#WrestleOslo: Vlasov Makes Up for Tokyo Snub with 1st World Title Since 2015

By Ken Marantz

OSLO, Norway (October 8) -- Denied a chance to go for a third Olympic gold earlier this year, Roman VLASOV (RWF) made sure he would not miss out on a third world title and first in six years.

Vlasov chalked up a meticulous and hard-fought 2-1 victory over 2020 European champion Sanan SULEYMANOV (AZE) to take the 77kg gold in one of four Greco-Roman finals on the seventh day of the World Championships in Oslo on Friday night.

"I was super tired, I couldn't even celebrate as I usually do," Vlasov said. "I left all my power and energy on the mat."

Olympic bronze medalist Rafig HUSEYNOV (AZE) made a successful return to his natural weight of 82kg to take an elusive first world gold, while Armenia ended a four-year gold drought with a victory at 82kg and a Japanese took the lightest 55kg title.

Vlasov, a gold medalist at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympics, was left devastated when he was passed over for a place on the Russian Olympic Committee team at the Tokyo Olympics after losing in the semifinals of the Poland Open in June.

Roman VLASOVRoman VLASOV (RWF) won his third world title in Oslo. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

He had considered ending his career. But the desire to achieve his dream of matching the legendary Alexander KARELIN (RWF) with three Olympic golds inspired him to reset his sights for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Like his hero Karelin, Vlasov is a native of Novosibirsk in southwestern Siberia and was mentored by the great coach Viktor KUZNETSOV.

Oslo would be the first stop on the long road to Paris, as it would provide confirmation that he could live up to his own expectations. A world champion in 2011 and 2015, he finished out of the medals in 2017 and 2019.

"The last time I won the world championships was in 2015, before in 2011. It’s been a long time," Vlasov said. "I missed these emotions. To be the best in the world is the thing I’ve been dreaming about. It’s the thing I think about when I wake up in the morning before going to training."

After barreling through the rounds, winning each of his four matches by at least seven points, Vlasov found a formidable foe in Suleymanov, this year's 2021 European bronze medalist and the 2019 world U23 silver medalist.

Vlasov, a four-time European champion who turned 31 on Wednesday, had the first chance in par terre, but could only get a 1-point stepout after walking the airborne Suleymanov over the edge.

But Suleymanov had no answer when the roles were reversed in the second period, and Vlasov clinched the win when he deftly evaded a stepout attempt in the final 20 seconds.

"The final match did not go as planned," Vlasov said. "I had to wrestle super hard to keep that one point scored. Patience brought the gold."

Patience and appreciation of each victory along the way are what will look to get him to the Paris Games, a lesson he learned from the Tokyo debacle.

"The last Olympic cycle I made the mistake of counting down the days to the Olympics," Vlasov said. "This time I just enjoy every title. Today I am the happiest man on Earth, tomorrow we’ll be the new day, the new qualification for the new world championships.

"The Olympics are the dream of every athlete. I’ve been there twice, and I want to become a three-time Olympic champion. But it’s better not to go ahead of time."

Rafiq HUSEYNOVRafiq HUSEYNOV (AZE) is now a three-time World medalist. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Huseynov had dropped down to 77kg to take a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, but returned to 82kg and improved on his silver medal at the 2019 World Championships in Nursultan.

In an intense defensive struggle, Huseynov held on for 2-1 victory over 2017 world U23 champion Burhan AKBUDAK (TUR) in which an unsuccessful challenge provided the margin of victory.

"Finally, I am world champion," said Huseynov, the 2020 European champion. "I [said] two months ago that I wanted to create history, become world champion and I did it. Now I can wrestle to enjoy, like a hobby."

Both wrestlers received passivity points, Akbudak in the first period and Huseynov in the second. But Akbudak made a tactical error in the par terre position when he had Huseynov in the air at the edge, but failed to throw him before the two tumbled out of bounds.

The Turkish side made a challenge of the call, but it stood and Huseynov was awarded a point that would prove costly to Akbudak.

It was third straight one-point victory of the tournament for Huseynov, who also had a 2-1 in the semifinals the previous day over Adlan AKIEV (RWF).

"My semifinal was much harder than this because the Russian guy is the European champion," Huseynov said. "I think that the final was not as hard for me as the semifinal. It was easy for me. I won and I am very happy."

The multilingual Huseynov, who was born in Tashkent, said he had considered making a farewell to the sport at the Oslo worlds, but was told by his father to give it more time before making a decision.

