from today and then prepare for final.”

UWW Photo

At 55kg, the weight class where USA did not have a finalist, saw Russia and Kazakhstan advance. Magomed BAITUKAEV (RUS) had a few slip ups in the semifinal against Abdullah TOPRAK (TUR) but eventually managed to win 10-6.

The wrestler from Chechnya was unfazed by the occasion of a World Championships final and said he will prepare for it as he does for any other bout.

His opponent, Abdinur NURLANBEK (KAZ) looked in the zone as he defeated Vaibhav PATIL (IND) 6-4 in the semifinals. Earlier in the day, he had defeated returing fifth-place and 2021 cadet European silver medalist Javi JAVIDOV (AZE) 10-0.

Nurlanbek challenged a takedown from Patil which had given Indian the lead. Kazakhstan won the challenge and kept off Patil's late attacks for the win.

Patil had earlier in the day ended the hopes for cadet European champion Andranik AVETISYAN (ARM) with a cradle pin despite the Armenian leading. He also pulled off a four-point throw in the dying seconds against Husanboy USMONOV (UZB). But his strategy did not work against the Kazak.

Meyer SHAPIRO USAMeyer SHAPIRO (USA) will wrestle in the 65kg final. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Meyer SHAPIRO (USA) was the second USA wrestler to reach the final. Like Lilledahl, he had to go through a Russian wrestler to reach the final against Giorgi GOGRITCHIANI (GEO).

After a pin to start his day. Shapiro wrestled Khabib ZAVURBEKOV (RUS) and both exchanged attacks before Shapiro went for a final one. He managed to come out on top 8-6 but such was the intensity of the bout that he thought he had lost.

“My second match was super tough,” Shapiro said. “Definitely the best kid in the bracket. Honestly, anything could have happened in the end and I thought I lost because I could not see the score board. I was freaking out but turns out I had won. Later, I brought the pieces together and wrestled hard in the semifinals.”

He did not waste any time in the semifinal to handed a 10-0 defeat to Aghanazar NOVRUZOV (AZE).

Gogritchiani, who trains in Racha, had a contrasting semifinal as he defeated Ali REZAEIAGHOUZGELEH (IRI) 6-6 after a successful challenge to reclaim his lead in the final minute. Two points were awarded to Iran but Georgia challenged the call and instead, the two points were awarded to Gogritchiani. The Iran wrestler did get two stepouts but those were not enough for the win.

“I wrestled very well,” he said. “In the last match with the Iranian I was sure I won those two points in the challenge. In tomorrow’s final I’ll do my best to get the gold medal.”

When Shapiro was asked who he is going to prepare for the final, he said he wanted to relax.

“I am not really worried about that,” he said. “I will watch a film [of Gogritchiani] and whatever happens, happens.”

Another India-USA was set at 80kg as Rowley made his way to wrestle Sagar JAGLAN (IND), defeating a Russian wrestler on the way.

Sagar JAGLAN INDSagar JAGLAN (IND) pinned Tornike SAMKHARADZE (GEO) in the semifinal at 80kg. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Rowley was slow to start as he wrestled Mustafagadzhi MALACHDIBIROV (RUS) in the 1/8 finals. A late takedown was what gave him an 8-6 win. In the quarterfinals, he picked up pace and defeated cadet European champion Oleksandr MAMROSH (UKR) before getting a technical superiority win over Gabriele NICCOLINI (ITA) 12-2.

“It kept getting better [for me],” Rowley said. “ My first match was slow and second was a little better. In the third, I blew him out of water.

“For the final, I will get the mindset right and win.”

He will face Jaglan in the final who won three out of his four bouts after trailing initially. But that was just another example of the exceptional motor skills of Indian wrestlers, made popular by Bajrang PUNIA (IND).

In the semifinal against cadet European Championships semifinalist Tornike SAMKHARADZE (GEO), he was trailing 4-6 as the Georgian struggled to catch his breath. Jaglan managed to put him on his back and get the fall.

