Friday at the 2023 World Championships marked the first full day of Greco-Roman action. Three new weight classes got underway for the first time, 60 kg, 72 kg, and 97 kg. Unfortunately for the American contingent, two of those athletes; Ildar Hafizov (60) and Pat Smith (72) were eliminated from medal contention. Joe Rau (97 kg) still has an opportunity to bring home a medal as the opponent that defeated him, five-time World/Olympic champion Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia), advanced to Saturday’s gold medal match. Rau, along with Smith, both won their first bouts of the tournament before suffering a loss.
Rau will have to win a pair of matches on Saturday to wrestle for a bronze medal and an Olympic quota. First up, is Romania’s Nicu Ojog, a 2018 U23 World silver medalist and a 2022 European runner-up. Should Rau get past Ojog, he’d face Artur Omarov (Czech Republic), a 2023 European bronze medalist.
Speaking of repechage, the only American from yesterday’s action that made it to the second day of competition was Kamal Bey. Bey was facing an uphill battle to earn a bronze medal as he would need three repechage victories just to wrestle for a medal.
Bey responded with a victory in his first repechage match. He downed Finland’s Jonni Sarkkinen 7-3. The key sequence in the contest took place with under :40 seconds remaining and Bey trailing 3-2. He bullied Sarkkinen to the edge, caught him off balance, and drove through him for a takedown. On the ensuing restart, Sarkkinen pushed the pace as he was now trailing. Bey was able to slip out of a Sarkkinen head and arm for an insurance takedown.
In his second repechage match, Bey took on Moldova’s Alexandrin Gutu. The key sequence in this bout took place during the waning seconds of the opening period. Gutu had a chest lock and went for a big throw. Bey did not expose himself; however, he did give up a takedown, which brought the score to 3-2 in favor of Gutu. Bey would tie the score in the second period on a passivity point, but he still trailed since all of his scores were of the one-point variety. Despite a frantic effort from Bey in the last minute, he wasn’t able to add to his score and lost 3-3 on criteria.
Gold Medal Match - Eldaniz Azizli (Azerbaijan) over Nugzari Tsurtsumia (Georgia) 13-4
Bronze Medal Match - Poya Dad Marz (Iran) over Marlan Mukashev (Kazakhstan) 6-3
Bronze Medal Match - Artiom Deleanu (Moldova) over Mohamed Yacine Dridi (Algeria) Fall :44
Gold Medal Match - Akzhol Makhmudov (Kyrgyzstan) over Sanan Suleymanov (Azerbaijan) 1-1
Bronze Medal Match - Malkhas Amoyan (Armenia) over Demeu Zhadrayev (Kazakhstan) 9-7
Bronze Medal Match - Nao Kusaka (Japan) over Aram Vardanyan (Uzbekistan) 8-0
Olympic Quota Wrestle-Off - Aram Vardanyan (Uzbekistan) over Demeu Zhadrayev (Kazakhstan) 5-4
Gold Medal Match - Rafig Huseynov (Azerbaijan) over Alireza Mohmadipiani (Iran) 2-1
Bronze Medal Match - Aues Gonibov (AIN - Russia) over Burhan Akbudak (Turkey) 6-3
Bronze Medal Match - Yaroslav Filchakov (Ukraine) over Branko Kovacevic (Serbia) 9-0
Gold Medal Match - Amin Mirzazadeh (Iran) over Riza Kayaalp (Turkey) 2-2
Bronze Medal Match - Abdellatif Mohamed (Egypt) over Lingzhe Meng (China) 3-2
Bronze Medal Match - Oscar Pino Hinds (Cuba) over Romas Fridrikas (Lithuania) 5-1
Olympic Quota Wrestle-Off - Lingzhe Meng (China) over Romas Fridrikas (Lithuania) 1-1
Round of 32 - Mehdi Mohsen Nejad (Iran) over Ildar Hafizov 7-0
Qualification - Pat Smith over Kamil Czarnecki (Poland) Fall 4:08
Round of 16 - Ibragim Magomadov (Kazakhstan) over Pat Smith 5-1
Repechage - Kamal Bey over Jonni Sarkkinen (Finland) 7-3
Repechage - Alexandrin Gutu (Moldova) over Kamal Bey 3-3
Round of 32 - Joe Rau over Filip Smetko (Croatia) 4-1
Round of 16 - Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia) over Joe Rau 9-0