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International Wrestling

U23 Greco-Roman World Championship Preview

hancock, g'angelo

photo courtesy of Sandy Slater

Monday the final World Championship event of the calendar year will take place when the U23 World Championships kick off from Bucharest, Romania. This time around the Greco-Roman team will get us going with wrestlers from the 55 kg, 63 kg, 77 kg, 87 kg, and 130 kg weights starting their tournament and wrestling up until the semifinals. On Tuesday the medal rounds in these five weights will be conducted. The remaining five weights will start their tournaments on Tuesday, as well.

Here are the members of Team USA for each weight class and notable wrestlers from around the globe, as well as predictions for each Greco weight class.

55 kg

Dalton Duffield – Dalton made his first world team by defeating Jabari Moody in two straight matches 12-4 and by fall. Duffield is a two-time Junior National Champion, winning his titles in 2015 and 2016. He wrestled collegiately at Oklahoma and Central Oklahoma.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Norayr Hakhoyan (Armenia) 2018 Senior World fifth-place, 2018 European U23 bronze medalist

Nugzari Tsurtsumia (Georgia) 2018 Senior World bronze medalist, 2018 European U23 Champion, 2018 European Senior bronze medalist, 2016 Junior World bronze medalist

Reza Kheirollah Khedri (Iran)  2018 Takhti Cup bronze medalist, 2015 Junior World champion

Amangali Bekbolatov (Kazakhstan)  2018 World Military silver medalist, 2015 Junior World bronze medalist

Florin Tita (Romania)  2018 Junior World seventh-place, 2018 European U23 bronze medalist

Vitali Kabaloev (Russia)  2018 Russian Senior Champion

Dogus Ayazci (Turkey)  2018 German Grand Prix silver medalist, 2018 Dan Kolov Champion

Ilkhom Bakhromov (Uzbekistan)  2018 Senior World ninth-place, 2017 Junior World bronze medalist, 2016 Junior World silver medalist, 2014 Youth Olympic Games Champion

TOM Predictions

Gold: Nugzari Tsurtsumia (Georgia)

Silver: Norayr Hakhoyan (Armenia)

Bronze: Vitali Kabaloev (Russia)

Bronze: Ilkhom Bakhromov (Uzbekistan)

60 kg

Randon Miranda – No stranger to the international scene, Randon Miranda is will be making his third appearance on a world team, after wrestling on the Junior world team in each of the last two seasons. In 2018, he has won the Bill Farrell Memorial and took the silver medal the Thor Masters in Denmark. To secure a place on this team, Randon was down one match in his best-of-three final with Dalton Roberts and battled back winning the final two matches 4-2 and 6-3 to clinch his spot.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Murad Mammadov (Azerbaijan) 2018 European U23 bronze medalist, 2018 World Military silver medalist, 2018 European Senior silver medalist, 2015 Junior World Champion

Helary Maegisalu (Estonia)  2018 European Senior silver medalist

Dato Chkhartishvili (Georgia)  2018 European Senior and U23 bronze medalist, 2016 Junior World Champion

Erik Torba (Hungary)  2018 Senior World 18th place, 2018 German Grand Prix Champion, 2018 Hungarian Grand Prix bronze medalist, 2018 World Military bronze medalist, 2015 Junior World bronze medalist

Kenichiro Fumita (Japan)  2018 Dan Kolov Champion, 2017 Senior World Champion, 2017 Asian Champion

Razvan Arnaut (Romania)  2018 Junior World fifth-place

Kerem Kamal (Turkey)  2018 Junior World Champion, 2018 European U23 Champion, 2017 Junior World Champion, Two-time Cadet World silver medalist

Islomjon Bakhramov (Uzbekistan)  2018 Asian Senior bronze medalist, 2015 Junior World bronze medalist

TOM Predictions:

Gold: Kenichiro Fumita (Japan)

Silver: Kerem Kamal (Turkey)

Bronze: Murad Mammadov (Azerbaijan)

Bronze: Dato Chkhartishvili (Georgia)

63 kg

Travis Rice – Northern Michigan’s Travis Rice will be making his second trip to the world championships, Back in 2015, Travis was the 60 kg representative at the Junior World Championships. Rice’s spot on the team was earned with a 6-6 and 18-7 wins over the Marine Corps Xavier Johnson at the U23 World Team Trials.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Slavik Galstyan (Armenia)  2018 Senior World eighth-place, 2018 European U23 bronze medalist, 2014 Junior World bronze medalist

Namaz Rustamov (Azerbaijan)  2017 Junior World bronze medalist

Hassan Mohamed (Egypt)  2018 Senior World fifth-place, 2018 Junior World silver medalist, 2017 Junior World bronze medalist

