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  • Photo: UWW

    Photo: UWW

    Tokyo Watch - 50 Profiles in 50 Days: Amir Zare (Iran)

    Iran's Amir Zare (Photo/United World Wrestling)

    As of today, we under 50 days from the start of wrestling at the Olympic Games. Over the next 50 days, we'll bring you one profile per day of a decorated international contender. Make sure you get to know the wrestlers that Team USA will compete against in Tokyo.

    6/28/21 - Zavur Uguev (Russia)

    6/27/21 - Zhan Beleniuk (Ukraine)

    6/26/21 - Sergey Kozyrev (Russia)

    6/24/21 - Kenchiro Fumita (Japan)

    6/23/21 - Magomedkhabib Kadimagomedov (Belarus)

    6/22/21 - Erica Wiebe (Canada)

    6/21/21 - Myles Amine (San Marino)

    6/20/21 - Sofia Mattsson (Sweden)

    6/19/21 - Hassan Yazdani Charati (Iran)

    6/18/21 - Tamas Lorincz (Hungary)

    6/17/21 - Takuro Otoguro (Japan)

    6/16/21 - Elizbar Odikadze (Georgia)

    6/15/21 - Koumba Larroque (France)

    6/14/21 - Haji Aliyev (Azerbaijan)

    6/13/21 - Ningning Rong (China)

    6/12/21 - Bajrang Punia (India)

    6/11/21 - Frank Staebler (Germany)

    6/10/21 - Geno Petriashvili (Georgia)

    A dominant Cadet champion that rapidly rose through the ranks to become one of heavyweights best, #3 Amir Zare of Iran has cut through some of the best competition in the world to establish himself as one of the top medal contenders in Tokyo. One of a trio of top young prospects along with #4 Sergey Kozyrev (RUS) and #6 Gable Steveson (USA). Today's Olympic profile will look at the career so far of #3 Amir Zare of Iran.

    The Stats

    #3 Amir Zare (IRI)- 2018 110 KG Cadet Asian Champion, 2018 110 KG Cadet world champion, 2018 Youth Olympic Games runner-up, 2019 Junior Asian champ, 2019 Junior World runner-up, 2019 U-23 world champ, 2019 Alans bronze medalist, 2020 Matteo Pellicone champ, 2020 Iranian World Team Trials runner-up 2021 Ziolkowski champ.

    Key Wins: #2 Geno Petriashvili (2019 Club World Championships), #4 Yusup Batirmurzaev (2019 U-23 world championships, 2020 Matteo Pellicone), Bilyal Makhov (2020 Matteo Pellicone finals), Nick Gwiazdowski (2019 Alans bronze medal match, 2021 Ziolkowski finals), #8 Amin Taheri (2020 Iranian World Team Trials), Yadollah Mohebbi (2020 Iranian World Team Trials), Parviz Hadi (2020 Iranian World Team Trials), Khasanboy Rakhimov (2019 Alans), Vitali Goloev (2019 U-23 world finals).

    Key Losses: #6 Sergey Kozyrev (2018 110 KG Youth Olympic Games Finals), #8 Amin Taheri (2020 Iranian World Team Trials), #18 Batraz Gazzaev (2019 Alans semifinals), Mason Parris (2019 Junior world finals).

    2018-2021

    #3 Amir Zare (IRI) kicked off his international career with a Cadet Asian and Cadet World title at 110 KG in 2018, with his most notable win coming over Penn State All-American Greg Kerkvliet (USA) of the Cadet World finals. Zare would take on Cadet world bronze medalist #4 Sergey Kozyrev (RUS) in the finals of the Youth Olympic Games and fell to the Russian to complete his Cadet eligibility.

    Zare's 2019 saw him begin his Junior campaign with an Asian championships title over Buheerdun of China. Going into the Junior World Championships as the returning Cadet world champion, Zare was expected to be one of the favorites to win gold. Zare looked keen on fulfilling those expectations alive as he made the world finals opposite Mason Parris of the United States. Parris, now an NCAA runner-up for the Michigan Wolverines and Senior national champion, was at the time coming off a 33-9 true freshman season that saw him make the Round of 12 at NCAA's. In a battle of prospects, it would be the powerhouse Parris who would walk away with a stunning first-period pin over Zare for the Junior world heavyweight title.