A similar story saw him beat Radomir STOYANOV (BUL) in opening round. The Indian was trailing 1-9 but rebounded against a panting Stoyanov to win 15-10. Then against Musza ARSUNKAEV (UWW), he took advantage of a tiring opponent to win 14-9. A 12-4 win against Sattarkhan ALLAHVERDILI (AZE) earned him a place in the semifinal.

At 110kg, Amirreza MASOUMI VALADI (IRI) has begun well to follow his father's footsteps at the super-heavyweight category. Son of World Championships silver medalist and Beijing Olympic fifth placer Fardin MASOUMI VALADI, Amirreza stormed into the final with a 5-1 win over cadet European champion Ilia ZHIBALOV (RUS).

“Before coming here, I trained two months for this competition and I had great bouts,” Masoumi Valadi said.

He will face Pan-Am champion James MULLEN (USA) in the final. Mullen defeated Alikhan KUSSAINOV (KAZ) 7-1 in the semifinal.

Amirreza Fardin MASOUMI VALADI (IRI)Amirreza MASOUMI VALADI (IRI) will wrestle for gold at 110kg (Photo: UWW)



SF 2: Luke LILLEDAHL (USA) df Nurdanat AITANOV (KAZ), 4-3


SF 1: Magomed BAITUKAEV (RUS) df Abdullah TOPRAK (TUR), 10-6
SF 2: Abdinur NURLANBEK (KAZ) df Vaibhav PATIL (IND), 6-4


SF 2: Meyer SHAPIRO (USA) df Aghanazar NOVRUZOV (AZE), 10-0


SF 1: Sagar JAGLAN (IND) df Tornike SAMKHARADZE (GEO), via fall
SF 2: James ROWLEY (USA) df Gabriele NICCOLINI (ITA), 12-2


SF 1: Amirreza MASOUMI VALADI (IRI) df Ilia ZHIBALOV (RUS), 5-1
SF 2: James MULLEN (USA) df Alikhan KUSSAINOV (KAZ), 7-1


USA Wins First WW Team Title; Georgia, Russia Dominate GR at #WrestleBudapest

By Vinay Siwach

Two days after India created history by winning its first-ever freestyle team title at cadet World Championships, USA finished at the top of the podium to win the women's team title for the first time in Budapest.

USA ended the tournament with three gold and four bronze medals to claim the title with 149 points, 10 more than second-placed India. Russia finished third with 134 points.

With top two teams from 2019 Worlds, Japan and China not entered at the tournament, it gave an opportunity for the other countries to rise and win the team title.

USA had three wrestlers competing for gold medals Friday and one for bronze. All four claimed their medals with much ease and dominance. India and Russia claimed the remaining two titles of the day as women's wrestling came to a close at the 2021 Worlds.

Fittingly, it was the gold medal of returning bronze medalist Amit ELOR (USA) that gave USA the title as she claimed her first world title. Wrestling against Yevheniia SIEDYKH (UKR) in the 69kg final, Elor once again showed her dominance and pinned her opponent in just a minute and 55 seconds, using her strength for takedowns and gut wrenches.

“It feels amazing to win,” Elor said. “I am grateful to the coaches and everyone who helped me reach this title.”

Elor spent a total of just three minutes and 38 seconds on the mat during the tournament with only the final going into the second minute of the bout. She will now be looking for her second world title in a month's time in Ufa, Russia.

“The final was good because I was feeling nervous before but I tried to remain cool and do what I know,” she said. “I will be going to the junior Worlds. I am going celebrate by training more for Ufa.”

But it was all started by Erica PASTORIZA (USA) who defeated Alexandra VOICULESCU (ROU) in the 40kg final with a first-period fall.

Leading 2-1, Pastoriza tripped her opponent for four points and then exposed her and kept the shoulder to the mat to claim the pin.

“I was nervous [before the final] but I handled it,” said the wrestler from Arizona. “I feel amazing and so proud of myself.”