Meysam Dalkhani (Iran)  2017 World U23 eighth-place, 2016 Junior World bronze medalist

Alexandru Biciu (Moldova)  2018 European U23 silver medalist, 2017 European U23 fifth-place

Mihai Mihut (Romania)  2018 Senior World 16th place, 2018 European Senior and U23 Champion, 2015 Junior World bronze medalist

Magomed Magomedov (Russia)  2017 Junior World bronze medalist

Oleksandr Hrushyn (Ukraine)  2018 Junior World 18th place, 2018 European Junior Champion, 2017 Junior World silver medalist, 2015 Cadet World Champion

Turabek Tirkashev (Uzbekistan)  2018 Asian Junior bronze medalist, 2017 Junior World bronze medalist, 2015 Cadet World Champion

TOM Prediction:

Gold: Hassan Mohamed (Egypt)

Silver: Mihai Mihut (Romania)

Bronze: Slavik Galstyan (Armenia)

Bronze: Oleksandr Hrushyn (Ukraine)

67 kg

Nolan Baker – Nolan was a bit of long shot to win this spot, but he knocked off the top entrants in the U23 World Team Trials, along the way. In the challenge tournament, he pinned Britton Holmes in less than a minute and a half and then proceeded to knock off Dom Demas two matches to won in their series. Demas has previously made a Junior world team and two Cadet world teams. Baker is entering his second year at Northern Illinois University.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Karen Aslanyan (Armenia)  2018 European Senior bronze medalist, 2017 World Military Champion, 2017 Senior World fifth-place, 2014 Junior World silver medalist

Karim Jafarov (Azerbaijan)  2018 European U23 fifth-place, 2012 Cadet World Champion

Azamat Takhoyeu (Belarus)  2013 Cadet World Champion, 2012 Cadet World silver medalist

Mohamed Elsayed (Egypt)  2018 Junior World fifth-place, 2016 Junior World bronze medalist

Joni Khetsuriani (Georgia)  2018 Junior World ninth-place, 2018 European Junior silver medalist, 2015 Cadet World silver medalist, 2014 Cadet World Champion

Ravinder Ravinder (India)  2018 Cadet World bronze medalist, 2018 Asian Cadet Champion

Meiirzhan Shermakhanbet (Kazakhstan)  2018 Senior World bronze medalist, 2018 Hungary Grand Prix Champion

Morten Thoresen (Norway) 2018 European U23 bronze medalist

Roman Pacurkowski (Poland)  2018 European U23 bronze medalist, 2017 U23 World fifth-place

Alen Mirzoyan (Russia)  2018 European U23 Champion, 2017 U23 World silver medalist

Murat Firat (Turkey)  2017 U23 World seventh-place, 2017 Junior World fifth-place

Mirzobek Rakhmatov (Uzbekistan)  2018 Asian Senior bronze medalist, 2012 Cadet World bronze medalist

TOM Predictions:

Gold: Alen Mirzoyan (Russia)

Silver: Meiirzhan Shermakhanbet (Kazakhstan)

Bronze: Roman Pacurkowski (Poland)

Bronze: Morten Thoresen (Norway)

72 kg

Logan Kass – Like Baker before him, Logan Kass needed to go through a past world team member to claim his spot on the 2018 U23 world team. Kass went unscored upon en route to the best-of-three finals where he met the Air Force Academy’s Alex Mossing, last year’s U23 rep. While leading Mossing had to default the first match and then was unable to wrestle in the second which gave the spot to Kass. Logan is one of six current members of the Northern Michigan program on this team.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Armen Hakobyan (Armenia)  2018 World Military bronze medalist, 2017 World Military silver medalist, 2017 U23 World ninth-place

Sanan Suleymanov (Azerbaijan)  2017 European U23 seventh-place, 2016 European Junior bronze medalist

Aik Mnatsakanian (Bulgaria)  2018 Senior World bronze medalist

Toni Ojala (Finland)  2018 German Grand Prix Champion, 2018 European U23 fifth-place

Ramaz Zoidze (Georgia)  2018 European U23 Champion, 2017 U23 World seventh-place, Two-time Junior World Champion

Ali Reizollah Arsalan (Iran)  2018 Hungary Grand Prix bronze medalist, 2017 Asian Senior bronze medalist

Kaharman Kissymetov (Kazakhstan)  2016 Junior World silver medalist, 2016 Asian Junior Champion

Narek Oganian (Russia)  2018 European U23 bronze medalist, 2017 European Junior Champion

