J'den Cox with the American flag after winning the world title at 92 kilograms (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)
NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan -- J'den Cox left no doubt that he is the best freestyle wrestler in the world at 92 kilograms.
Cox repeated as world champion on Saturday with a 4-0 victory in the finals over Iran's Alireza Karimimachiani at the World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. He finished the tournament without surrendering a single point, outscoring his four opponents 26-0.
"I think I made more sacrifices this year to achieve it again than I did last year," said the 24-year-old Cox. "I wanted to do it better. I came here and didn't get scored on. No disrespect to Karimi, but that whole match he didn't want to come and get it. He wanted to keep it close and wanted to play the game."
Cox wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in the finals, picking up a takedown off a knee pick 20 seconds into the match. The score stayed that way until the closing moments of the opening period when Cox got to Karimi's leg and finished for a takedown shortly before the period ended. A scoreless second period gave Cox the victory.
He has now won a medal at the World Championships or Olympic Games every year since 2016, going a perfect 4-for-4 in medal matches.
Jordan Burroughs gets his hand raised after winning bronze (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)
Jordan Burroughs won his seventh world medal at 74 kilograms to go along with his Olympic gold in 2012. The 31-year-old American dominated Japan's Mao Okui, 10-0, in the bronze-medal match.
In the first minute of the match, Burroughs scored a takedown off a double leg and then used a gut wrench to go up 4-0. He built his lead to 6-0 after another takedown off a double leg. Burroughs put the match away early in the second period with a third takedown and exposure.
Kyle Dake advanced to the finals at 79 kilograms (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)
Dake reaches finals for second straight year, Snyder falls to Sharifov in semifinals
It was an up-and-down first session for the United States on Saturday as Kyle Dake advanced to the finals, while Kyle Snyder was defeated in the semifinals.
Dake, a returning world champion, cruised to the finals at 79 kilograms, outscoring his three opponents by a combined score of 23-4. In the semifinals, Dake defeated Rashid Kurbanov of Uzbekistan, 6-1. He went up 6-0 in the first period after a takedown and two gut wrenches. Kurbanov got on the scoreboard in the second period after Dake was hit with a caution. The two would continue to battle, but no more points were scored and Dake moved into the finals.
Earlier in the day, Dake rolled to a 12-2 technical superiority in his first match over Oibek Nasirov of Kyrgyzstan before defeating Russia's Gadzhi Nabiev, 5-1.
Kyle Snyder fell to Azerbaijan's Sharif Sharifov in the semifinals (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)
Azerbaijan's Sharif Sharifov, a 2012 Olympic champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, spoiled a potential third meeting between Snyder and Russia's Abdulrashid Sadulaev. Sharifov defeated Snyder in the semifinals, 5-2. Snyder scored the first point off the activity clock and led 1-0 at the break.
Early in the second period, Sharifov fired off a shot and secured a takedown to go up 2-1. He extended his lead to 4-1 a short time after exposing Snyder. Snyder inched closer with a step out, making the score 4-2 with two minutes remaining. Sharifov responded with a step out of his own to go up by three and then held Snyder off the rest of the way.
Snyder had a pair of technical superiorities prior to the semifinals. He started his day by beating India's Mausam Khatri, 10-0, before defeating Uzbekistan's Magomed Ibragimov, 13-3, in the quarterfinals.
Tyler Graff reached the quarterfinals at 61 kilograms where he lost to Georgia's Beka Lomtadze, 3-1. Graff scored the only point in the first period off the activity clock and took a 1-0 lead to the break. With a minute and twenty seconds lefts, Lomtadze forced Graff out of bounds for the step. Graff, trailing on criteria, shot and got to Lomtadze's leg in the finals 20 seconds, but the Georgian exposed him for two points and claimed the victory.
The 30-year-old American remains alive in the competition after Lomtadze held off India's Rahul Aware in the semifinals. He will compete in repechage against Mihai Esanu of Moldova for an opportunity to wrestle back for a bronze medal.
Graff started his tournament with a 10-0 technical superiority over Korea's Jincheol Kim, which he followed up with a 7-0 victory over China's Minghu Liu.
Pat Downey, competing at 86 kilograms, was defeated in the round of 16 by Germany's Ahmed Dudarov, 11-0. After a scoreless first minute, Dudarov hit a carry for four points to go up 4-0. Dudarov continued to build his lead, getting a step out and two more takedowns to go up 9-0 at the break. In the second period, Dudarov put the match away with a four-point, feet-to-back carry.
Downey opened his tournament with back-to-back wins. He won his first match by technical superiority over Armenia's Hovhannes Mkhitaryan, 11-0, before edging Poland's Zbigniew Baranowski on criteria, 3-3.
University of Michigan wrestler Myles Amine became the first Olympic qualifier in wrestling for San Marino. He reached the semifinals at 86 kilograms before losing to Olympic and world champion Hassan Yazdanicharati. He will wrestle for bronze on Sunday. He joins Wolverine teammate Stevan Micic as an Olympian.