2021 U23 World Championships

Cassioppi Brings Home Gold as U23 World Championships End in Belgrade

Pictured: Tony Cassioppi after winning a 125kg gold medal at the U23 World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, November 7, 2021. Image courtesy of USA Wrestling. 

Sessions 13 and 14 have concluded at the U23 World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, officially closing the event. Team USA brought home men’s freestyle gold medal and had two athletes in action on the final day of completion – Tony Cassioppi earned himself a U23 125kg World gold medal, and Chris Cannon (61kg) finished fifth, falling 10-0 in his bronze-medal match. 

Inside the Repechage Round

Cannon advanced through repechage this morning after beating Switzerland’s Nino Leutert, 9-8. It was a strange match. In period one, there were scrambles galore and lengthy challenges for both competitors. At the break, though, the match was tied at 7-7, and Cannon held the criteria advantage. 

However, the match’s pace dramatically slowed in the second period, and points were at a premium. With a minute left, Cannon got the winning takedown to take a 9-7 lead. From there, a scramble ensued, and Leutert added a reversal to make it 9-8. Cannon hung on to win by that same score. 

Inside the Medal Round

Cassioppi got a dominant shutout win over Greece’s Azamat Khosonov, a 2021 Senior World Championships participant (17th), winning 13-0 with 3:16 remaining in the bout. Out to an early 3-0 after takedown and a step-out, Tony never looked back. From there, Cassioppi got a takedown and quickly transitioned to a lace for two turns. Up 9-0, the Iowa Hawkeye finished it dramatically with a big feet-to-back four-pointer to win it with 16 seconds still remaining in the first. 

With that, Cassioppi ends his tournament a perfect 4-0, having outscored his opponents by a combined 38-8 margin. Additionally, the 2021 U23 World champion was unscored upon in three of his four matches. What a run for big Tony Cassioppi. 

In his bronze-medal match, Cannon took on Mongolia’s Narankhuu Narmandakh. Cannon fell 10-0 with 4:33 remaining in the bout. Mongolia opened the scoring with a big feet-to-back four-pointer. From there, he used a tight gut wrench to get the three turns that were needed to end the match early. 

As a team, the USA men’s freestylers brought home two total medals. Jay Aiello won World bronze at 97kg and Cassioppi brought home World gold during the final bout of Belgrade 2021. In the team race, the USA placed seventh (54 points). Russia (145), Iran (140), Armenia (114), Azerbaijan (87), Turkey (72), and Ukraine (56) were the six teams ahead of Team USA. 

For full event brackets and match replays, watch on FloWrestling here


Session I Recap here

Session 2 Recap here

Session 3 Recap here

Session 4 Recap here

Session 5 Recap here

Session 6 Recap here

Session 7 Recap here

Session 8 Recap here

Session 9 Recap here

Session 10 Recap here

Session 11 Recap here

Session 12 Recap here

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