Olympic Silver Medalist Higuchi Rallies to Make U23 World Finals

By Taylor Miller

Photo of Rei HIGUCHI (JPN) by Martin Gabor. 

BUCHAREST, Romania – Friday night’s U23 World Championships semifinals provided a lot of excitement as it determined the first five gold-medal matches in men’s freestyle in Bucharest, Romania.

At 65kg, 2016 Olympic silver medalist Rei HIGUCHI (JPN) scored a takedown with 14 seconds left in the match to defeat Morteza GHIASI CHEKA (IRI) to advance to the finals.

Waiting for him in tomorrow’s gold match is 2018 Yasar Dogu runner-up Ali RAHIMZADE (AZE), who took out Roman ASHARIN (HUN), 5-3.

For 97 kg gold, 2017 Junior World silver medalist Givi MATCHARASHVILI (GEO) will take on 2017 Junior World bronze medalist Kollin MOORE (USA). The two last met up in the 2017 Junior World semifinals, with Matcharashvili taking a 16-4 win.

In the semifinals, Matcharashvili made work of Ali SHABANIBENGAR (IRI), producing a 10-0 technical fall, while on the side of the bracket, Moore battled back from an 8-2 deficit to defeat Magamed ZAKARIIEV (UKR), 10-8.

At 70 kg, 2017 Junior World champion and 2014 Cadet World champion David BAEV (RUS) edged out 2016 Junior World champion Enes USLU (TUR) on a caution-and-one call that was made after time ran out in the 70 kg semifinals. At the end of the match, the scoreboard read in favor of Uslu on criteria, but Russia’s corner challenged, asking for a caution and one for fleeing. The challenge ruled in favor of Baev and he advanced to the finals with a 7-6 win.

In the 70 kg gold-medal bout, Baev will take on Taimuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK), who dominated 2017 World Military runner-up Oleksii BORUTA (UKR), 9-0, in the other semifinal.

The 79 kg semifinals featured a couple of shutout wins as Nika KENTCHADZE (GEO) defeated 2014 Youth Olympic Games champion Yajuro YAMASAKI (JPN), 4-0, and 2015 Junior World champion Gadzhi NABIEV (RUS) blanked 2017 Junior World runner-up Isa SHAPIEV (UZB), 5-0, making tomorrow’s 79 kg gold-medal match a battle of Junior World medalists.

Tomorrow’s finals at 57 kg will feature 2013 Cadet World bronze medalist Toshihiro HASEGAWA (JPN) and Kumar RAVI (IND).

Ravi tallied a 10-8 win over 2017 Junior Asian champion Jahongirmirza TUROBOV (UZB) to advance to the finals, while Hasegawa had a come-from-behind win over Wahnhao ZOU (CHN), 5-2.

Saturday’s finals are set for 6 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET) live on unitedworldwrestling.org.

Finals matchups
57 kg: Toshihiro HASEGAWA (JPN) vs. Kumar RAVI (IND)
65 kg: Ali RAHIMZADE (AZE) vs. Rei HIGUCHI (JPN)
70 kg: David BAEV (RUS) vs. Taimuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK)
79 kg: Nika KENTCHADZE (GEO) vs. Gadzhi NABIEV (RUS)
97 kg: Givi MATCHARASHVILI (GEO) vs. Kollin MOORE (USA)

Semifinals results

57 kg
Toshihiro HASEGAWA (JPN) df. Wanhao ZOU (CHN) 5-2
Kumar RAVI (IND) df. Jahongirmirza TUROBOV (UZB), 10-8

65 kg
Ali RAHIMZADE (AZE) df. Roman ASHARIN (HUN), 5-3
Rei HIGUCHI (JPN) df. Morteza GHIASI CHEKA (IRI), 4-4

70 kg
David BAEV (RUS) df. Enes USLU (TUR), 7-6
Taimuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK) df. Oleksii BORUTA (UKR), 9-0

79 kg
Nika KENTCHADZE (GEO) df. Yajuro YAMASAKI (JPN), 4-0
Gadzhi NABIEV (RUS) df. Isa SHAPIEV (UZB), 5-0

97 kg
Kollin MOORE (USA) df. Magamed ZAKARIIEV (UKR), 10-8


Russia Wins Two Golds on Sunday, Claims #BuchaWrestU23 Team Title

By Taylor Miller

BUCHAREST, Romania – Russia claimed the men’s freestyle team title, producing two champions on Sunday night at the 2018 U23 World Championships in Bucharest, Romania.

2018 U23 European champion Magomedrasul IDRISOV (RUS) began the night with a gold medal for Russia, defeating Sean FAUSZ (USA), 11-1, in the 61 kg finals, fueled by three takedowns in the second period.

At 74 kg, Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO) made his second World finals appearance in just a few weeks after claiming silver at the 2018 Senior World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, last month.

This time, he topped the podium, sticking host country’s Maxim VASILIOGLO (ROU) in the first period at the 1:51 mark.

Winning the crown at 86 kg was Kamran GHASEMPOUR (IRI), a 2013 Cadet World bronze medalist. Ghasempour controlled the entire match, giving up only one point to 2017 Junior World champion Artur NAIFONOV (RUS) in a 4-1 win.

Scoring 10 points in the second period, 2018 U23 European champion Shamil ZUBAIROV (AZE) toppled Aslanbek SOTIEV (RUS) with a 13-8 comeback win for the World title at 92 kg.

In the last 90 seconds, Zubairov scored two takedowns plus exposure points to get ahead.

Ending the night with another gold medal for Russia was 2015 Junior World champion Said GAMIDOV (RUS), who pinned Youssif HEMIDA (USA) in 2:07 for his second age-group World title.

Sending five to Sunday’s medal matches, Iran went 4-1, picking up one gold and three bronzes to earn a spot on the podium, taking third with 105 points. Georgia finished second in the team race with 108 points. Rounding out the top five was Japan and USA.

Final results

61 kg
GOLD: Magomedrasul IDRISOV (RUS) df. Sean FAUSZ (USA), 11-1
BRONZE: Minghu LIU (CHN) df. Iman Mokhtar SADEGHIKOUKANDEH (IRI), 3-3

74 kg
GOLD: Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO) df. Maxim VASILIOGLO (ROU), fall
BRONZE: Timur BIZHOEV (RUS) df. Akhsarbek GULAEV (SVK), 5-2
BRONZE: Navid ZANGANEH (IRI) df. Andranik GABRIELYAN (ARM), 10-0

86 kg
BRONZE: Murad SULEYMANOV (AZE) df. Alexander MOORE (CAN), 10-0
BRONZE: Gankhuyag GANBAATAR (MGL) df. Arif OZEN (TUR), 4-1

92 kg
GOLD: Shamil ZUBAIROV (AZE) df. Aslanbek SOTIEV (RUS), 13-8
BRONZE: Bohdan HRYTSAY (UKR) df. Sargis HOVSEPYAN (ARM), 4-0

125 kg
GOLD: Said GAMIDOV (RUS) df. Youssif HEMIDA (USA), fall
BRONZE: Amin TAHERI (IRI) df. Kamil Tomasz KOSCIOLEK (POL), fall
BRONZE: Rolandi ANDRIADZE (GEO) df. Yasuhiro YAMAMOTO (JPN), 4-0

Team results
1. Russia – 181
2. Georgia – 108
3. Iran – 105
4. Japan – 93
5. USA – 92