Godinez, Tosun to wrestle for gold at Budapest Ranking Series

By Vinay Siwach

BUDAPEST, Hungary (June 8) -- Greco-Roman and Women's Wrestling will be in action on day three of the Ranking Series with some Olympic seeds to be determined. Iran is holding an Olympic selection as well.


13:45: Ana GODINEZ (CAN) will take a lot of confidence from this come-from-behind victory over European champion Grace BULLEN (NOR). Not only did she break Bullen, Godinez managed to complete her attacks and score with most of them. Godinez into the 62kg final with an 11-7 win

13:35: Iryna KOLIADENKO (UKR) enters the final at 62kg with a solid win over Orkhon PUREVDORJ (MGL). Koliadenko was defending her lead when Purevdorj used her nails to over a lock and was penalized for the foul and asked to return in par terre with 10 seconds on the clock and a lead of 6-5. She managed to hold it and win

13:20: If Delgermaa ENKHSAIKHAN (MGL) thought she would be able to avenge her world championships final loss to Buse TOSUN (TUR) as the two met now in Budapest, she was in for a surprise. Tosun, once again, pins her to get the win. 

13:10: Orkhon PUREVDORJ (MGL) keeps Kayla MIRACLE's (USA) comeback short and wins the 62kg quarterfinal 14-8. She will face Iryna KOLIADENKO (UKR) in the semifinals.

13:00: Justina DI STASIO (CAN) gets her first victory at 76kg round robin. She catches Tatiana RENTERIA (CAN) and keeps her in danger position till the end of the time to win 5-1.

12:45: Tatiana RENTERIA (COL) with a clutch takedown to beat REETIKA (IND). The Indian wrestler led 2-1 and was happy with that lead but Renteria kept coming with those attacks and managed to break Reetika.

12:40: Mehdi MOHSEN NEJAD (IRI) is looking unstoppable. He posts his second 8-0 at 60kg, this time humbling Dahyun KIM (KOR) after a win over Jamal VALIZADEH (UWW) in the first bout. 

12:30: Marquee match up at 62kg with Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) and Grace BULLEN (NOR) in the quarterfinal. Dudova draws first blood to lead 2-0 but Bullen comes back with a double leg and leads 2-2 on criteria. Bullen is unstoppable after this and concludes a 8-2 win.

11:50: Riza KAYAALP (TUR) faces Fardin HEDAYATI (IRI) at 130kg and the Iranian comes out all guns blazing. Hedayati scores from par terre and jumps to a 4-0 lead over Kayaalp at the break. He continues his high paced wrestling in the second period and wins 4-0

11:20: Orkhon PUREVDORJ (MGL) with a clutch throw to pin Anna SHCHERBAKOVA (AIN) after trailing 12-4. On the other mat, Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) holds on to a 2-1 victory over Luisa NIEMESCH (GER) in the opening round of 62kg. 

11:05: Riza KAYAALP (TUR) got both par terre positions in his match against Beka KANDELAKI (AZE) and he added a stepout to win 3-0 at 130kg. Kayaalp was blocked when he was trying to turn in the first par terre and Kandelaki was awarded two points. But Kayaalp challenged and won

10:40: Two entertaining 76kg bouts to kick off the day. Tatiana RENTERIA (COL) hangs on for a 4-2 win over Genesis REASCO (ECU) while REETIKA (IND) dominates Justina DI STASIO (CAN) 8-0.

10:30: Welcome to day three of the Ranking Series with eight weight classes in action. Women's Wrestling will conclude with the five weights and three Greco-Roman weights will be in action as well


Orta, Kusaka win Ranking Series gold; Esmaeili books Paris 2024 spot

By Vinay Siwach

BUDAPEST, Hungary (June 9) -- The 67kg weight class in Budapest was supposed to offer some interesting match-ups. Kyotaro SOGABE (JPN) could have avenged his World Championships loss to Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI). Saeid ESMAEILI (IRI) could have qualified for the Paris Olympics if he had defeated Geraei in Budapest. Leri ABULADZE (GEO) could have become a contender in Georgia for the weight class.

But none of that happened as Orta dominated, outsmarted and controlled his way to the gold medal at 67kg in the Ranking Series, making him one of the favorites for the gold medal in Paris. The Paris Games will also present Orta a rare opportunity to win two Olympic gold medals in two different weight classes as he won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 60kg.

Orta began his day with an 8-0 win over David MANYIK (HUN) before using a four-pointer to beat Kyotaro SOGABE (JPN) 7-1 to set up a semifinal against Esmaeili. No one would have expected the Asian champion Esmaeili to challenge the world champion but the Iranian had different ideas.

Esmaeili raced to a 7-0 lead in the first period and was one point away from winning the bout. However, Orta managed to keep himself in the bout and began the second period with a front headlock for four and got one more for a lost challenge from Iran. Still, Esmaeili did well to defend the lead until the last three seconds.

As the bout entered the final 10 seconds left, Orta almost gave up and Esmaeili, thinking that Orta had accepted defeat, turned his back and began walking towards the Iranian corner to celebrate. Just the whole stadium gasped as Orta, realizing there was still time left, ran towards Esmaeili and threw him for four.

Midway through the throw, an air-borne Esmaeili knew he messed up. He pleaded that the time was over. Referees initially did not award points to Orta but Cuba challenged and it was clear that the move was completed with 0.1 seconds left. Orta was awarded four points, helping him win 9-7.

