David Taylor with the American flag after winning a world title at 86 kilograms (Photo/Larry Slater)
BUDAPEST, Hungary -- It was another impeccable day for the American wrestling team.
Sunday at the 2018 World Championships was arguably one of the greatest days in USA Wrestling history. The team won a gold medal, pushed two wrestlers to gold medal matches tomorrow and won three bronze medals. USA leads in the team race after two days of competition and has the most medalists with five.
David Taylor, competing in his first World Championships, captured the gold medal in dominant fashion at 86 kilograms, beating Fatih Erdin of Turkey 12-2. Taylor got his offense going early to take a 6-2 lead going into the break. He used more offense to get the technical fall shortly into the second period.
"This gold medal means everything to me and my wife," Taylor said. "I wouldn't be where I am without her, my coaches, my training partners. I have the best training in the world I'm so thankful for that."
Kyle Dake and J'den Cox convincingly won their semifinal matches. Each will wrestle for the gold medal. Joe Colon, Jordan Burroughs and Nick Gwiazdowski captured bronze medals.
Kyle Dake throws Akhmed Gadzhimagomedov of Russia in the semifinals (Photo/Larry Slater)
Dake advanced to the gold-medal match at 79 kilograms by beating Akhmed Gadzhimagomedov of Russia. Dake used a colossal throw on the edge of the mat in front of the American fans to go up 4-0. He added a few more to points to go up 8-0 at the break. Dake then used a stupendous throw, causing the American fans to break out in chants of U-S-A, U-S-A. It was almost as if Dake was trying to out due the other throw, this one for a five-point move securing the technical victory 13-0. Dake has not been scored on this tournament.
"To beat a guy like that I had to stay in positions I knew I could win," Dake said. "I couldn't be happier for tonight. I have another big one tomorrow and I'm here to put on a show for sure."
Dake will wrestle Jabrayil Hasanov of Azerbaijain in the gold-medal match.
J'den Cox advanced to the gold-medal match by beating Iran's Alireza Karimimachiani (Photo/Larry Slater)
In Cox's semifinal match, he beat world bronze medalist Alireza Karimimachiani of Iran. It was a match that started slowly before Cox opened up with some offense for a 5-2 victory.
"It feels amazing," Cox said. "I had to [change] a lot of things in my life to get here now. I moved, I left my family, I got with a dietitian and I eat vegetables which is a very hard transition."
This is how Cox responded when asked about his emotions on making the finals, "Honestly after the initial thing now I kind of feel pretty chill," Cox said. "We have to come back and take out Russia."
Cox will wrestle Ivan Yankouski of Belarus in the gold-medal match.
Jordan Burroughs edged Frank Chamizo for a bronze medal at 74 kilograms (Photo/Larry Slater)
In a back-and-forth match between Burroughs and Chamizo, the American wrestling great found a way to win 4-4 on criteria. It was exactly what fans would expect from two multiple world champions who were wrestling for the third time this year, this match being the rubber match.
"I never thought I'd be this happy to win bronze," Burroughs said. "Things don't always go the way you plan them to. I think that's part of God's elaborate plan for each and every one of us as individuals. Sometimes you forget how awesome it is to savor the small victories when you win so many big ones."
Joe Colon gets his hand raised after winning a bronze medal (Photo/Larry Slater)
At 61 kilograms, Joe Colon captured his bronze medal beating Mohammadbagher Yakhkeshi of Iran 13-2, using a gut wrench to lock up the technical victory.
"I'm feeling great," Colon said. "I don't think it's set in yet, but it's an amazing opportunity and I had to take advantage of it."
Colon was a late replacement for Nahshon Garrett, who was injured and unable to wrestle.
"I got the call about 17, 18 days ago," Colon said "Nahshon got hurt it's unfortunate, but a new life [for me] and all my hopes and dreams that have always been there."
It was a tough semifinal round for Thomas Gilman as he was never able to get his offense going. His opponent Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan was persistent with concise attacks, building a 2-0 lead at the break. Sanayev opened up to a 11-0 technical victory after. He will now wrestle for a bronze medal.
Logan Stieber was eliminated from competition when Akhmed Chakaev of Russia failed to make the finals.
"It's tough when you don't accomplish your goals," Stieber said. "But I'm still cheering on my teammates."
USA freestyle head coach Bill Zadick is proud of his guys and is trying to stay focused.
"I'm so happy for David (Taylor)," Zadick said. "I'm excited for Kyle (Dake) and his opportunity tomorrow. It's just awesome to see when they get what they're really searching for. [Today] was good, I try to stay focused on the individuals and help them get their jobs done and I know if they get their jobs done the team takes care of itself."