"Before this match, I spoke to my father yesterday and I told him that I want to finish and get out the wrestling shoes," said Huseynov, referring to the tradition of a wrestler leaving their shoes on the mat after their last match. "But he says, hey man you will rest for five or six months, but after that you may want to wrestle.

"I understand that he doesn't want me to finish and that's why he said that. I don't know. I want to be the coach of the Azerbaijan team, but if the federation wants me to wrestle until the Olympic Games, I will wrestle. I love wrestling. It's not my job but my lifestyle."

Ken MATSUIKen MATSUI (JPN) won the 55kg world title in Oslo. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

At 55kg, Ken MATSUI (JPN) won the gold in his senior world debut with a masterful 7-1 victory over European champion Emin SEFERSHAEV (RWF) that left no one more surprised than the Japanese collegian himself.

"I never thought I could win the title, I'm the most surprised," Matsui said. Asked why, he replied, "I watched YouTube video of my opponent, and he was someone I looked up to, but I was still able to compete with him."

Given, however, Japan's recent history in the lightweights and the tradition of his university to produce them, his triumph might not be so shocking after all.

Matsui is a student at Nippon Sports Science University, which counts among its alumni Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) and Shinobu OTA (JPN), both 2019 world champions and both Olympic silver medalists.

"NSSU provides a great environment for training," Matsui said. "The people around me are great, my teammates and coaches, and I am taught well. That's why I believe I was able to win."

Fumita won his silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics (Ota's came in Rio), but like all of the Japanese Olympians, he did not enter the two domestic qualifying tournaments used for the Oslo worlds, the Meiji Cup and Emperor's Cup. That opened the door for younger wrestlers to gain valuable experience.

Ken MATSUIKen MATSUI (JPN) defeated 2020 Individual World Cup winner Emin SEFERSHAEV (RWF). (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

The 20-year-old Matsui made the team by default after he won the Meiji Cup, and three-time national champion Hiromu KATAGIRI (JPN), the winner of the Emperor's, decided to retire after graduating from college and entering a company without a wrestling connection.

But Matsui was not a complete international novice, having won the 2017 world cadet title and finishing third at the 2019 world juniors.

"I know that the lightweight class is one that a Japanese can win," Matsui said of his thoughts before the final. "It's rare, but I thought I could become the one who won."

Matsui got a break when Sefershaev twice threw him from the par terre, but in both instances the points were waived off because his grip had slipped below the waist.

"In the ground position, [his throws] got called for legs, so that was lucky," Matsui said. "To keep him to no points on the ground was the key to the victory."

Down by a point in the second period, Matsui took advantage of the par terre and scored with a reverse lift for a 3-1 lead.

After Sefershaev had his second throw annulled, he tried a desperation over-the-top leap with a minute left, but Matsui reacted well and dumped him to the mat for another 2. A spin behind in the final seconds finished the scoring.

Asked if he felt pressure appearing in the final of his senior world debut, Matsui replied, "I thought just keep it simple and enjoy it, but it actually wasn't much fun. But it was good."

Following in Fumita's footsteps as a world champion only adds to the thrill. He has already surpassed the star in one aspect -- at 20 years 8 months, he becomes Japan's youngest-ever world Greco champion, exactly one year younger than Fumita was when he won the first of his two world titles in 2017.

"I've always thought he's so amazing, and to think I might be a little closer to him, I'm happy," Matsui said.

Malkas AMOYANMalkhas AMOYAN (ARM) claimed the 72kg after beating Sergei KUTUZOV (RWF). (Photo: UWW / Tony Rotundo)

At 72kg, European U23 champion Malkhas AMOYAN (ARM) scored all of his points in the first period in the par terre position and made that lead stand up in a 3-0 victory over Sergei KUTUZOV (RWF).

"Honestly speaking, I don’t feel anything yet," said Amoyan, a 2018 world junior champion. "I’ve done it for my family, for my coaches, for my friends, for all those people who support me."

The victory, a repeat of Amoyan's 4-1 win over Kutuzov in the semifinals at the Euro U23 in May, gave Armenia its first world title since the legendary Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) won the last of his four straight at 98kg in 2017.

"The Russian wrestler is really strong," Amoyan said. "I wrestled him at the European U23 championship, I know his wrestling style. I talked to the coaches before the final match, they told me to be ready to wrestle for six minutes for my dream. I have done so and won."