Katie GOMEZ USAKatie GOMEZ (USA) won the 53kg gold in Budapest. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

At 53kg, Katie GOMEZ (USA) continued her cruise as she defeated Natalia KHRAMENKOVA (RUS) 10-0 in the final with a minute and 22 seconds remaining.. She scored six points in the first period while the remaining four came in the second period.

“I was little nervous at the beginning but once I walked out on the mat I had the confidence that I can do it and I just wrestled,” Gomez said. “I will go home to my family and celebrate. I'll take some time off wrestling and then see.”

For India, returning world champion at 43kg, won the gold medal at 46kg to become a two-time world champion. She led Ruzanna MAMMADOVA (AZE) 3-0 when the Azerbaijan wrestler tried a big throw, earning her two points.

But Komal kept her defence and composure to keep the one point lead. Komal when went for a double leg which Mammadova tried to roll over but failed, giving up four points in the process and the win to Komal.

“I am feeling great,” Komal said. “The final was normal. It was not the best or the worst. She was a little scared I think. I will eat a lot of food and sweets because I am so happy."

Viktoriia KHUSAINOVA (RUS) Viktoriia KHUSAINOVA (RUS) claimed the title at 61kg. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Russia claimed the gold medal at 61kg as Viktoriia KHUSAINOVA (RUS) defeated Sofi TENEVA (BUL) 6-0 in the final. The gold medal caps off a stunning tournament for the Russian as she outscored her opponents 31-0 in four bouts.

“I can’t even explain what I feel now. I have no words,” Khusainova said. “When I was on the mat, I was worried in the beginning but then it was easier.”

Russia coach and 2008 Olympic silver medalist said that it was an emotional moment for her ward.

“She is very emotional now,” she said. “We have been training for 10 years. We have been training a lot to get this gold medal. We had injuries., losses and so on, but anyways we achieved what we wanted. So we are just super happy. The secret of such preparations is a will. The will to work hard and win.”

Georgia, Russia enter 3 GR finals


Georgia and Russia enjoyed a successful day as Greco-Roman action began in Budapest. The two countries entered three wrestlers each in the five finals that were decided Friday.

Turkey, USA, Ukraine and Germany were the four other countries to enter one wrestler each to finish the line up for the finals.

At 48kg, Servet ANGI (TUR) avenged his cadet European Championships final defeat to Faraim MUSTAFAYEV (AZE). He defeated the Azerbaijan wrestler 4-1 in the quarterfinal before beating Otto BLACK (USA) 5-5 in the semifinal.

“It was hard for me as this is the World Championships,” 17-year-old Angi said. “I was confident despite not winning the challenge and I was fine. The support was good but 80 million people are behind me. I play for the flag.”

He will take on Luka JAVAKHADZE (GEO) who also claimed a criteria win in the semifinals over Yussuf ASHRAPOV 3-3.

Cory Daniel LAND (USA)

Two wrestlers – Cory LAND (USA) and Valerii MANGUTOV (RUS) -- who were at the 2019 Worlds in Sofia, reached the final at 55kg, up from 48kg two years back.

The two had contrasting semifinals as Mangutov sneaked past cadet Euros silver medalist Tamazi GLONTI (GEO) 4-3 while Land dominated Zhantoro MIRZALIEV (KGZ) 5-0.

While the two have not wrestled each other in the past, Mangutov said he will do everything to win the gold.

“The matches went well today, a bit tough,” the 16-year-old Mangutov said. “I have never seen his wrestling style. But I will prepare for my final as it is my last bout. We will see how it goes on the mat. No need to prepare in advance.”

A rematch from the 2021 cadet European Championships was set at 65kg as Imed KHUDZHADZE (UKR) beat Ankit GULIA (IND) 4-3 and Anri PUTKARADZE (GEO) defeated Nihat KARA (TUR) 5-4 to reach the final.

The two had one-point victories over their semifinal opponents after dominating their way to the last four.

At 80kg, Kamaludin MAGOMEDOV (RUS) set up a clash against cadet European champion Achiko BOLKVADZE (GEO) in the final.