An inconsolable Esmaeili had to be helped to the warm-up area. For he thought his Paris 2024 dream was over. 

Orta, fueled by that unthinkable win and his Cuban teammates including Mijain LOPEZ (CUB) in the stands, went on to beat Abuladze in the final to claim the gold medal. He, however, will remain second in the seeding for the Olympics as Hasrat JAFAROV (AZE) has already locked up the top seed.

Jafarov was wrestling in Budapest but was up at 72kg. He may have changed his weight class but had no trouble winning the gold medal at the higher weight as well.

Back to Esmaeili who had his task cut out in the evening session. He needed to beat Geraei in two bouts to earn the Paris 2024 spot on the Iran team. He gathered himself from that loss to Orta and scored a final second takedown against Kyotaro SOGABE (JPN) to clinch a 6-5 win while Geraei defeated Andres MONTANO (ECU) 3-3 to claim the other bronze.

The two stepped on the mat for the wrestle-off for the Olympic spot with Geraei holding an advantage that if he won the first match, he would book his spot for Paris but Esmaeili had to do it in a best-of-three format. But Esmaeili did not let it go to that third as he defeated Geraei in two straight bouts in a tennis-like scoreline, 6-0 and 6-4, to earn a spot on the Iran team for the Paris Olympics and maybe a rematch with Orta in the French capital which on Sunday witness Carlos ALCARAZ win his first French Open.

David LOSONCZI (HUN)David LOSONCZI (HUN) celebrates after securing a fall over Ali CENGIZ (TUR). (Photo: United World Wrestling / Kadir Caliskan)

There was more drama in Budapest as David LOSONCZI (HUN) made sure he pinned Ali CENGIZ (TUR) when the two met in the 87kg semifinal. The two were awarded a shared World Championships title in September after Cengiz defeated Losonczi but the Hungarian wrestler won an appeal for judges' errors and was also awarded the gold medal.

Losonczi admitted that he was waiting for the rematch and though relieved to get the gold medal in Belgrade, he did not really celebrate it. So when he faced Cengiz this time, Losonczi stepped over when the Turkish wrestler was trying to finish a headlock throw. The local fans in Budapest were ecstatic and so was Losonczi who missed his final against Semen NOVIKOV (BUL) due to an injury, a deep cut on his chin.

Nao KUSAKA (JPN)Nao KUSAKA (JPN) defeated Sanan SULEYMANOV (AZE) in the 77kg semifinal in Budapest. (Photo: United World Wrestling / Kostadin Andonov)

Nao KUSAKA (JPN) has now beaten World Championships gold and silver medalists at 77kg in the past two months. After his win over world champion Akzhol MAKHMUDOV (KGZ) at the Asian Championships in April, Kusaka handed World Championships silver medalist Sanan SULEYMANOV (AZE) a 2-1 defeat in the semifinal. Suleymanov was leading 1-1 on criteria but Kusaka managed to score a stepout just in time to claim the win.

In the final, Aik MNATSAKANIAN (BUL) defaulted due to injury and Kusaka won the gold medal that will take him past Suleymanov as the top-ranked wrestler in the world. Suleymanov would have remained the top-ranked wrestler if he had won a bronze medal but pulled out due to injury. Kusaka will now have 67200 points while Suleymanov will have 67100 points.

At 97kg, World Championships bronze medalist Mohammadhadi SARAVI (IRI) had no issues beating whoever tried to challenge him. In the final Alex SZOKE (HUN) led 1-1 on criteria but Saravi scored a takedown.



GOLD: Luis ORTA (CUB) df. Leri ABULADZE (GEO), 4-0

BRONZE: Saeid ESMAEILI (IRI) df. Kyotaro SOGABE (JPN), 6-5
BRONZE: Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI) df. Andres MONTANO (ECU), 3-3

GOLD: Hasrat JAFAROV (AZE) df. Moustafa ALAMELDIN (EGY), 5-2

BRONZE: Danial SOHRABI (IRI) df. Shmagi BOLKVADZE (GEO), 7-3
BRONZE: Krisztian VANCZA (HUN) df. Gagik SNJOYAN (FRA), 2-1

GOLD: Nao KUSAKA (JPN) df. Aik MNATSAKANIAN (BUL), via inj. def.

BRONZE: Yosvanys PENA FLORESS (CUB) df. Burhan AKBUDAK (TUR), via inj. def.
BRONZE: Mohammad Reza MOKHTARI (IRI) df. Sanan SULEYMANOV (AZE), via inj. def.


BRONZE: Karlo KODRIC (CRO) df. Spencer WOODS (USA), via fall
BRONZE: Mihail BRADU (MDA) df. Peter DOEMOEK (HUN), 3-0

GOLD: Semen NOVIKOV (BUL) df. David LOSONCZI (HUN), via inj. def.

BRONZE: Mohammadhossein MAHMOODI (IRI) df. Ali CENGIZ (TUR), 10-4
BRONZE: Bachir SID AZARA (ALG) df. Istvan TAKACS (HUN), via forfeit

GOLD: Mohammadhadi SARAVI (IRI) df. Alex SZOKE (HUN), 3-1

BRONZE: Giorgi MELIA (GEO) df. Josef RAU (USA), 11-4
BRONZE: Shayan HABIBZARE (IRI) df. Kevin MEJIA CASTILLO (HON), via inj. def.