Tosun triumphant, Godinez clinches gold at Budapest Ranking Series

By Vinay Siwach

BUDAPEST, Hungary (June 8) -- World champion Buse TOSUN (TUR) sent a stern warning to her competitors two months before the Paris Games by winning the 68kg gold medal at the Ranking Series in Budapest, Hungary.

In her three bouts, Tosun blanked Firuza ESENBAEVA (UZB) 10-0, pinned Delgermaa ENKHSAIKHAN (MGL) in the rematch of the World Championships final and held on to her 2-0 lead to beat Soleymi CARABALLO (VEN) in the final.

Tosun won the World Championships in Belgrade last year to become only the second female wrestler to win the gold at the marquee event. She will now enter the Paris Olympics as the top-seeded wrestler at 68kg.

PodiumAna GODINEZ (CAN), center, with the other medalists at 62kg in Budapest. (Photo: United World Wrestling / Kostadin Andonov)

At 62kg, Ana GODINEZ (CAN) came on top of a packed bracket, winning the gold medal after world bronze medalist Iryna KOLIADENKO (UKR) pulled out of the final due to injury.

But before the walkover in the final, Godinez was solid on the mat beating Lais NUNES (BRA) 6-2 before humbling European champion Grace BULLEN (NOR) 11-7 in the semifinal. Bullen was leading the semifinal before Godinez continued her relentless attacks and broke Bullen down. Trailing on 7-7 criteria, Godinez scored two takedowns to win the bout.

"Even though I didn't wrestle my final, it feels good. I did want to wrestle Iryna [Koliadenko]. It's a little disappointing," Godinez said. "I am satisfied with the two matches I had. I did want to wrestle at least three, maybe four.  We came here to see what's good, what's bad, what's new."

Godinez expressed her satisfaction with her performance in Budapest but said that she could perform better on any other given day.

"I come with the same mindset every time. I want to win obviously, but it's every position," she said. "I did not feel my greatest today but it's nice to know that I can perform when I don't feel great. I have to be able to perform even when I don't feel great and that can happen any day, even at the Olympics."

World Championships bronze medalist Tatiana RENTERIA (COL) clinched the gold medal at 76kg with three wins in four matches. World U23 champion REETIKA (IND) also had three wins from four bouts but Renteria clinched the gold as she defeated Reetika in their direct clash in the group.

Reetika and Renteria clashed in the second round and it was the Indian who had a 2-1 lead going into the last minute of the match. Both wrestlers were struggling with their breath but the Colombian continued her attacks and eventually got a takedown over Reetika to win 3-2.

She suffered a loss to Justina DI STASIO (CAN) while beating Genesis REASCO (ECU) and Zainab SGHAIER (TUN) in the other group stage bouts. Reetika defeated Di Stasio, Reasco and Sghaier for her three wins.




BRONZE: Amanda MARTINEZ (USA) df. Mariana DRAGUTAN (MDA), 11-2

GOLD: Ana GODINEZ (CAN) df. Iryna KOLIADENKO (UKR), via inj. def.

BRONZE: Grace BULLEN (NOR) df. Lais NUNES (BRA), via fall

GOLD: Iryna BONDAR (UKR) df. Nesrin BAS (TUR), 10-4

BRONZE: Miki ROWBOTTOM (CAN) df. Eniko ELEKES (HUN), via inj. def.

GOLD: Buse TOSUN (TUR) df. Soleymi CARABALLO (VEN), 2-0

BRONZE: Delgermaa ENKHSAIKHAN (MGL) df. Firuza ESENBAEVA (UZB), 13-4
BRONZE: Wiktoria CHOLUJ (POL) df. Kseniia BURAKOVA (AIN), 7-2



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.