Amoyan, a self-professed fan of Vlasov, credited losses in the finals at this year's European Championships and last year's Individual World Cup as providing the motivation to get him over the top.

"I lost 2 tournaments, the finals of the European championships and World Cup. If I hadn’t lost those finals, I wouldn’t win today’s final."

Amoyan said he plans to move up to the Olympic weight of 77kg. "My dream is to become an Olympic champion," he said.

In the bronze-medal matches, 2019 world champion Nugzari TSURTSUMIA (GEO) shook off his first-round loss to Sefershaev by taking home his third world medal at 55kg with a 9-0 technical fall over Norayr HAKHOYAN (ARM).

Tsurtsumia led 3-0 off the par terre before scoring an arm drag takedown, which he followed with a 4-point lift and dump to end the match at 2:21 and relegate Hakhoyan to a second world fifth-place finish.

The 24-year-old Tsurtsumia, the 2018 world U23 champion, also took a bronze at the 2018 senior worlds, and is a two-time European bronze medalist.

AzizliEldaniz AZIZLI (AZE), left, won a bronze medal at 55kg. (Photo: UWW / Tony Rotundo)

In the other 55kg match, 2018 world champion Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE) scored a roll off the par terre in the first period and added a spin-behind takedown in the second to defeat European silver medalist Ekrem OZTURK (TUR) 5-2.

Kristupas SLEIVA (LTU) gave Lithuania its fourth world Greco medal in history and first since 2014 with an amazing array of throws in a 10-1 technical fall of Mohammad MOKHTARI (IRI) at 72kg.

Sleiva, a 2020 European 67kg bronze medalist, opened with an arm throw for 2, then added a front headlock lift for 2 more. Then, with the Iranian pressing forward, he launched a 4-point lateral drop before finishing off the match in 1:40 with a takedown off a flurry.

The other 72kg match was a much more staid affair, with Gevorg SAHAKYAN (POL) winning 1-1 on last-point criteria against Cengiz ARSLAN (TUR) after each scored a passivity point.

At 77kg, Mohammadali GERAEI (IRI) took a page from the playbook that Shohei YABIKU (JPN) used to beat him for the bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, flipping Tamas LEVAI (HUN) over for the first of two 4-point moves in quick 9-0 technical fall.

Geraei picked up his third world bronze, adding to the ones he took home in 2017 and 2019, by overwhelming Levai, the 2019 European champion and two-time European U23 silver medalist.

The other 77kg bronze went to 2019 European silver medalist Roland SCHWARZ (GER), who battled back from an 0-5 deficit to defeat Tsimur BERDYIEU (BLR) 10-5.

Schwarz scored six points with a pair of throws from the par terre in the second period to deny Berdyieu, who also finished fifth at the 2015 worlds.

The strangest ending to a match came at 82kg, when Adlan AKIEV (RWF) finished off an 8-0 technical fall when 2019 world silver medalist Alex KESSIDIS (SWE) was assessed a 2-point penalty for improper arm positioning on the bottom of par terre.

Akiev, this year's European champion, scored half of his points on penalties, as Kessidis was flagged for using the legs as he tried to defend against a throw by Akiev.

In the other 82kg match, Pejman POSHTAM (IRI) gave Iran a second bronze of the night when the Asian 77kg champion scored an early arm drag takedown, then received a pair of passivity points to down 2016 world bronze medalist Laszlo SZABO (HUN) 4-0.

Oslo WorldsThe four medalists at the 82kg weight class in Oslo. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Day 7 Results


55kg (16 entries)

BRONZE: Nugzari TSURTSUMIA (GEO) df. Norayr HAKHOYAN (ARM), by TF 9-0, 2:21
BRONZE: Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE) df. Ekrem OZTURK (TUR), 5-2

60kg (19 entries)
Semifinal: Victor CIOBANU (MDA) df. Gevorg GHARIBYAN (ARM), 9-7
Semifinal: Zholaman SHARSHENBEKOV (KGZ) df. Mehrdad MAMMADOV (AZE), 4-2

72kg (27 entries)
GOLD: Malkhas AMOYAN (ARM) df. Sergei KUTUZOV (RWF), 3-1

BRONZE: Gevorg SAHAKYAN (POL) df. Cengiz ARSLAN (TUR), 1-1
BRONZE: Kristupas SLEIVA (LTU) df. Mohammad MOKHTARI (IRI) by TF, 10-1, 1:40

