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My Top International Stars to Watch


Obviously, I’m ready to bleed Red, White, and Blue while praising Lord Gable starting this Saturday. However, there are plenty of international stars that make watching the World Championships so enjoyable minus the getting up at 4am.

Yowlys Bonne (Cuba)

  • Bonne Bombs! At 61 kg, Bonne stands 5’0”. He basically stands still and then in a blink grabs a tie and throws something crazy. He’s a 2-time world medalist which doesn’t make him the most credentialed guy, but he’s the most fun guy to watch.

The Women’s 76 kg Weight Class

  • Adeline Gray (USA) returns to the mat after a year off following a disappointing Olympics and a surgery. She looks to add to her already three World Championships. The top weight in the Women’s division is one of the most intriguing brackets of Budapest. Erica Wiebe (Canada) was the 2016 Olympic Gold and she also took last year off, but has been very active and successful in 2018. Yasemin Adar (Turkey) will be there and is the reigning World Champion. There are other dangerous veterans in the field. Vasilisa Marzaliuk (Belarus) was silver last year and beat Gray at the Olympics. Epp Mae (Estonia) & Aline Focken (Germany) are always a factor and 23-year old Sabira Aliyeva (Azerbaijan) may be emerging as a star.

Kumsong Kang (North Korea)

  • North Korea is always good at the low weight classes including having the World Champion and the Asian Champion in 2015 at 57 kg be two different guys. Jong was one of them and got the nod last year and finished a respectable 5th. However, they have a new guy. Kang is just 20, but confidence is high in him with his season that has included an Asian Championship Gold, Asian Games Silver, and a win over defending World Champion Takahashi (Japan).

Myong-Suk Jong (North Korea)

  • Keeping with the hermit kingdom, Jong gave Helen Maroulis (USA) a run for her money in a forgotten quarterfinal in the Olympics. Helen staged the comeback and eventually won gold. I was interested to see Jong at 57 kg to, along with Adekuoroye (Nigeria), give a challenge to Helen after the American easily cruised at last year’s World Championships. However, Jong looks to be 55 kg next week and should be a strong contender to grab the title.

Yui Susaki (Japan)

  • Eri Tosaka went 4 for 4 at 48 kg in the last quad and then Susaki, who won’t turn 20 till the 24th, took over the spot and promptly won gold last year after winning three Cadet World Golds. How good is Susaki? Well a loaded 50 kg bracket should let us know, but chances are if she retired Tosaka and has never really lost in a major tournament she has entered, we are about to see her destroy in Budapest.

Amarveer Dhesi (Canada)

  • I was trying to keep this article away from guys who wrestled in the United States collegiality, but Dhesi is interesting. After (technically) winning gold at 2014 Junior’s after the Georgian failed his drug test after Dhesi beat Coon in a controversial last second call, injuries often derailed his Oregon State days. However, he made a stretch run that included a Pac-12 title and a 3rd place NCAA finish which is an accomplishment when the top two were Snyder & Coon. Dhesi gets the nod over veteran Jarvis, and it’ll be pretty interesting to see what he can do.

The oddballs aka non-traditional Wrestling Countries

  • Over 90 countries are expected to send entries to Budapest and medals will all but likely head home to five continents. Wrestling needs to give itself more credit for this as every other sport is basically dominated, or even represented on the medal stand, by a very few (and same) countries. American Samoa, Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Micronesia, Nauru, Senegal, Benin, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Palau, Guam, Burundi (BDI!!!), Liberia, Sudan, Angola, Uganda, Vietnam, Cameroon, Taiwan, Jordan, Palestine, Jamaica, Sierra Leone, and Congo.