Azerbaijan spoils USA party with 2 golds at U17 Worlds
Saturday, July 30, 2022 - 19:55 By Vinay Siwach
ROME, Italy (July 30) -- A month ago at the U17 European Championships, Vasif BAGHIROV (AZE) and Ilyas ISAYEV (AZE) were the breakout stars for Azerbaijan. Riding on their gold medals in Bucharest, Azerbaijan finished on top in the team rankings.
The two wrestlers continued their top form and earned world titles with equal dominance and helped the nation bounce back from a disastrous U17 World Championships in Budapest where Azerbaijan managed to win only three bronze medals.
They not only won the gold but also denied the USA to go four out of four in the finals.
Out of the four wrestlers in the finals on day six of the U17 World Championships, only one managed to win the gold medal for USA.
Apart from Baghirov and Isayev, Daryn ASKERBEK (KAZ) was the third wrestler to deny the USA a gold medal.
Vasif BAGHIROV (AZE) defeated Christian CASTILLO (USA) 5-3 in the 48kg final. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)
The night began with Baghirov wrestling Christian CASTILLO (USA) in the 48kg final which went close until the final 15 seconds. Baghirov led 1-1 on criteria and Castillo was looking for ideas.
In the semifinals, the USA wrestler had jumped over his semifinal opponent Arshia HADDADI (IRI) to score a takedown in the final second.
In the gold medal bout, however, there was no such last moment comeback as Baghirov kept Castillo's attempted head pinch at bay. Castillo landed on his back which gave Bahigrov four points. He got two for his exposure but the time ran out which gave Baghirov a 5-3 win.
Ilyas ISAYEV (AZE) added a world title to his European one after beating Tyler KASAK (USA) in the 65kg final. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)
The script for the second Azerbaijan-USA final was a lot similar. Ilyas ISAYEV (AZE) and Tyler KASAK (USA) were tied 3-3. Isayev, surprised by a stepout denied, continued the pressure and hit a single leg to drag Kasak out of bounds. The USA challenged the call claiming that the time ran out. But the clock still had two seconds left. Isayev led 5-3 and defended that lead for the final two seconds.
Isayev's gold helped Azerbaijan to number four in the team title race and winning all bouts Sunday may help them to reach the podium. However, it won't be able to win the title which is locked up by the USA. If defending champions India wins all its bout Sunday, it will finish second in the race.
Currently, Kazakhstan occupies the third spot after Askerbek won the gold at 55kg.
The decisive four-pointer which gave Daryn ASKERBEK (KAZ) the win over Jaxen FORREST (USA) in the 55kg final. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)
In perhaps the bout of the tournament, Askerbek and Jaxen FORREST (USA) slugged it till the final second but it was the Kazakhstan wrestler who came out on top 11-10.
At the start, Forrest led 6-0 and got involved in a scramble which resulted in a 2-2 and reversal for Forrest, who now led 7-2. Askerbek went for a headlock for four at a crucial moment. A reversal gave Forrest an 8-6 lead.
Forrest, thinking of defending the two-point lead, gave up another headlock for four. The USA challenged the call with a question about Askerbek's action initiating outside the zone. But on review, it appeared that the action began inside. Forrest managed to score a takedown but still lost 11-10.
Koy HOPKE (USA) celebrates after defeating Levan LAGVILAVA (FRA) 11-6 in the 110kg final. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)
After three disappointing finals, Koy HOPKE (USA) managed to bring a smile to the USA camp as he defeated Levan LAGVILAVA (FRA), 11-6, in the 110kg final. With the win, he also denied France its first-ever U17 world champion.
Hopke had to stage a comeback against Lagvilava who at one point led 4-1. The USA wrestler scored a takedown just in the nick of time to cut the lead 4-3 at the break.
Like his quarterfinal and semifinal, Lagvilava struggled with his conditioning. He managed to hang on to wins in those bouts but not against Hopke who took the lead in the second period. His relentless attacks ultimately proved too much for his opponent as Hopke won 11-6 to continue the USA's record of having a world champion since 2011.
Sachin MOR (IND) celebrates after winning the gold at 80kg. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)
India only had one wrestler in the final and Sachin MOR (IND) made it count by winning the gold at 80kg in some fashion.
Wrestling Reza SOLEIMANIAN (IRI) in the final, he began with a four-point move and almost got the pin when Soleimanian poked his fingers in Mor's face. That negative wrestling made the score 6-2 in Mor's favor and the bout restarted in par terre.
In the second period, Mor gave up a takedown after a long defensive sequence. However, that was the only action Soleimanian managed in the final which Mor won 6-3.
Luke LILLEDAHL (USA), silver medalist form 2021, made it to his second straight U17 Worlds final. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)
USA lead team race
Like it did on day five, the USA sent four more wrestlers into the finals. Iran will now hope to win at least one gold at the U17 Worlds after entering two wrestlers for the Sunday finals. Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Italy and Hungary managed to send a wrestler each into the gold medal bout as well.
Returning silver medalist Luke LILLEDAHL (USA) will look to upgrade his medal to gold when he wrestles Mohammad Reza ASADI (IRI) in the 51kg final. The USA wrestler was up against Asian champion Nurdanat AITANOV (KAZ) in the semifinal and came out with a 4-1 win after some smart defense.
