Braxton Amos at the 2021 Junior World Championships (Photo courtesy of Cliff Fretwell)
Day one at the Junior World Championships yielded one finalist for the men's freestyle squad, along with three others that are in bronze medal contention. Five men's freestyle brackets began action Monday from Ufa, Russia.
Wrestling for the gold medal tomorrow will be Wisconsin freshman Braxton Amos. For the most part, Amos was untested on day one. In his first match of the tournament, Amos was whipped through to his back by Yunus Gafurov (Kazakhstan), but quickly responded with a double leg for four points. He controlled the center of the mat for the duration of the bout and fended off any potential attacks from Gafurov. A takedown in the closing seconds made the final score 6-4 for Amos. The quarterfinals saw Amos dispatch Milan Korcsog (Hungary) in 4:24 seconds, 10-0. For a trip to the finals, Amos had another one-sided affair, this time against Deepak (India). After cruising to a 3-0 lead at the break, Amos blew the bout open in the second with exposure from a crotch-lock and then nearly pinned his Indian foe in a cradle.
For the gold medal, Amos will square off with Polat Polatci (Turkey), who earned his place in the finals after coming out on top in a wild semifinal. He earned a pair of exposure points at the buzzer to edge Ali Abdollah (Iran), 9-8.
Amos will pull ironman duties this week, as he is also competing in the Greco-Roman tournament at 97 kg. Regardless of the outcome of tomorrow's final, he'll have three days to rest and prepare for Greco.
The only other American to reach the semifinals was Penn State's Beau Bartlett at 65 kg. Bartlett outscored his first two opponents by a 23-1 margin, en route to the final four. More often than not, his hustle and motor earned him points. Bartlett was tripped up in the semifinals by Azerbaijan's Ziraddin Bayramov, 6-2. He'll face the winner of Mustafo Akhmedov (Tajikistan) and Giorgi Tcholadze (Georgia) in a bronze medal bout.
Also still in the medal hunt are Bryce Andonian (70 kg) and Donnell Washington (79 kg). Both met an Iranian opponent who later made the finals and the opening round. In each instance, the American wrestler gave the Iranian his toughest bout of the tournament.
Andonian will face Josely Dibo (Ivory Coast) in the first round of repechage matches. He'll need to win a second bout before competing for the bronze. Washington has Germany's Richard Schroeder. If Washington wins, he'll earn a berth in a bronze medal match.
Ali Gholi Zadegan Koloukhi (Iran) over Richard Figueroa (USA) 13-2
Beau Bartlett (USA) over Marcell Budai Kovacs (Hungary) 11-0
Beau Bartlett (USA) over Davit Margaryan (Armenia) 11-0
Ziraddin Bayramov (Azerbaijan) over Beau Bartlett 6-2
Efran Elahi (Iran) over Bryce Andonian (USA) 8-7
Mohammad Nokhodilarimi (Iran) over Donnell Washington (USA) 6-3
Braxton Amos (USA) over Yunus Gafurov (Kazakhstan) 6-4
Braxton Amos (USA) over Milan Gorcsog (Hungary) 10-0
Braxton Amos (USA) over Deepak (India) 9-1