And provided fans with another excellent opportunity to view a high-level wrestling competition.
The six-match Beat the Streets card was held Thursday night in Hoboken, New Jersey, right across from New York City. It included some compelling matchups and intense competition. The bouts were streamed live on FloWrestling.
Here is my breakdown from the evening's matches:
53 kilograms: Emily Shilson vs. Charlotte Fowler
Shilson, a Cadet world champion, fired in on a solid leg attack and finished for a takedown in the match's first minute. She followed with another shot for a second takedown and an early 4-0 advantage.
Shilson spun behind before another takedown late in the first period before transitioning into a gut-wrench. She took an 8-0 lead into the break. Shilson spun around Fowler early in the second period to earn a 10-0 win by technical superiority. Shilson is a top young prospect with a bright future.
61 kilograms: Joe Colon vs. Seth Gross
This match definitely lived up to its billing. Colon, a world bronze medalist, barreled in on an early leg attack and followed with his lethal gut-wrench to lead 4-0. Gross, an NCAA champion, came back with a counter and turn before Colon reversed him to make it 5-2. Gross exposed Colon again late in the period to draw within 7-5.
There was non-stop action with both guys wrestling aggressively. Gross came back in a wild sequence, exposing Colon to lead 11-8. Colon then scored a pushout, takedown and turn to lead 13-11. The action kept going and Gross eventually tied it 15-15 with a double-leg takedown. Colon stormed right back with a takedown to lead 17-15 with 40 seconds left. Colon added a late takedown and turn before earning a wild 21-15 victory. That was a really fun match to watch between two high-level wrestlers. Kudos to those guys for letting it fly.
57 kilograms: Rustam Ampar vs. Jack Mueller
Ampar, a past Junior world silver medalist for Russia, came out with a physical style and dominated early in taking a quick 5-0 lead. Mueller, a U23 world team member, was kept on his heels as the more experienced Ampar added a stepout to lead 6-0. Mueller had Ampar's leg in the air late in the period, but was unable to finish.
Mueller nearly finished on a leg attack in the second period before Ampar countered for a takedown to lead 8-0. Mueller kept battling with an array of shots. He closed within 10-4 on a pair of pushouts in the final minute. Mueller finished on a leg attack for a late takedown before falling 10-6 to Ampar.
78 kilograms: Victoria Francis vs. Alexandria Glaude
Francis, a two-time world team member, battled Glaude, a U23 bronze medalist, in a matchup of top women's freestyle athletes. Francis took a 1-0 lead after Glaude was put on the shot clock for passivity. She followed with a pushout to lead 2-0.
Glaude shot in to start the second period, but Francis countered effectively and turned her opponent to lead 6-0. Francis followed with a pair of leg laces before winning 11-0 when the call was confirmed after a challenge. Francis looked strong after a slow start to the bout.
Heavyweight: Gable Steveson vs. Trent Hillger
The matchup of NCAA All-Americans Gable Steveson of Minnesota and Trent Hillger of Wisconsin was one that fans were eager to see. Steveson is an accomplished freestyle wrestler who owns two Cadet world titles and a Junior world title. And it showed.
Steveson is a mobile and explosive big man with excellent technique. He took charge early with a takedown near the edge of the mat. He followed with another powerful leg attack and pushout to lead 5-0. Steveson added a textbook underhook and knee pick to go up 9-0. He finished another takedown to notch a dominating 11-0 win and earn a quick first-period victory by technical superiority. Watch out for Gable Steveson in 2021. He could make a run at an Olympic medal. He's that good.
65 kilograms: Vladimir Khinchegashvili vs. Yianni Diakomihalis
The main event featured a veteran with outstanding credentials and a bright young star with an impressive resume of his own. Khinchegashvili, from the nation of Georgia, has won Olympic and world titles. Diakomiahlis is a two-time NCAA champion and two-time Cadet world champion.
Vladimir Khinchegashvili edged Yianni DiakomihalisKhinchegashvili jumped out in front with an early takedown and led 2-1 after the opening period. He fired in on a textbook low single en route to scoring those early points. His technique is superb, and his shots are crisp and precise.
Vlad won a scramble near the edge, locking around Yianni's body for a takedown to lead 4-1 with two minutes to go. Yianni came right back with a superb double-leg attack, finishing for a takedown to draw within 4-3.
Yianni scored a late pushout to tie it by 4-4, but Khinchegashvili won the match on criteria by virtue of scoring two takedowns.
Vlad has bumped up a couple of weight classes since his Olympic triumph in 2016, but he is still an excellent wrestler at age 29. Yianni is just 21, but he is very advanced for his age.
It was an entertaining bout between two excellent wrestlers. It would have been nice to see a tie match go into overtime, but it didn't happen. I would've liked to have seen the wrestlers open up more, but it was still a good match.
Beat the Streets has done an amazing job over the years and it was great to see all of the support that donors provided to that organization on Thursday. They always put on an excellent event and this was no exception.
BTS put together a good list of matchups and the quality of wrestling was top-notch. The Colon-Gross match alone was worth the price of admission. The rooftop venue with the view of the New York City skyline looked impressive.
Kudos to Beat the Streets for including women's matches on Thursday's card. The production by FloWrestling was much better than the previous event it showed during the pandemic. It's definitely great to see these live wrestling events -- let's keep them coming.
Craig Sesker has written about wrestling for more than three decades. He's covered three Olympic Games, written 10 books and is a two-time national wrestling writer of the year.