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International Wrestling

Gold Medal Contender: Frank Chamizo, Italy

Frank Chamizo - Italy

Name: Frank Chamizo

Country: Italy

Weight: 65 kg

Age: 24

Against Team USA: Has not met Frank Molinaro, beat Logan Stieber 10-8 at Medved (Chamizo was 2nd, Molinaro DNP), lost to James Green 5-5 at 70 kg in 2015 GP of Spain.

Frank Chamizo won a bronze medal at the 2010 World Championships at 55 kg competing for Cuba. He was just 18 years old at the time. Much has changed for Chamizo since that day in Moscow. Now competing for Italy, Chamizo did not make a return trip to a world level competition until last year in Las Vegas. He made the most of his return, however, winning Italy’s first ever freestyle gold medal.

His path in Vegas was a difficult one as he had to defeat Olympic gold medalist Togrul Asgarov (AZE), world silver medalist Ahmad Mohammadi (IRI) and current world #6 Ikhtiyor Navruzov (UZB) in the final. Navruzov was coming off an upset victory over Soslan Ramonov of Russia in their semi-final. Ramanov was the 2014 world champion and returns as a major threat to Chamizo in Rio. Ramonov defeated Chamizo in an 8-7 thriller at the Alexandre Medved tournament in February. This avenged Ramanov’s loss to Chamizo at the 2015 Waclaw Ziolkowski tournament in Poland. Iran will send Meysam Nasiri instead of Mohammadi. Outside of those two, Chamizo could face Navruzov or Asgarov again, but his biggest threat is easily Ramonov.

Italy has never won an Olympic gold medal in freestyle wrestling. Frank Chamizo is probably their best chance ever to do so. This weight will lack a bit in the top-level talent department largely due to Russia only being allowed to bring one athlete. This leaves third and fourth ranked Israil Kasumov and Magomed Kurbanaliev at home when either would have a real chance to win the weight. Chamizo is still a young man, but he has been through a lot and has proven himself at the highest level. If anyone outside of him and Ramonov take gold it will be a surprise.

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