Cengiz Arslan (Turkey)  2018 European U23 silver medalist, 2015 European Junior Champion

Artur Politaev (Ukraine)  2017 European U23 bronze medalist, 2013 Cadet World silver medalist, 2012 Cadet World Champion

TOM Predictions:

Gold: Aik Anatsakanian (Bulgaria)

Silver: Ramaz Zoidze (Georgia)

Bronze: Toni Ojala (Finland)

Bronze: Narek Oganian (Russia)

77 kg

Jesse Porter – The first of two wrestlers that were on last years U23 world team, Jesse Porter is seeking his first world medal. He was 16th at the tournament in 2017. This year at the Senior World Team Trials, Jesse came in third place. Porter maintained his spot on the 2018 team by fending off Ohio State’s Fritz Schirel 6-6 and 10-0 in their series.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Zahari Zashev (Bulgaria)  2018 European Junior silver medalist

Antonio Kamenjasevic (Croatia)  2018 European U23 fifth-place, 2017 European U23 silver medalist

Rajbek Bisultanov (Denmark)  2018 European U23 Champion

Zoltan Levai (Hungary)  2018 German Grand Prix Champion, 2018 Hungary Grand Prix silver medalist, 2017 U23 World Champion seventh-place, 2017 European U23 Champion, Three-time Junior world bronze medalist

Sajan Sajan (India)  2018 Junior World silver medalist, 2018 Asian Champion, 2017 Junior World bronze medalist

Riccardo Abbrescia (Italy)  2017 U23 World fifth-place, 2017 European U23 bronze medalist

Tamerlan Shadukayev (Kazakhstan)  2018 Senior World 21st place, 2016 Junior World Champion

Daniel Cataraga (Moldova)  2017 U23 World Champion, 2017 Senior World fifth-place, 2016 Senior World silver medalist

Krzysztof Niklas (Poland)  2017 Junior World 20th place, 2014 Cadet World Champion

George Mariea (Romania)  2018 Ion Corneanu & Ladislau Simon Champion, 2016 Junior World silver medalist

Ismail Saidkhasanov (Russia)  2018 European U23 silver medalist

Fatih Cengiz (Turkey)  2018 World University Champion, 2018 European U23 bronze medalist, 2017 U23 World Champion, 2017 Senior World bronze medalist

Elmar Nuraliev (Ukraine)  2018 European U23 bronze medalist, 2017 World Military silver medalist, 2017 European Junior silver medalist

TOM Predictions

Gold: Fatih Cengiz (Turkey)

Silver: Daniel Cataraga (Moldova)

Bronze: Rajbek Bisultanov (Denmark)

Bronze: Ismail Saidkhasanov (Russia)

82 kg

Carter Nielsen – Carter earned his spot on the team after winning a pair of matches against Cornell’s Andrew Berreyesa. At the time, we didn’t grasp how much those wins meant, but Berreyesa went on the make the Junior world finals. Before his series with Andrew, Nielsen walked through the competition earning a pair of first period techs.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Eltun Vazirzade (Azerbaijan)  2018 European U23 bronze medalist, 2017 World Military silver medalist, 2017 European U23 bronze medalist

Rosian Dermanski (Bulgaria)  2018 World University bronze medalist, 2017 U23 World bronze medalist

Gela Bolkvadze (Georgia)  2018 European U23 eighth-place, 2017 U23 World silver medalist, 2015 Junior World Champion

Nicu Ojog (Romania)  2018 European Junior silver-medalist, 2018 European U23 seventh-place, 2017 Junior World fifth-place

Vaag Margaryan (Russia)  2018 European U23 Champion

Burhan Akbudak (Turkey)  2018 World University Champion, 2018 European U23 bronze medalist, 2017 U23 World Champion, 2015 Junior World silver medalist

Yaroslav Filchakov (Ukraine)  2018 European U23 silver medalist

TOM Predictions

Gold: Burhan Akbduak (Turkey)

Silver: Vaag Margaryan (Russia)

Bronze: Yaroslav Filchakov (Ukraine)

Bronze: Gela Bolkvadze (Georgia)

87 kg

George Sikes – George is the sixth and final current member of the Northern Michigan program on this team. Sikes was a bit of an underdog to make this team and had to fight from the third seed through the challenge tournament before taking a pair of low-scoring, hard fought matches from Jimmy Stillerman in the finals.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Islam Abbasov (Azerbaijan)  2018 Senior World fifth-place, 2018 European U23 Champion, 2018 World Military bronze medalist, 2017 U23 World bronze medalist, 2017 Senior World fifth-place, 2015 Junior World silver medalist, 2014 Junior World Champion, Two-time Cadet World Champion

