David Taylor knocked off Olympic champion Hassan Yazdanicharati (Photo/Robbert Wijtman)
BUDAPEST -- Day 1 of the World Championships was full of excitement and anticipation. How would team USA, the returning team champions perform, specifically with the newcomers?
The American fans didn't have to wait very long to see. All four Americans competing on Day 1 were victorious in their opening bouts, with Joe Colon and David Taylor punching tickets to the semifinals.
David "Magic Man" Taylor ignited the engine coming from behind to defeat Olympic and world champion Hassan Yazdanicharati of Iran at 86 kilograms.
Yazdanicharati led 6-2 at the break, building a lead from a series of takedowns. But after the break, it was all the Taylor. He quickly scored a takedown to cut the deficit to 6-4 and another to tie it at 6.
Taylor added a takedown, showing his resilience, to make the score the 8-6 with 1:05 left. A step out and a takedown in the last thirty seconds made the final score 11-6 in favor of Taylor much to the delight of the American fans in attendance.
The Magic Man came into his own in his second match, opening up some offense against Hajy Rajabau of Belarus. Taylor overwhelmed Rajabau with a mix of takedowns and step outs and even a turn to complete the technical victory 10-0, shortly before the final buzzer. He will face Dauren Kurugliev of Russia in the semifinals.
Joe Colon, a newcomer on the scene, began his inaugural championship vs Ivan Bileichuk of Ukraine and found himself trailing 6-4, at the break at 61 kilograms.
Colon responded right out the gate with a step out to close the gap 6-5. A takedown gave Colon a 7-6 lead that he would not relinquish. Another takedown with 5 seconds remaining improved his lead to 9-6.
In his second bout, Colon scored early and often. A combination of offense allowed him to end the bout early 10-0, punching his ticket to the semifinals. He will face 2016 world silver medalist Beka Lomtadze of Georgia.
Jordan Burroughs, the four-time world champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist, received a forfeit in his opening bout because his opponent did not show at weigh ins. Burroughs would give the American fans a scare in his next bout vs Mostafa Hosseinkani of Iran 2016 world bronze medalist.
Burroughs was put on the passivity clock and went down 1-0, but would tie the match at 1, with a step out. Burroughs scored a takedown and lead 3-1 at the break, but Hosseinkani responded with a takedown of his own and was winning on criteria with 1:16 left in the match. During the process of Hosseinkani's takedown he went for a leg lace and it seemed Burroughs who slow to get up was injured.
In true Jordan Burroughs fashion, he scored a step out with 17 seconds left to calm the nerves of the American fans for the final score of 4-3.
In Burroughs next bout, he faced Zaurbek Sidakov of Russia. In a back-and-forth match that saw a few lead changes, ended in a 5-5 tie as Sidakov scored a step out as time expired. That step out would give him the victory on criteria, however the Americans did challenge and the call was upheld. Burroughs will wait to hear if he receives a repechage match.
Nick Gwiazdowski, returning bronze medalist, met Zolboo Natsagsuren of Mongolia in his opening match and his consistent defense and counter offense allowed him to build a 3-2 lead at the break. A few more takedowns made a final score of 9-4 for Gwiazdowski.
In his next match, Gwiazdowski faced Deng Zhiwei of China and led 2-0 at the break. A big four-point throw allowed Deng to go up 5-2. Gwiazdowski would respond with a takedown, but it wasn't enough making the final score 5-4. He will wait to hear if he receives a repechage match.