Jesse Porter throws Marciano Ali for four points (Photo/Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
On day three of the World Olympic Games Qualifier, it was the Greco-Roman wrestlers who took center stage. The United States sent two athletes to Sofia, Bulgaria, in search of a berth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Jesse Porter (77 kg) and Adam Coon (130 kg). The qualify for the Olympics, both needed to make the finals at their respective weights.
Porter had a difficult time just getting to compete in the event. His airline claimed Porter did not have the proper Covid documentation to make the flight. While Porter didn't arrive in an optimal time for a competition of this significance, he didn't show any signs of jetlag in his first bout. After his opponent, Marciano Ali (Puerto Rico), was hit for passivity, Porter hit a picturesque lift and throw to blow the match open, 5-0. He added another four-point throw to close the bout out, 9-0.
Porter's opening round victory set the stage for a meeting in the Round of 16 with Fatih Cengiz (Turkey). A 2017 World bronze medalist and U23 World champion, Cengiz was tabbed as one of the key contenders pre-tournament. Late in the first period, down 1-0, Porter attempted a throw and was countered by his Turkish counterpart. That sequence also resulted in a caution for Porter, who would trail 5-0 at the break. The American tried for a late throw attempt but was thwarted by Cengiz, who went on to win 7-0.
At 130 kg, Adam Coon was paired off with 2016 Olympian Murat Ramonov (Kyrgyzstan). Coon got on the board first with a point for a step-out. Ramonov then tried to go on the offensive with a headlock attempt. The 2018 World silver medalist, Coon, was able to stop the attack and put Ramonov on his back for the fall.
That initial win propelled Coon into the quarterfinals, where he would face Mykola Kuchmii (Ukraine). The Ukrainian was third at the European Championships in 2020 and the Euro Games the previous year. Just under a minute into the bout, Kuchmii took a commanding 4-0 lead with an arm throw. He added another point before the break as Coon was hit for passivity. In the second stanza, Coon came out aggressive and pushed the pace against the Ukrainian. Points for a step out and a caution put the American back in the match at 6-3, but he could not pull any closer.
Neither American was able to qualify for the Games, so the men's Greco-Roman team will only send four members to Tokyo. Ildar Hafizov, Alejandro Sancho, John Stefanowicz, and G'Angelo Hancock.