Mikita Klimovich (Belarus)  2018 European Senior fifth-place, 2017 Junior World bronze medalist, 2017 European Junior silver medalist

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

Toni Metsomaeki (Finland)  2017 U23 World bronze medalist, 2017 Junior World fifth-place

Madhi Fallahhamidabadi (Iran)  2018 Hungary Grand Prix silver medalist, 2017 World Military bronze medalist

Martynas Nemsevicius (Lithuania)  2018 European U23 bronze medalist

Gazi Khalilov (Russia)  2018 European U23 bronze medalist

Ali Cengiz (Turkey)  2018 World University Champion, 2016 Junior World silver medalist, 2015 Junior World Champion

TOM Predictions

Gold: Islam Abbasov (Azerbaijan)

Silver: Mikita Klimovich (Belarus)

Bronze: Toni Metsomaeki (Finland)

Bronze: Ali Cengiz (Turkey)

97 kg

G’angelo Hancock – After Jesse Porter, G’angelo Hancock is the only other returner to this team. In 2017-18 Hancock will have combined to wrestle in two U23 World Championships, two Senior World Championships, and one Junior World Championship. G’angelo is a 2016 Junior world bronze medalist. He made world headlines earlier this year when he pinned four-time World/Olympic champion Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia)

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Orkhan Nuriyev (Azerbaijan)  2017 European U23 Champion, 2014 Junior World Champion, 2013 Junior World bronze medalist

Kiril Milov (Bulgaria)  2018 Senior World silver medalist, 2016 Junior World fifth-place

Abdurexiti Alimujiang (China)  2017 U23 World bronze medalist

Matti Kuosmanen (Finland)  2018 World Military Champion, 2018 European Senior bronze medalist, 2017 U23 World silver medalist, 2017 World Military bronze medalist, 2011 Cadet World Champion

Georgi Melia (Georgia)  2018 European U23 seventh-place, 2016 Junior World Champion

Jan Zirn (Germany)  2017 Junior World bronze medalist

Zsolt Toeroek (Hungary)  2018 German Grand Prix silver medalist, 2018 European U23 fifth-place, 2015 Junior World fifth-place, 2014 Junior World bronze medalist

Nikoloz Kakhelashvili (Italy)  2015 Junior World Champion, 2015 European Junior bronze medalist

Gerard Kurniczak (Poland)  2016 Cadet World Champion, 2016 European Cadet silver medalist

Aleksandr Golovin (Russia)  2018 European U23 Champion, 2017 U23 World Champion, 2017 European U23 fifth-place

Suleyman Erbay (Turkey)  2018 European U23 bronze medalist, 2017 Junior World fifth-place, 2017 European Junior silver medalist

Vladen Kozliuk (Ukraine)  2018 European U23 silver medalist, 2017 Junior World Champion, 2014 Cadet World Champion

Temur Mamajanov (Uzbekistan)  Two-time Asian Junior Champion

TOM Predictions

Gold: Aleksandr Golovin (Russia)

Silver: Vladen Kozliuk (Ukraine)

Bronze: G’angelo Hancock (USA)

Bronze: Matti Kuosmanen (Finland)

130 kg

Cohlton Schultz – One of the brightest young stars on the Greco circuit for team USA is 2017 Cadet World Champion Cohlton Schultz. Cohlton is looking to win his second world medal this year, after taking bronze at the Junior World Championships. Schultz made the U23 team after getting by Tate Orndorff of Utah Valley, who went on to lose to Adam Coon in the finals of the Senior World Team Trials Challenge tournament.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Edgar Khachatryan (Armenia)  2017 World Military silver medalist, 2016 Junior World bronze medalist

Zviadi Pataridze (Georgia)  2018 European U23 Champion, 2017 U23 World silver medalist, Three-time Junior World Champion, Two-time Cadet World Champion

Jello Krahmer (Germany)  2017 U23 World bronze medalist

Oscar Marvik (Norway)  2018 European U23 bronze medalist

Nokhcho Labazanov (Russia)  2018 European U23 fifth-place

Azmuddin Vakhobov (Tajikistan)  2018 Asian Junior bronze medalist

Osman Yildirim (Turkey)  2018 World University Champion, 2018 European U23 silver medalist, 2016 Junior World silver medalist, Two-time Junior world bronze medalist

TOM Predictions

Gold: Zviadi Pataridze (Georgia)

Silver: Osman Yildrim (Turkey)

Bronze: Cohlton Schultz (USA)

Bronze: Edgar Khachatryan (Armenia)

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