Yazdani, Jamalov reach final; China dominates WW in Budapest

By Vinay Siwach

BUDAPEST, Hungary (June 7) -- With three Freestyle and four Women's Wrestling weight classes in action, the Budapest Ranking Series enters day two. Hassan YAZDANI (IRI) will be competing for the first time since his surgery.


13:00: Hassan YAZDANI (IRI) with some high-paced action in his 86kg semifinal to blank Azamat DAULETBEKOV (KAZ) 10-0. He will wrestle for the gold medal at 86kg against Trent HIDLAY (USA).

12:50: ANTIM (IND) hangs on! Katarzyna KRAWCZYK (POL) went all out for a takedown in the final seconds but Antim kept her at bay. A 3-1 win for Antim and she will wrestle for gold at 53kg against Jonna MALMGREN (SWE), a rematch of the bronze medal bout from the World Championships.

12:45: Otgonjargal DOLGORJAV (MGL) seems to have upped her game since that fifth-place finish at the Asian Championships. She beats Nadezhda SOKOLOVA (AIN) 12-8 in an action-packed bout.

12:35: Jonna MALMGREN (SWE) is in the 53kg final without wrestling in Budapest. First, Zeynep YETGIL (TUR) pulled out injured and now Lucia YEPEZ (ECU) is injured.

12:30: Incredible bout between Anastasia NICHITA (MDA) and Anshu MALIK (IND) at 57kg. Nichita trailed 4-3 but she got a stepout and Anshu was cautioned for fleeing which gave Nichita a 5-4 lead with 19 seconds on the clock. Anshu continues the pressure and scores a takedown on the edge to claim a 6-5 lead and the win.

12:15: Kexin HONG (CHN) with a brutal lace over Anhelina LYSAK (POL) to finish the 57kg bout 10-0. 59kg world champion then scores an 11-1 win over Luisa VALVERDE (ECU) to advance to the semifinal.

12:10: Ali Abbas REZAEI (IRI) beats Turan BAYRAMOV (AZE) 5-0 in the 74kg quarterfinal. Bayramov was warned for passivity in the first period, he committed two defensive fouls in the second as Rezaei built a 3-0 lead. Bayramov tried getting some opening but Rezaei solid in defense and finished with a solid takedown.

12:00: Jiang ZHU (CHN) blanks VINESH (IND) 5-0. Two counter takedowns for Zhu and a point for Vinesh's inactivity were the points for Zhu. No openings for Vinesh in that bout.

11:55: Hassan YAZDANI (IRI) and Azamat DAULETBEKOV (KAZ) have set up a semifinal at 86kg. Yazdani with a high-scoring 12-2 win over Hayato ISHIGURO (JPN) while Dauletbekov with a controlled 3-0 win over Patrik PUESPOEKI (HUN).

11:50: Otgonjargal DOLGORJAV (MGL) needs to dig deep to keep Yu ZHANG (CHN) at bay. Zhang kept the pressure high even when trailing 4-3 but Dolgorjav hit a counter to win 6-3 at 50kg.

11:30: Zeynep YETGIL (TUR) pulls out of her bout against Jonna MALMGREN (SWE) at 53kg. Malmgren will now wrestle Lucia YEPEZ (ECU) in the semifinal.

11:25:  Razambek JAMALOV (UZB) is looking to grab the 74kg spot for the Paris Olympics for Uzbekistan over Bekzod ABDURAKHAMANOV (UZB) who qualified the weight. He begins that journey with a 5-0 win over Anthony MONTERO (VEN) in Budapest.   

11:15: Quick 10-0 win for ANTIM (IND) over Sakibjamal ESBOSYNOVA (UZB) at 53kg. She sets up a semifinal against Katarzyna KRAWCZYK (POL). 

11:10: VINESH (IND) begins her 50kg campaign in Budapest with a 10-0 technical superiority over Alisson CARDOZO (COL). She sets up a quarterfinal against Jian ZHU (CHN) which will prove to be a big test. 

11:00: No clutch comeback from Myles AMINE (SMR) this time. Azamat DAULETBEKOV (KAZ) holds on to a 3-1 lead and beat Amine with that scoreline at 86kg.

10:50: Hassan YAZDANI (IRI) was in danger position twice in the match against Ethan RAMOS (PUR) but bailed out both times to race to a 13-2 victory over Ramos who seems to have hurt his back. Once the wrestlers are off mat, Ramos is carried in a stretcher as he is unable to walk.

10:30: Ranking points up for grabs, Olympics opponents facing each other and some Paris 2024 line-ups to be finalized. Day two of the Ranking Series in Budapest has everything to offer.


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.