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2019 World Championships: 87kg Greco-Roman Preview

Rau, Joe

photo courtesy of Richard Immel

Greco-Roman 87 kg Preview

Days of competition: Preliminaries-Semifinals: Sunday, September 15th; Finals: Monday, September 16th

Seeds: #1 Zhan Beleniuk (Ukraine), #2 Metehan Basar (Turkey), #3 Viktor Lorincz (Hungary), #4 Islam Abbasov (Azerbaijan)

US Entry: Joe Rau

Internationally one of the deepest weight classes of all ten Greco weights is 87 kg and that is also the case domestically. Three former world and/or Olympic team members were in competition at the 2019 US Open and it was Joe Rau who emerged victorious with a 3-1 win over Patrick Martinez. That let Rau leapfrog the World Team Trials and go directly to Final X Rutgers. The opponent that produced by the Trials for Joe in Final X was quite a familiar face, Ben Provisor. The two have battled countless times over the years with most being low scoring, hard-fought affairs. The first match in their best-of-three series followed that script and Rau won, 2-1. In the second match Joe opened it up, or as much as either man can do against each other and got his hand raised after a 5-1 win. That put Rau back on the world team for the second time in his career, with the first coming back in 2014. In his most recent competition, Joe took fifth-place at the Pan-American Games. As mentioned above, this weight class has landmines left and right and is filled with bad draws up and down the bracket. Rau is capable of being one himself, as he has had a decent amount of international success, despite not having won a world medal…yet.

Favorites: 

Beleniuk – 2019 European Games Champion, Three-time European Champion, 2018 World silver medalist, 2016 Olympic silver medalist, 2015 World Champion, 2014 World bronze medalist, 2011 Junior World silver medalist, 2010 Junior World bronze medalist

Basar – 2019 Dan Kolov fifth-place, Two-time World Champion, 2017 European silver medalist, 2011 Junior World bronze medalist

Lorincz – 2019 European Games bronze medalist, 2019 City of Sassari Champion, 2019 Grand Prix of Hungary Champion, 2017 European Champion, 2016 Olympic fifth-place, 2015 World fifth-place, Two-time World bronze medalist

Abbasov – 2019 European Games silver medalist, 2019 European silver medalist, 2018 U23 World silver medalist, 2018 World fifth-place, 2018 European U23 Champion, 2017 U23 World bronze medalist, 2015 Junior World silver medalist, Two-time Junior World Champion

Artur Shahinyan (Armenia) – 2019 Pytlasinski Cup Champion, 2018 World bronze medalist, 2007 Junior World silver medalist, 2005 Junior World bronze medalist

Medal Contenders:

Amer Hrustanovic (Austria) – 2019 German Grand Prix Champion, Two-time Olympian

Tarek Sheble Mohamed (Bulgaria) – 2018 Dan Kolov Champion, 2017 European Champion, 2013 Junior World bronze medalist

Ivan Huklek (Croatia) – 2019 European U23 bronze medalist, 2018 European U23 silver medalist, 2017 U23 World silver medalist

Daniel Gregorich Hechavarria (Cuba) – 2019 Pan-American Games bronze medalist, 2018 U23 World silver medalist, 2018 Pan-American Champion

Gurami Khetsuriani (Georgia) – 2019 International Ukrainian silver medalist, 2019 European U23 Champion

Denis Kudla (Germany) – Two-time European bronze medalist, 2017 World silver medalist, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, 2014 Junior World silver medalist, 2012 Cadet World Champion

Kumar Sunil (India) – 2019 Asian silver medalist

Ramin Taherisartang (Iran) – Three-time Asian Champion, 2013 Junior World bronze medalist

Masato Sumi (Japan) – 2019 Asian fifth-place, 2019 Dan Kolov silver medalist, 2018 Asian silver medalist

Atabek Azisbekov (Kyrgyzstan) – 2018 World fifth-place, Two-time Asian silver medalist, 2012 Cadet World bronze medalist

Nicu Ojog (Romania) – 2018 U23 World silver medalist, 2015 Cadet World bronze medalist

Aleksandr Komarov (Russia) – 2019 European bronze medalist, 2019 Dan Kolov Champion, Two-time Junior World Champion, Two-time Cadet World Champion

Ramon Betschart (Switzerland) – 2018 Junior World silver medalist

Rustam Assakalov (Uzbekistan) – Two-time Asian bronze medalist, 2018 Asian Games silver medalist, Three-time Asian Champion, 2017 World fifth-place, 2016 Olympian

2018 Medalists:

Gold: Metehan Basar (Turkey)

Silver: Zhan Beleniuk (Ukraine)

Bronze: Robert Kobliaashvili (Georgia)

Bronze: Artur Shahinyan (Armenia)

2019 Medal Predictions:

Gold: Zhan Beleniuk (Ukraine)

Silver: Metehan Basar (Turkey)

Bronze: Aleksandr Komarov (Russia)

Bronze: Denis Kudla (Germany)

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