The Russian had a close semifinal against Hamza SERTCANLI (SWE) but came out on top 4-2 for the win.

Bolkvadze, who is yet to concede a point, scored a 8-0 technical superiority win over Joju SAMADOV (AZE). He will be looking to add the world title he missed in 2019.

“It was very tough today,” Bolkvadze said. “Thanks to God everything went well, and I’ll wrestle in the final match. The only thing that will make me feel satisfied is the gold medal.”


Another rematch from the 2021 cadet European Championships will be at 110 kg as Daniil CHASOVNIKOV (RUS) and Nikita OVSJANIKOV (GER) won their respective semifinals to set up the final.

The Russian won the gold medal at the continental level and will now to repeat that performance at the world level.

“[Today] was not an easy day for me,” Chasovnikov said. “The matches began well and now I concentrated for the semifinal match and won it. But I could have done even better. I can’t stop now. Tomorrow is the final and I have to win.”

He defeated Artur BOICHUK (UKR) 11- 0 in the semifinal and is now ready for the rematch against Ovsjanikov.

“I have wrestled against the German wrestler already in the European championships, I won 5-3,” he said. “I think he wants to take a revenge.”

No doubt that Ovsjanikov will like to avenge that loss from a month ago. He defeated Artur SARKISJAN (CZE) 4-0 in the semifinal.

Five more Greco-Roman weight categories will be in action apart from the medal bout of the finalists that were decided Friday.

RESULTS: WW Medal Bouts

GOLD: Erica PASTORIZA (USA) df Alexandra VOICULESCU (ROU), via fall

BRONZE: Anastasiia POLSKA (UKR) df Aizhan MURATBAY (KAZ), 8-0
BRONZE: Tana TIULIUSH (RUS) df. Elvina KARIMZADA (AZE), via fall


BRONZE: Sevval CAYIR (TUR) df Nicoleta BAJAN (ROU), 2-1
BRONZE: Ava WARD (USA) df Sviatlana KATENKA (BLR), 8-1

GOLD: Katie GOMEZ (USA) df Natalia KHRAMENKOVA (RUS), 10-0

BRONZE: Alina FILIPOVYCH (UKR) df Annatina LIPPUNER (SUI), via fall

GOLD: Viktoriia KHUSAINOVA (RUS) df Sofi TENEVA (BUL), 7-0

BRONZE: Ulmeken ESENBAEVA (UZB) df NITIKA (IND), via inj def
BRONZE: Kseniya TSIARENIA (BLR) df Yasmine SOLIMAN (HUN), 9-3

GOLD: Amit ELOR (USA) df Yevheniia SIEDYKH (UKR), via fall

BRONZE: Noemi OSVATH NAGY (HUN) df Harshita HARSHITA (IND), via fall
BRONZE: Viktoryia RADZKOVA (BLR) df Barbara SERE (ROU), 4-0

RESULTS: GR Semifinals


SF 1: Luka JAVAKHADZE (GEO) df. Yussuf ASHRAPOV (KAZ), 3-3
SF 2: Servet ANGI (TUR) df Otto BLACK (USA), 5-5


SF 1: Valerii MANGUTOV (RUS) df Tamazi GLONTI (GEO), 4-3
SF 2: Cory LAND (USA) df Zhantoro MIRZALIEV (KGZ), 5-0


SF 1: Imed KHUDZHADZE (UKR) df Ankit GULIA (IND), 4-3
SF 2: Anri PUTKARADZE (GEO) df Nihat KARA (TUR), 5-4


SF 1: Kamaludin MAGOMEDOV (RUS) df Hamza SERTCANLI (SWE), 4-2
SF 2: Achiko BOLKVADZE (GEO) df Joju SAMADOV (AZE), 8-0


SF 1: Daniil CHASOVNIKOV (RUS) df Artur BOICHUK (UKR), 11-0
SF 2: Nikita OVSJANIKOV (GER) df Artur SARKISJAN (CZE), 4-0