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  • Photo: Kadir Caliskan

    Photo: Kadir Caliskan

    Blaze and Kenny Strike Gold at U17 World Championships

    Saturday at the 2023 U17 World Championships featured the first set of medal matches in men’s freestyle and the last five weight classes got underway. 

    In those medal matches, the United States shined going 4-4 with two gold medals and two bronzes. 

    Paul Kenny at 48 kg set the tone for the rest of the men’s freestyle team when he captured gold early in the finals. His opponent, Yamato Furusawa (Japan) got on the board off of a shot clock point in the opening stanza. The second period saw Furusawa get in on a single leg; however, Kenny was deftly able to work his way out of bounds without surrendering a point. Furusawa would later go on the shot clock and couldn’t convert. The ensuing point proved to be the difference as the match ended 1-1 with Kenny holding criteria. 

    The next gold medal match featured another American with Marcus Blaze taking on Ankush at 55 kg. Blaze struck first as he go in on a single leg and wouldn’t let Ankush retreat out of bounds before gathering both legs for a takedown. Ankush returned the favor as he quickly got in on a single leg, but in this instance, Blaze was able to prevent a takedown, only surrendering a step-out point. That 2-1 lead for Blaze would be the score at the break. 

    In the second period, Blaze would extend his lead after a pair of step-out points. Ankush would finally get a takedown of his own with approximately :45 remaining to pull within a point, 4-3. For the remainder of the bout, Ankush pushed forward, but it wasn’t enough, as Blaze prevented any further scoring. Blaze was declared the winner, 4-3, and captured the gold medal at 55 kg. 

    A big 6-0 lead after the first period in the 65 kg bronze medal match was enough for Brock Mantanona to earn a win over France’s Khizir Dasiyev. Dasiyev would get a four-pointer and a late step-to to make the score 6-5, but he could get no closer. 

    After three nail-biters, things were much less dramatic at 80 kg, as Zack Ryder blew through Ismayil Asadli (Azerbaijan) to capture his second consecutive U17 world bronze medal. Ryder secured a fall after moving the score to 14-2 following a double leg to Asadli’s back. 

    The star from the final five wrestlers that started their tournament today was Oklahoma native Ladarion Lockett. The 71 kg star made the world finals without surrendering a point in four matches leading up to the finals. To clinch a medal and his spot in the gold medal match, Lockett needed only :52 seconds to dispose of Narender (India) 10-0. He’ll face off with Iran’s Seyedabolfazl Hosseini, the 2023 U17 Asian champion, tomorrow. 

    There are two other US wrestlers with medal possibilities tomorrow. At 45 kg, Ignacio Villasenor advanced to the semifinals before losing to Iran’s Ahora Khateri (Iran), 5-2. He’ll fall into a bronze medal match with repechage determining his opponent. 

    Repechage is the name of the game for 2022 U17 World silver medalist Christian Castillo. Castillo was narrowly edged 5-4 by Rohti (India), who would advance to the finals at 51 kg. He’ll have Sadraddin Hasanov (Azerbaijan) in repechage to open the day on Sunday. 

    Final Results

    Men’s Freestyle

    48 kg

    Gold Medal Match: Paul Kenny (USA) over Yamato Furusawa (Japan)  1-1

    Bronze Medal Match: Joe Bachmann (Puerto Rico) over Marian Rusu (Romania)  15-5

    Bronze Medal Match: Sam Sayar (Iran) over Azymberdi Ashyrgulyyev (Turkmenistan)  10-0

    55 kg

    Gold Medal Match: Marcus Blaze (USA) over Ankush (India)  4-3

    Bronze Medal Match: Akhmad Musakhadzhiev (Russia - Individual Neutral Athlete) over Arshak Lulukyan (Georgia)  12-2

    Bronze Medal Match: Amirreza Teymorizad (Iran) over Oubayda Itaev (France)  10-0


    65 kg

    Gold Medal Match: Sina Khalili (Iran) over Magomed Alibakharchiev (Russia - Individual Neutral Athlete)   10-0

    Bronze Medal Match: Brock Mantanona (USA) over Khizir Dasiyev (France)  6-5

    Bronze Medal Match: Manuel Wagin (Germany) over Vladimir Azaryan (Armenia)  13-13

    80 kg 

    Gold Medal Match: Magomed Idrisov (Russia - Individual Neutral Athlete) over Alexandru Bors (Moldova)  2-0

    Bronze Medal Match: Zack Ryder (USA) over Ismayil Asadli (Azerbaijan)  Fall 2:53

    Bronze Medal Match: Konstansine Petriashvili (Georgia) over Dovletgeldi Myradov (Turkmenistan)  6-4


    110 kg

    Gold Medal Match: Yusif Dursunov (Azerbaijan) over Yedige Kassimbek (Kazakhstan)  4-2

    Bronze Medal Match: Rakhman Malakhmedov (Russia - Individual Neutral Athlete) over Balazs Csipkes (Romania)  10-0

    Bronze Medal Match: Henrik Haykyan (Armenia) over Aleksandre Abramishvili (Georgia)  11-0


    US Results

    45 kg

    Qualification: Ignacio Villasenor (USA) over Frederick Bachmann (Puerto Rico)  6-0

    Quarterfinals: Ignacio Villasenor (USA) over Dhanraj Shirke (India)  10-0

    Semifinals: Ahora Khateri (Iran) over Ignacio Villasenor (USA)  5-2


    48 kg

    Gold Medal Match: Paul Kenny (USA) over Yamato Furusawa (Japan)  1-1

    51 kg

    Round of 16: Rohit (India) over Christian Castillo (USA)  5-4

    55 kg

    Gold Medal Match: Marcus Blaze (USA) over Ankush (India)  4-3


    60 kg

    Round of 16: Jamal Abbasov (Azerbaijan) over Ben Davino  5-0


    65 kg

    Bronze Medal Match: Brock Mantanona (USA) over Khizir Dasiyev (France)  6-5


    71 kg

    Qualification: Ladarion Lockett (USA) over Victor Soto Rivera (Puerto Rico)  10-0

    Round of 16: Ladarion Lockett (USA) over Felix Schmitt (Germany)  10-0

    Quarterfinals: Ladarion Lockett (USA) over Nurdaulet Seilbekov (Kazakhstan)  8-0

    Semifinals: Ladarion Lockett (USA) over Narender (India)  10-0

    80 kg 

    Bronze Medal Match: Zack Ryder (USA) over Ismayil Asadli (Azerbaijan)  Fall 2:53


    92 kg

    Qualification: Aeoden Sinclair (USA) over Bence Veress (Hungary)  Fall 1:02

    Round of 16: Toohid Noory (Iran) over Aeoden Sinclair (USA)  5-3

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