Kyle Dake photo courtesy of Martin Gabor/J’Den Cox photo courtesy of Robbert Witjman
A day after David Taylor claimed the first title by an American at the 2018 World Championships, Kyle Dake and J’Den Cox followed suit, each capturing one of their own. It was Dake’s turn first at 79 kg against Jabrayil Hasanov (Azerbaijan) an opponent that he faced and pinned earlier this year in the finals of the Yasar Dogu. This time there was much less action than fans have been accustomed to when watching the current version of Dake. He was also facing an opponent that rarely takes risks offensively and was looking to keep the match close. The referee recognized this in the opening period and put Hasanov on the shot clock. The Azeri wrestler could not score in the ensuing 30 seconds which accounted for Dake’s first point. The second was registered on a push out as Kyle was attempting to finish a single leg near the edge of the mat. 2-0 was the final score for the American and Dake would go on to celebrate his first world title in his first time competing at the event. Looking back through his tournament, Kyle won four matches and did not surrender a single point (37-0) to any of his opponents.
Cox joined the group of world champions as he defeated Ivan Yankouski (Belarus) by the score of 4-1. As is the case with many of J’Den’s matches, the score itself was closer than the match itself. Like Dake, J’Den was dealing with an opponent that was looking to neutralize him rather than scoring himself. After the official gave Yankouski his only point of the bout with a caution and one, Cox was finally able to get in on a deep shot and secured a takedown with only three seconds remaining in the match. The world championship by Cox at 92 kg gave the US champions at three back-to-back weight classes (79 kg, 86 kg, 92 kg) and both of the weights that were introduced in 2018 (79/92).
Earlier in the day Kyle Snyder did what we have come to expect from him and made his fourth consecutive world/Olympic final. The stage has been set for the most anticipated match of the tournament, a rematch of the 2017 world finals between Snyder and Abdulrashid Sadulaev. Snyder took their first meeting in dramatic fashion, earning his third world/Olympic title in as many tries. In doing so, he gave Sadulaev his first loss on the Senior level. Since that time, Sadulaev had competed for a portion of the year at 92 kg; however, he has stated that he wants the rematch with Snyder. Last years match has team race implications that this match will not have. In 2017, the match was the final of the tournament, and the winner also brought a team title to his respective country. Earlier in the medal round today the Russian’s mathematically locked up the team title. Though it is disappointing for the Americans not to repeat, the team should not hold their heads down, they turned in a remarkable effort. Regardless of the Snyder result, seven of the ten team members will come home with a world medal, including three (and possibly four) individual champions.
Thomas Gilman was in action today as well, attempting to win a second medal in two years. He, however, was unsuccessful in that attempt. Suleyman Atli (Turkey) was able to neutralize Gilman 5-4 in their bronze medal match. Gilman was down by four points in the second period and furiously attempted to battle back. He was unable to get to and finish his trademark single leg, which was a reoccurring theme throughout the tournament.
James Green was eliminated from title contention in the second round after losing to Byambador Bat Erdene (Mongolia) 4-2. Bat Erdene then lost his next match which dashed any hopes Green had at the repechage.
The women’s freestyle team got a little taste of the action today, as well, with two of their team members starting their quests for gold.
At 55 kg, Jacarra Winchester made short work of the home favorite Ramona Galambos (Hungary) 12-1, which set up a match in the semifinals with world bronze medalist Tetyana Kit (Ukraine). Winchester was close to scoring multiple takedowns, which could have blown the bout wide open. She would settle for a 4-2 victory though, and a berth in the semi’s against Zalina Sidakova (Belarus). Jacarra was awarded a takedown in the closing seconds of their bout which was going to give her a 3-2 win, however, the sequence was reviewed, and it was determined that it was no takedown, which allowed Sidakova to advance to the finals. Winchester will wrestle the winner of the Cuban and Vietnamese representative tomorrow for the bronze medal.
In the Round of 16 at 59 kg, Jenna Burkert lost a 1-1 decision to Shoovdor Baatarjav (Mongolia). Both points were the result of shot clock violations, which the Mongolian’s point coming in the second period, giving her criteria. Once Baatarjav fell in the semi’s, Burkert was officially eliminated.