77kg (31 entries)
GOLD: Roman VLASOV (RWF) df. Sanan SULEYMANOV (AZE), 2-1

BRONZE: Roland SCHWARZ (GER) df. Tsimur BERDYIEU (BLR), 10-5
BRONZE: Mohammadali GERAEI (IRI) df. Tamas LEVAI (HUN) by TF, 9-0, 1:58

82kg (27 entries)
GOLD: Rafig HUSEYNOV (AZE) df. Burhan AKBUDAK (TUR), 2-1

BRONZE: Adlan AKIEV (RWF) df. Alex KESSIDIS (SWE) by TF, 8-0, 2:11
BRONZE: Pejman POSHTAM (IRI) df. Laszlo SZABO (HUN), 4-0

97kg (27 entries)
Semifinal: Mohammadhadi SARAVI (IRI) df. Nikoloz KAKHESLASHVILI (GEO), 5-0
Semifinal: Alex SZOKE (HUN) df. Gangelo HANCOCK (USA), 4-4

130kg (22 entries)
Semifinal: Zurabi GEDEKHAURI (RWF) df. Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO), 2-1
Semifinal: Aliakbar YOUSOFIAHMADCHALI (IRI) df. Yasmani ACOSTA (CHI), 2-1


#WrestleOslo Top Historical Moments: Sadulaev, Geraei Double Up; Moldova Claims Firsts

By Vinay Siwach

OSLO, Norway (October 19) -- After the World Championships in Oslo, an uncharacteristic number of wrestlers etched their names in wrestling's history books. 

For the first time in wrestling's tradition-rich history, the World Championships and Olympics took place in the same year, which led few with the opportunity to become a champion at both events. Then, a few first-timers reached the pinnacle in Oslo. 

Here are the top moments from the annual event.

FS 97kg - Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RWF)


Abdulrashid SADULAEV (RWF) is chasing history and greatness. He became a two-time Olympic champion in Tokyo after winning the 97kg gold medal, adding to his 86kg gold from Rio.

In 2021, once the IOC announced the postponement of the Tokyo Games, it provided a unique opportunity for Sadulaev to win an Olympic and World Championships medal in the same year. A gold in both tournaments may well give the wrestlers extra motivation to wrestle at the highest level twice in two months.

Sadulaev did precisely that. After capturing the gold in Tokyo, he wrestled his arch-rival Kyle SNYDER (USA) in the 97kg final in Oslo, Norway and came home with a gold medal, making him the only freestyle wrestler to achieve the rare feat.

The Russian Wrestling Federation wrestler has seven World or Olympic gold medals. He's tied for fourth on the all-time list, which Alexander MEDVED leads with ten combined gold medals from Worlds or Olympics. Three former wrestlers have eight gold medals, while Buvaisar SAITIEV (RWF) sits number two with nine titles.

In a rematch of the Olympics final, Sadulaev won 6-3. He handed Snyder a 6-0 loss in Oslo and improved the head-to-head record to 3-1. His lone defeated came in 2017 at the Paris World Championships.

GR 67kg - Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI)


Like Sadulaev, Mohammadreza GERAEI (IRI) also wrote his name in history books after becoming an Olympic and world champion in the same year.

He won the top medal at the 67kg Greco-Roman weight class in Oslo, two months after Tokyo.

Geraei, the younger brother of world medalist at 77kg Mohammadali, was the only Olympic champion entered in the Greco-Roman. He proved why he's Iran's next superstar.

The U23 world champion burst into the scene when he won the senior Asian title in 2019 and followed that with the U23 world title. Earlier this year, he claimed the gold at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers and later the Olympics.

In Oslo, Geraei kept his fans on the edge of their seats. On multiple occasions, his bouts ended in a close affair. In the first bout against Tsuchika SHIMOYAMADA (JPN), he trailed 6-1 in the second period before the Japan wrestler went for a big throw but got caught in the move and Geraei secured a pin. In the semifinal, Geraei defeated Ramaz ZOIDZE (GEO), 7-6, after the Georgian was cautioned twice for fleeing, giving up four points. He defeated Nazir ABDULLAEV (RWF) 5-2 in the final.

WW 65kg - Irina RINGACI (MDA)


For the 18 years Moldova participated in women's wrestling at the World Championships, they never won a medal. However, in Oslo, they had two. 

