Adam Coon celebrates after winning in the semifinals of the World Championships (Photo/Larry Slater)
BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Adam Coon will wrestle for a world title in Greco-Roman after securing his fourth fall in four matches at 130 kilograms on Saturday at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
In his semifinal match, competing against Min-Seok Kim of Korea, Coon earned a caution two and held a 3-0 lead going into the break. After the break, Coon went back to his over-under and forced Kim to make a mistake. He then used a body lock to throw Kim for four points. Shortly after Coon was rewarded with the pin with 2:18 remaining in the match.
"I'm in the world championship finals," said Coon. "This is fun. [I'm] wrestling tough, wrestling smart, just trying to keep my pace. Just to get my stuff and capitalize on him being out of position."
Coon, competing in his first World Championships on the senior level, has been a shining light for the American Greco-Roman wrestling team in Budapest. He is the lone U.S. Greco-Roman wrestler compete for a medal. Coon looks to become the first American Greco-Roman world champion since Joe Warren (2006) and first heavyweight since Dremiel Byers (2002). The last American Greco finalist was Byers in 2009.
U.S. Greco-Roman head coach Matt Lindland had high praise for Coon following his match.
"I couldn't be more proud of him," Lindland said. "He believes in the process. He believes in what we've been telling him [and] we're also playing to his strengths."
Coon will have the Russian Sergey Semenov in his finals match tomorrow. Semenov is a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist. The Russian team is very competitive, so Coon has his work cut out for him in the gold-medal match.
Coon admits they have wrestled previously, and the outcome was not great for him.
"I wrestled him in juniors and he throttled me," Coon said. "So, I'm ready to go and see how much better I've gotten. [Now I] rest that's the biggest thing I can do, get some fuel, get some food. Make sure my mind and my body are ready."
Coach Lindland is looking forward to the finals match and Coon's chances.
"We'll go out and look at some film," Lindland said. "He said give me a couple things you want me to focus on. It was a process that got him to this point and today was a culmination of that process. What we've been doing is working, we're pinning guys, but we know Russia's tough."
The finals are set for 3:30 p.m. local time (9:30 a.m. ET) on Sunday.