    After Junior World's is where Zare really made the change. Mason Parris is an absolute beast of a heavyweight, one of the most physically imposing wrestlers at any weight, who bullies the most elite of competition. Zare, finally having gotten to face that sort of Senior level power, had turned a corner. Nowhere was this improvement more evident than at the U-23 world championships. Zare outscored his competition 49-7, breaking the likes of Senior level elites 2020 Asian champion #9 Yusup Batirmurzaev (KAZ) and 2020 Russian Nationals bronze medalist Vitali Goloev (RUS) for gold.

    The prestigious Alans tournament in Vladikavkaz, Russia, would be where Zare would get another chance to prove his deserved spot among the elite. And Zare did more than prove it, as right out of the gate, he put a 12-2 clinic on World bronze medalist Khasanboy Rakhimov (UZB) in the Round of 16. #15 Atsamaz Tebloev (RUS) forfeited to Zare in the quarters, which would set up a semifinal bout against Russian Nationals bronze medalist #17 Batraz Gazzaev (RUS). Gazzaev was an absolute monster at the end of 2019, winning the Intercontinental Cup and Kadyrov Cup, where he had beaten the reigning national champion #8 Alan Khugaev (RUS). Zare was able to lead Gazzaev 2-1 throughout most of the match, but a clutch bodylock takedown for the hulking Gazzaev would earn the North-Ossetian standout a place in the finals. In the bronze medal match, tech falled two-time world bronze medalist #7 Nick Gwiazdowski (USA) 10-0. In a spectacular recovery from his bronze medal at the Alans, Zare notched a huge 15-11 upset of reigning three-time world champion #2 Geno Petriashvili of Georgia in the World club championships to end 2019.

    In the abbreviated 2020 season, Zare was able to compete twice at the Matteo Pellicone tournament and at the Iranian World Team Trials. At the Matteo Pellicone, Zare was excellent, beating #9 Yusup Batirmurzaev (KAZ) in dominant fashion and getting a monster win over 3x World champion Bilyal Makhov (RUS) in the finals. Zare's performance at the Iranian World Team Trials would be another story. Zare beat 2018 World bronze medalist Parviz Hadi and two-time world rep Yadollah Mohebbi to make the best-of-three finals against 2017 U-23 World bronze medalist #19 Amin Taheri. The structure of Iran's training camps is such that guys wrestle with the same partners throughout the whole camp with little variety, so the degree of familiarity among opponents is very high. Zare was undoubtedly the better wrestler results-wise than Taheri, but because of their familiarity, the lesser Taheri was able to win the series 2-1. However, Taheri would not go to the 2020 World Championships as Iran would only send one wrestler to the 2020 Individual World Cup in the form of two-time Cadet world champion Rahman Amouzadkhalili at 57 KG, who took bronze.
    With the heavyweight spot still needing deciding for Iran for Tokyo, Iran sent Amin Taheri to the Asian championships at the start of this year. Taheri was upset by Individual World Cup bronze medalist Aiaal Lazarev (KGZ), which made Zare the favorite to take a spot. But the final qualifier that would determine whether Zare or Taheri would go to Tokyo would happen in June at the Ziolkowski. Taheri opened with a win over Asian champion #20 Oleg Boltin (KAZ), but promptly lost 6-3 to 2018 U-23 World runner-up #18 Youssif Hemida (EGY) in his quarterfinal match. Zare tech falled his way to the finals and cautioned out two-time World bronze medalist #7 Nick Gwiazdowski (USA) up 6-1. It was clear, Zare was the man for Iran.

    Amir Zare is in a very special place right now at heavyweight. One of the premier contenders for gold at heavyweight at only 20 years old, Zare among with #4 Sergey Kozyrev (RUS) and #6 Gable Steveson (USA) are part of a new group of resurgent, high offense heavyweights taking the international scene by storm. The heavyweight division is at the best it's ever been and I look forward to seeing how the new blood of Zare, Kozyrev, and Steveson clash against each other and the legends Taha Akgul and Geno Petriashvili.

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