Irina RINGACI (MDA) won the country's first-ever world title in women's wrestling, while Iulia LEORDA (MDA) ended with a silver medal. Ringaci outperformed her 65kg rivals and claimed her second world title in less than two months.

Ringaci, who came to Oslo after winning the junior world title in August, defeated Miwa MORIKAWA (JPN) 8-6 in the final. Earlier in the semifinal, she had a close call when she secured a fall over Tokyo Olympian Mimi HRITSOVA (BUL). Trailing 8-0, she completed a big throw for four and then kept the Bulgarian on her back to win.

Since winning the silver at the 2020 Individual World Cup in 2020, Rigaci has been on a stellar run which includes winning the senior and U23 European titles.

But the 20-year-old pioneer of Moldovan women's wrestling has already racked up wins at the senior level and will not be a pushover in the coming years.

GR 60kg - Victor CIOBANU (MDA)


It was a historical final and Victor CIOBANU (MDA) came out on top. The Moldovan wrestler won the gold medal at the 60kg weight class in Oslo, Norway, thus denying Zholaman SHARSHENBEKOV (KGZ) and Kyrgzstan its first-ever Greco-Roman senior world title.

Ciobanu came close to winning the title in 2018 but reversed his luck this year and with his high-scoring throws, won 9-3 in the final. Sharshenbekov now has two silver medals from the World Championships as his country waits for the gold.

Earlier this year, the Moldova wrestler ended a 25-year-wait for his country to send a wrestler to the Olympics, and he came agonizingly close to winning a medal as well.

He wrestled Sharshenbekov in Tokyo as well and blanked him 9-0 in the quarterfinals.

Apart from the final, Ciobanu had a great run throughout the tournament. He began with a win over Zhora ABOVIAN (UKR), then defeated 2018 world champion Stepan MARYANYAN (RWF) and later won against Gevorg GHARIBYAN (ARM) in the semifinal. Barring the first match, his bouts were close-affairs as he beat Maryanyan, 7-6, and Gharibyan, 9-6.

With Ciobanu's win, Moldova now has atleast one senior world champion in each of the three wrestling styles.

FS 70kg - Mogomedmurad GADHIEV (POL)


The Russian Wrestling Federation dominated the freestyle competition, along with the USA and Iran. But among the three wrestling powerhouses, Poland had its first world champion in freestyle as Magomedmurad GADHIEV (POL) claimed the gold medal at the 70kg weight class.

Ever since his first senior World Championships in 2015, Gadzhiev had won two medals, including a silver in 2017 and a bronze medal at the 2019 edition.

But in a bid to qualify for the Olympics, the European champion dropped down to 65kg but failed to medal there. However, he came back to 70kg and claimed the gold medal in Oslo after beating Ernazar AKHMATALIEV (KGZ) in the final.

In the quarterfinal, he had to go past 2017 world champion Zurabi IAKOBISHVILI (GEO), 4-1, and the U23 world champion Turan BAYRAMOV (AZE), 4-2, in the semifinal.

In 2020, he claimed the gold medal at the Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia at 70kg. The veteran was a former Russian Wrestling Federation wrestler till 2012 and also won a junior world title in 2008.

Before Gadzhiev, Pawel KURCZEWSKI (POL) in 1971, Wladyslaw STECYK (POL) in 1977, Marian SKUBAZ (POL) in 1981, Adam SANDURSKI (POL) in 1982 and 1983, and Marek GARMULEWICZ (POL) in 1998 had reached the final but fell short to claim the coveted gold.

WW 76kg - Samar HAMZA (EGY)


Samar HAMZA (EGY) could have retired after the Olympics (she did for a brief time), and yet she would have been the most successful women's wrestler from her country. But she decided to wrestle one more time at the Senior World Championships in Oslo.

The only female wrestler to compete at the Olympics for her country, Hamza improved her resume after she became Egypt's first-ever world medalist. She won a bronze medal in the 76kg weight-class

Hamza can be proud of herself as she reached the semifinal in Oslo and only lost to world champion Adeline GRAY (USA) in the tournament. Then, in the bronze-medal bout, she defeated Kiran GODARA (IND) to claim the historic medal.

FS 79kg - Jordan BURROUGHS (USA)


A familiar name was back on the top of the podium. Jordan BURROUGHS (USA) won his last world title in 2017 and after a gap of four years, he returned to the gold-medal position in Oslo, Norway, by winning the 79kg weight class.

