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2019 World Championships: 72kg Greco-Roman Preview

Bunker, Raymond

photo courtesy of Richard Immel

Greco-Roman 72 kg Preview

Days of competition: Preliminaries-Semifinals: Saturday, September 14th; Finals: Sunday, September 15th

Seeds: #1 Aik Mnatsakanian (Bulgaria), #2 Balint Korpasi (Hungary), #3 Abuiazid Mantsigov (Russia), #4 Cengiz Arslan (Turkey)

US Entry: Raymond Bunker 

Perhaps the biggest underdog on the 2019 US Greco-Roman team is its representative at 72 kg, Raymond Bunker. Bunker won the 2019 US Open, just four years after going 0-2 at the same tournament and three years after taking sixth. Before 2015, Bunker admits to not even knowing what “Greco” was. To win his Open championship, Bunker needed to stop a buzzsaw in 2018 World Team member RaVaughan Perkins. Coming into their final match, Perkins had teched his first three opponents by a combined score of 27-0. In Final X Lincoln, Raymond squared off with another longshot himself in Alex Mossing of the Air Force RTC. Bunker prevailed in two straight matches, 3-1 and 7-0 to claim his spot on the world team. In doing so, Bunker became one of two wrestlers from the Marine Corps to make the squad. The last time that a competitor from the Marine Corps had made the team was in 2015. Raymond started off his 2019 season with a championship at the Dave Schultz Memorial Invitational where he knocked off Asror Mukhitdinov, Uzbekistan’s representative at the 2017 U23 World Championships, in the finals. In his most recent tune-up before World’s, Bunker took the bronze medal at the Pytlasinski Cup in August. While American wrestling fans will embrace and support all of our wrestlers, across all three styles, Bunker will probably find himself as even more of a fan-favorite than most others on the team. Given Bunker’s rapid jumps (relatively speaking) up the domestic ranks in Greco, it’s not far-fetched to think that he could do the same in his first world-level event.

Favorites: 

Mnatsakanian – 2019 European bronze medalist, 2019 Dan Kolov silver medalist, 2018 World bronze medalist

Korpasi – 2019 German Grand Prix Champion, 2019 City of Sassari silver medalist, 2019 World silver medalist, 2017 World bronze medalist, 2017 European Champion, 2016 World Champion

Mantsigov – 2019 European Champion, 2019 Dan Kolov Champion, 2018 World fifth-place, 2017 European bronze medalist, 2013 Junior World Champion

Arslan – 2019 European silver medalist, 2019 European U23 bronze medalist, 2018 U23 World Champion, 2018 European U23 silver medalist

#9 Mateusz Bernatek (Poland) – 2017 World silver medalist

Medal Contenders:

NR Malkhas Amoyan (Armenia) – 2019 European Junior Champion, 2018 Junior World Champion, 2017 Junior World silver medalist, 2016 Cadet World bronze medalist, 2015 Cadet World bronze medalist

#20 Dominick Etlinger (Croatia) – 2019 European bronze medalist, 2010 Junior World silver medalist

NR Amin Kaviyaninejad (Iran) – 2019 Asian U23 Champion, 2018 Junior World Champion, 2017 U23 World bronze medalist, 2017 Junior World Champion, 2015 Cadet World Champion

NR Tomohiro Inoue (Japan) – 2018 Asian bronze medalist, 2016 Olympic fifth-place

NR Demeu Zhadrayev (Kazakhstan) – 2019 Asian bronze medalist, 2018 Asian silver medalist, 2017 World silver medalist

NR Ruslan Tsarev (Kyrgyzstan) – Two-time Asian bronze medalist, 2019 Dan Kolov bronze medalist, 2016 Olympian, 2015 Asian silver medalist, 2014 Asian Champion

2018 Medalists

Gold: Frank Staebler (Germany)

Silver: Balint Korpasi (Hungary)

Bronze: Rasul Chanayev (Azerbaijan)

Bronze: Aik Mnatsakanian (Bulgaria)

2019 Medal Predictions

Gold: Balint Korpasi (Hungary)

Silver: Amin Kaviyaninejad (Iran)

Bronze: Abuiazid Mantsigov (Russia)

Bronze: Aik Mnatsakanian (Bulgaria)

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