photo courtesy of Richard Immel
Today marks the eighth anniversary of USA Wrestling legend Jordan Burroughs winning a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. To celebrate, we’ll look back at some of the notable matches from Jordan’s storied international career. Just over two years ago, we collaborated with Jordan to put together a list of his top 20 matches. Of course, Jordan’s career is far from over, and he has only added to his legend in those two-plus years. So here are five more matches that are must-see from Burroughs from mid-2018 on. Make sure to check out our previous list, as well as these more recent matches, as you appreciate one of the all-time greats on an important date for him.
The following matches are listed in order with the most recent matches last.
2018 World Championships vs. Mostafa Hosseinkhani (Iran) – Round of 16
The latest in a long line of tough Iranian opponents that have threatened to unseat Burroughs, Mostafa Hosseinkhani gave Jordan a test early in the 2018 World Championships. Hosseinkhani was a World bronze medalist in 2016 at the non-Olympic weight of 70 kgs and a two-time Asian Champion. He struck first after a shot clock violation, but found himself trailing at the break as Burroughs converted a takedown with only a few ticks on the clock in the first period. With about a minute and a half left in the match, Hosseinkhani earned a takedown and looked poised to add to his score with a leg lace. Burroughs deftly avoided any exposure points and kept the bout at three points, apiece, though he was trailing via criteria. Jordan narrowly missed surrendering a step-out point, only to pick up one himself with :17 seconds remaining in the bout. That would prove to be the difference in a 4-3 win for Burroughs.
2018 World Championships vs. Frank Chamizo (Italy) – Bronze Medal Match
Another chapter in the Burroughs/Chamizo rivalry. Their 2018 match during the Beat the Streets New York event was included in our 2018 listing of his top matches. The two tangled again earlier in 2018 at the Yasar Dogu and Chamizo was the victor, though there may have been some questionable scoring involved. This time the stakes were much higher. Both came into the 2018 World Championships looking to go back-to-back as world champions (Chamizo’s 2017 title came at 70 kg), but each fell to the eventual champion Zaurbek Sidakov (Russia). Now one of them was facing the possibility of a medal-less trip to Hungary. After a first period without much action, there were a few fun flurries in the second. Trailing by a point with under 30 seconds left in the match, Burroughs was close to a takedown as the pair went out of bounds but was awarded a step-out point. That gave him the lead 4-4 on criteria and he was able to fend off Chamizo for the remainder of the bout. The win clinched a seventh World/Olympic medal for Burroughs.
2019 Pan-American Championships vs. Franklin Gomez (Puerto Rico) – Quarterfinals
There aren’t many opponents that have stood the test of time on the international scene like Jordan. One of those is Franklin Gomez, who represents Puerto Rico. Gomez was a 2009 NCAA champion for Michigan State that finished his collegiate career a year before Burroughs. In 2011, the same year that Jordan captured his first world title, Gomez made the finals down at 60 kgs. Franklin has continued to move up in weight and now competes at 74 kgs. In this meeting, Burroughs got on the board first with a point via shot-clock violation and a push-out before the end of the first period. Late in the second, Gomez gets in on a single leg and has it elevated for almost 30 seconds. He finally gets two points to take the lead on criteria at the edge of the mat, leaving 10 seconds remaining on the clock. After his trademark sock-adjustment, Jordan makes some magic happen with a furious comeback.
2019 Final X vs. Isaiah Martinez (Match One)
In the first edition of Final X, in 2018, Jordan Burroughs met Isaiah Martinez with a world team berth at 74 kg hanging in the balance. Burroughs went relatively untested and swept the best-of-three series 4-1 and 11-1. The two were pitted against each other a year later in what would be a much more competitive series of matches. Burroughs came out on top in match one, but it wasn’t without a struggle from Martinez. The lead changed hands three times in the final seconds, including a push-out point that was initially awarded to Jordan, but was reversed in Martinez’s favor after a review. That led to a frantic finish from Burroughs, who was able to corral Isaiah for the winning takedown with about eight seconds left on the clock.
Martinez was able to turn the tables and force a decisive third bout after winning match number two. The deciding match was a bit anticlimactic as Burroughs won 7-1. Even so, with a tight first bout and a win in the second, IMar solidified himself as a threat to Jordan and Kyle Dake at the Olympic Trials.
2019 World Championships vs. Azamat Nurykau (Belarus) – Round of 32
Veteran Azamat Nurykau does not have any Senior World medals to his name but has wrestled for the bronze at three different world championship events, so he’s certainly a tough first match for anyone. For me, Nurykau is best remembered as the opponent that Frank Molinaro defeated in 2016 for the bronze medal at the final Last Chance Qualifying event for the Olympic Games. Some may call the Belarussian’s techniques in that match and overall as dirty. Again, not the guy you want to deal with in the first match of a grueling tournament. Just over a minute into the match, Burroughs found himself in a 6-2 hole after getting exposed by Nurykau on a double leg attack, then giving up four on a head pinch. Immediately, Jordan began chipping away at the lead and went into the break up 7-6. The American found himself in trouble again after Nurykau side-stepped a takedown attempt for one of his own and followed with a gut wrench to claim a 10-7 lead. Jordan kept pushing the winded Nurykau and was eventually awarded a caution and one (the third signaled by the official, but first confirmed) to tie the bout at ten. However, he was still down on criteria. The end of the match saw a sequence that initially gave Burroughs two points for exposure to win 12-10. That was overturned; however, he did get the point for a step-out to win 11-10.