Asadi, who was silver to Aitanov in Bishkek, steamrolled his competition including a 12-2 win over Elman AGHAYEV (AZE), the U17 champion of Europe.
Ebrahim ELAHI (IRI) defeated Nikhil PILANAGOILA (IND) 5-4 in the 60kg semifinal. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)
At 60kg, Bilol SHARIP UULU (KGZ) will look to add a world title to his Asian gold. But for that, he will have to beat Ebrahim ELAHI (IRI) who defeated Nikhil PILANAGOILA (IND) 5-4 in a thrilling semifinal.
Sharip Uulu battled it past Taiga OGINO (JPN) 7-2 in the semifinal.
Iran could have had a third finalist but Domenic MUNARETTO (USA) defeated Asian silver medalist Amirmohammad NAVAZI (IRI), 8-2, in the semifinal. He will now face Bashir VERDIYEV (AZE) for the gold after the Azerbaijan wrestler pinned Constantin RUSU (MDA).
Raul CASO (ITA) will look to become Italy's first U17 world champion in freestyle after 39 years after he entered the 71kg final against Joseph SEALEY (USA).
Caso looked a formidable force in Rome and backed by the home fans, he managed to pull off a close 2-1 win against Aghanazar NOVRUZOV (AZE). But Sealey won't be an easy opponent. He has outscored his opponents 43-1 in the four bouts including an 11-0 win over Razmik YEPREMYAN (ARM) in the semifinals.
Musza ARSUNKAEV (HUN) won the 92kg semifinal against Erfan ALIZADEH (IRI), 7-4. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)
The final gold medal bout pair includes returning bronze medalist Kamil KURUGLIYEV (KAZ) and Musza ARSUNKAEV (HUN). Going a step further from his '21 run, Kamil KURUGLIYEV (KAZ) managed to beat Maxwell MCENELLY (USA), 12-2, in the semifinals and reach the final.
Musza ARSUNKAEV (HUN), looking to become Hungary's first freestyle champion at U17 Worlds after 1989, defeated Erfan ALIZADEH (IRI), 7-4, in the other semifinal.
GOLD: Vasif BAGHIROV (AZE) df. Christian CASTILLO (USA), 5-3
BRONZE: Lalit KUMAR (IND) df. Ramil RASSIM (KAZ), 10-0
BRONZE: Arshia HADDADI (IRI) df. Rassoul GALBOURAEV (FRA), 11-0
GOLD: Daryn ASKERBEK (KAZ) df. Jaxen FORREST (USA), 11-10
BRONZE: Husanboy USMONOV (UZB) df. Jannis REBHOLZ (GER), 10-0
BRONZE: Vaibhav PATIL (IND) df. Takuto OSEDO (JPN), 5-0
GOLD: Ilyas ISAYEV (AZE) df. Tyler KASAK (USA), 5-3
BRONZE: Goga OTINASHVILI (GEO) df. Aikyn BOLATULY (KAZ), 8-6
BRONZE: ANKIT (IND) df. Bohdan OLIINYK (UKR), 11-2
GOLD: Sachin MOR (IND) df. Reza SOLEIMANIAN (IRI), 6-3
BRONZE: Zackary RYDER (USA) df. Muhammadamin ABDULOEV (TJK), 8-0
BRONZE: Alexandru BORS (MDA) df. Yehor HOROKH (UKR), 4-1
GOLD: Koy HOPKE (USA) df. Levan LAGVILAVA (FRA), 11-6
BRONZE: Khikmatullo KURBONOV (UZB) df. Ramini GULITASHVILI (GEO), 3-2
BRONZE: Jaspooran SINGH (IND) df. Mohammadreza LOTFI (IRI), 4-0
GOLD: Domenic MUNARETTO (USA) vs. Bashir VERDIYEV (AZE)
SF 1: Domenic MUNARETTO (USA) df. Amirmohammad NAVAZI (IRI), 8-2
SF 2: Bashir VERDIYEV (AZE) df. Constantin RUSU (MDA), via fall
GOLD: Luke LILLEDAHL (USA) vs Mohammad Reza ASADI (IRI)
SF 1: Luke LILLEDAHL (USA) df. Nurdanat AITANOV (KAZ), 4-1
SF 2: Mohammad Reza ASADI (IRI) df. Elman AGHAYEV (AZE), 12-2
GOLD: Ebrahim ELAHI (IRI) vs. Bilol SHARIP UULU (KGZ)
SF 1: Ebrahim ELAHI (IRI) df. Nikhil PILANAGOILA (IND), 5-4
SF 2: Bilol SHARIP UULU (KGZ) df. Taiga OGINO (JPN), 7-2
GOLD: Joseph SEALEY (USA) vs Raul CASO (ITA)
SF 1: Joseph SEALEY (USA) df. Razmik YEPREMYAN (ARM), 11-0
SF 2: Raul CASO (ITA) df. Aghanazar NOVRUZOV (AZE), 2-1
GOLD: Kamil KURUGLIYEV (KAZ) vs Musza ARSUNKAEV (HUN)
SF 1: Kamil KURUGLIYEV (KAZ) df. Maxwell MCENELLY (USA), 12-2
Sf 2: Musza ARSUNKAEV (HUN) df. Erfan ALIZADEH (IRI), 7-4