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2019 World Championships: 82kg Greco-Roman Preview

Stefanowicz, John

photo courtesy of Richard Immel

Greco-Roman 82 kg Preview

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

Seeds: #1 Emrah Kus (Turkey), #2 Viktar Sasunouski (Belarus), #3 Saeid Abdvali (Iran), #4 Rajbek Bisultanov (Denmark)

US Entry: John Stefanowicz

Along with fellow Marine Corps teammate Raymond Bunker, John Stefanowicz was one of two Marines to make the 2019 world team, a feat that had not been accomplished since 2015. John certainly earned his place on the team after a subpar fifth-place finish at the US Open in April, where he fell to Kendrick Sanders then defaulted out of the tournament. By failing to win the Open, Stefanowicz needed to win the World Team Trials tournament less than a month later. There he would meet the dangerous All-American from Oklahoma State Chandler Rogers in the quarterfinals. John prevailed 11-8 on the strength of a four-point throw with six seconds remaining in the match. Next, he had to get through the 2018 World Team member Geordan Speiller, which he did 8-0. That set up a best-of-three final with 2017 World Team member Cheney Haight. A pair of 5-1 wins by Stefanowicz propelled him into a Final X Rutgers rematch with Sanders. Leading into their Final X bout, a lot was made about a revitalized version of Sanders that was the best version of himself. That didn’t seem to matter to John who took Kendrick out in two straight matches 8-5 and 3-2 to make his first world team. In 2019, Stefanowicz’s best international performance came at the Pytlasinski Cup in Poland, where he brought home the bronze medal. While this weight class has some high seeds with impressive credentials, it lacks the depth that other brackets will possess. That should benefit John in his quest to make the podium. 

Favorites:

Kus – 2019 European bronze medalist, 2018 World silver medalist, 2013 World bronze medalist

Sasunouski – 2019 Oleg Karavaev Champion, 2018 World bronze medalist, 2018 European silver medalist, 2015 World silver medalist, 2015 European Games bronze medalist

Abdvali – 2019 Asian Champion, 2018 World fifth-place, 2017 World bronze medalist, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, 2015 World fifth-place, 2012 Olympian, 2011 World Champion, Two-time Junior World Champion

Bisultanov – 2019 German Grand Prix silver medalist, 2019 European Champion, 2019 Thor Masters Champion, 2018 U23 World silver medalist, 2018 European U23 Champion

Maksim Manukyan (Armenia) – 2019 Pytlasinski Cup silver medalist, 2019 Dan Kolov Champion, 2018 World bronze medalist, 2018 European Champion, 2017 World Champion, 2016 Olympian

Medal Contenders:

Rafig Huseynov (Azerbaijan) – 2018 European bronze medalist, 2011 European Champion, 2010 World fifth-place, 2018 Junior World bronze medalist, 2017 Junior World bronze medalist

Haitao Qian (China) – 2019 Asian bronze medalist, 2019 Dan Kolov silver medalist

Lasha Gobadze (Georgia) – 2019 European silver medalist, 2017 U23 World silver medalist, 2017 European U23 bronze medalist, 2015 World bronze medalist, 2014 Junior World bronze medalist, 2011 Cadet World bronze medalist

Pascal Eisele (Germany) – 2017 World bronze medalist, 2016 European Champion, 2016 World Military Champion

Zotlan Levai (Hungary) – 2019 German Grand Prix silver medalist, 2019 City of Sassari silver medalist, 2019 European U23 Champion, 2017 European U23 Champion, Three-time Junior World bronze medalist, 2011 Cadet World bronze medalist

Adlan Akiev (Russia) – 2019 German Grand Prix Champion, 2016 World University bronze medalist

2018 Medalists:

Gold: Peter Bacsi (Hungary)

Silver: Emrah Kus (Turkey)

Bronze: Viktar Sasunouski (Belarus)

Bronze: Maksim Manukyan (Armenia)

2019 Medal Predictions:

Gold: Emrah Kus (Turkey)

Silver: Maksim Manukyan (Armenia)

Bronze: Rajbek Bisultanov (Denmark)

Bronze: Saeid Abdvali (Iran)

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