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Smith Steals Show on Day 2

This is Robby (or Robbie....there seems to be some confusion on this matter) Smith. The enigmatic and always exciting Greco-Roman heavyweight for USA. He is known not just as a fun character though. He is also known for his heart. On day 2, he stole the show with it.

I tweeted out after the come from behind win against Adullaev (Uzbekistan) that it may have been the most exciting Greco heavyweight match I have ever seen. I think it was at the time, but the bronze medal match against 3-time World Champion Bilyal Makhov quickly changed that. Makhov executed a gorgeous Karelin lift for four early and then after an unsuccessful challenge on a 2-point counter, Smith trailed 7-0 and appeared simply out classed by one of the best in the world. Smith doesn't think that way though. Three throws for Smith led a comeback including a chest lock for Smith for four appeared to even have Makhov pinned and just sliding out of bounds with both shoulders on the mat. When the buzzer hit Smith had lost 10-8, but the crowd was standing chanting "Robby" as Smith acknowledged the crowd while Makhov needed help back to the locker room. An emotional Smith in the press conference praised the crowd support and spoke about him being able to prove he is there with the best in the world after this tournament. He did qualify the weight class for the USA for the Olympics with his efforts. 

Justin Lester started strong with two wins before falling to the eventual champion from Azerbaijan. He started the tournament with a couple huge throws to tech the #3 ranked guy from Hungary. Lester's match with Ozel (Turkey) was a very exciting come from behind win showing incredible quickness and sharp technique. He fell in repechage one win from the bronze medal match with an exciting and controversial loss to Kurak (Russia) 10-9. It was an encouraging day for Lester as he appears back in the fray as a medal threat in Rio. 

Both Spenser Mango & Patrick Martinez lost their first round matches and were pulled in to repechage where they were able to only get one win. There is a lot of optimism about the young Martinez. Mango will be disappointed again leaving another world tournament without a medal. This was his 8th time on the world team, but still looking for his first medal. 

Jordan Holm will compete on day 3, but all in all the Greco performance in Vegas has been very encouraging. The past few years the Americans appeared to be out-classed by the rest of the world. Every one of the Americans has been a "tough out" of the tournament. Almost more importantly they've been fun as hell to watch. I don't think we can underestimate entertainment value when it comes to growing Greco in the states. 

2015 World Championships
Sept. 7-12
Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Medal winners

59 kg/130 lbs.
Gold – Ismael Borrero (Cuba)
Silver – Rovshan Bayramov (Azerbaijan)
Bronze – Won Chol Yun (North Korea)
Bronze – Almat Kebispayev (Kazakhstan)

71 kg/156 lbs.
Gold – Rasul Chunayev (Azerbaijan)
Silver – Armen Vardanyan (Ukraine)
Bronze – Adam Kurak (Russia)
Bronze – Zakarias Tallroth (Sweden)

80 kg/176 lbs.
Gold – Selcuk Cebi (Turkey)
Silver – Viktor Sasunkouski (Belarus)
Bronze – Yousef Ghaderian (Iran)
Bronze – Lasha Gobadze (Georgia)

130 kg/286 lbs.
Gold – Riza Kayaalp (Turkey)
Silver – Mijain Lopez (Cuba)
Bronze – Oleksandr Chernetskyy (Ukraine)
Bronze – Bilyal Makhov (Russia)

Finals matchups

59 kg/130 lbs.
Ismael Borrero (Cuba) won by tech. fall over Rovshan Bayramov (Azerbaijan), 8-0

71 kg/156 lbs.
Rasul Chunayev (Azerbaijan) dec. Armen Vardanyan (Ukraine), 6-4

80 kg/176 lbs.
Selcuk Cebi (Turkey) dec. Viktor Sasunkouski (Belarus), 2-0

130 kg/286 lbs.
Riza Kayaalp (Turkey) dec. Mijain Lopez (Cuba), 1-0

U.S. results

59 kg/130 lbs. – Spenser Mango, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
LOSS Ismael Borrero (Cuba), 2-4
WIN Deniz Menekse (Germany), 4-4
LOSS Soslan Daurov (Belarus), 0-8

71 kg/156 lbs. – Justin Lester, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army) – 8th
WIN Balint Korpasi (Hungary), 8-0 tech. fall
WIN Yunus Ozel (Turkey), 8-6
LOSS Rasul Chunayev (Azerbaijan), 0-9
LOSS Adam Kurak (Russia), 9-10

80 kg/176 lbs. – Patrick Martinez, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
LOSS Viktor Sasunkouski (Belarus), 2-4
WIN Julius Matuzevicius (Lithuania), 5-0
LOSS Askhat Dilmukhamedov (Kazakhstan), 0-4

130 kg/286 lbs. – Robby Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) – 5th
WIN Muminjon Abdullaev (Uzbekistan), fall 5:50
WIN Eduard Popp (Germany), 6-2
WIN Murat Ramonov (Kyrgyzstan), 1-1
LOSS Mijain Lopez (Cuba), 0-8
LOSS Bilyal Makhov (Russia), 8-10