With that, Burroughs became the first male wrestler from America to win the gold medal five times at the Worlds, surpassing John SMITH (USA) who has four of them. Combining World and Olympic titles, the two are tied with six each as Burroughs won the gold medal at the London Olympics in 2012.

In Oslo, Burroughs was wrestling at a new weight class for the first time internationally after giving up his position at 74kg to Kyle DAKE (USA). Burroughs failed to win the Olympic Team Trials as Dake claimed the best of three series. Dake later won a bronze medal at the Olympics to confirm his direct participation in Oslo.

But Burroughs was unchallenged in Oslo. He stormed to his fifth world title outscoring his opponents 30-6, including wins over Radik VALIEV (RWF) and junior world champion Mohammad NOKHODILARIMI (IRI).

The win gives him a shot at becoming the most successful male American wrestler if he can win another gold medal until the end of his career, which is likely to continue until the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Burroughs now has an Olympics gold, five gold and three bronze from the World Championships.

WW 57kg - Anshu MALIK (IND)


As a 20-year-old, Anshu MALIK (IND) did what no other Indian female wrestler ever could. The former cadet world champion reached the final of the Senior World Championships in Oslo and became the first wrestler to achieve the feat in women's wrestling. She won a silver medal in 57kg after losing to Helen MAROULIS (USA) in the final.

The Asian champion wrestled in Tokyo as well but lost in her first bout. After getting a chance in the repechage, she failed to get past Valeria KOBLOVA (RWF) and had to exit her first Olympics without a medal.

But in Oslo, she reached the final after beating junior world champion Nilufar RAIMOVA (KAZ) in the first bout, Davaachimeg ERKHEMBAYAR (MGL), 5-1, in the quarterfinal, U23 European champion Solomiia VYNNYK (UKR) in the semifinal, but she suffered a fall in the final.

Before her, India had five bronze medalists at the World Championships dating back to 2006 when Alka TOMAR (IND) won a bronze. Geeta PHOGAT (IND) and Babita PHOGAT (IND) won in 2012, Pooja DHANDA (IND) won one in 2018 while Vinesh PHOGAT (IND) won the medal in 2019. In Oslo, Sarita MOR (IND) also won a bronze, making it the first time that Indian women's wrestlers had two medals at the same Championships.

WW 76kg - Epp MAEE (EST)


Epp MAEE (EST) has been the pioneer of women's wrestling for Estonia. She is the only wrestler to compete at the senior level be it the World Championships or Olympics. In 2015, she became the first female wrestler from the country to win a medal at the World Championships. She repeated the feat in 2019.

Two years later in Oslo, she became the first wrestler from Estonia to reach a World Championships final in women's wrestling. At 76kg, she made a spectacular run and reached another milestone for her country. However, she fell to six-time world champion Adeline GRAY (USA) in the final.

Back in 2014, Maee wrestled in her first-ever medal bout but ended up losing that in Tashkent. After winning the medal in 2015 which also gave her the qualification for Rio Olympics, she finished fifth in 2017 and 2018. But she was once again back on the podium in Nursultan.

At the 2021 Worlds, Maee won her first two bout via technical superiority and survived a scare against Aiperi MEDET KYZY (KGZ) in the semifinal, winning 3-3 on criteria. Trailing 1-3 with 20 seconds remaining, Maee hit a single-leg and continued the pressure to claim an exposure with five seconds remaining to enter the final.

GR 130kg - Aliakbar YOUSOFI (IRI)


Iran brought the best to Oslo and did not disappoint. After their freestyle team put on a show, the Greco-Roman team also mesmerized the fans with four gold medals. Aliakbar YOUSOFI (IRI) won the 130kg gold medal and became Iran's first-ever Greco-Roman heavyweight world champion.

Yousofi earned his shot in Iran's lineup after a lucky break. It was only after the original entry, Tokyo bronze medalist Amin MIRZAZADEH (IRI) tested positive for COVID-19 infection that Yousofi earned his berth to Oslo. 

And he returned home with the gold medal, defeating Zurabi GEDEKHAURI (RWF) in the final.

He began with a win over David OVASAPYAN (ARM) and later handed local boy Oskar MARVIK (NOR) in the quarterfinal. In the semifinal, he faced the tough task of beating Tokyo Olympic fifth-place finisher Yasmani ACOSTA FERNANDEZ (CHI). But a perfectly planned bout helped him go past the Chilean wrestler, 2-1. The final was also a story of passivity and stepout points as he won 6-1.