J’Den Cox and Kyle Dake repeat as World Champions wrapping up the penultimate year of the Olympic quad with mixed results from the American Men’s Freestyle squad.
Cox and Dake both dominated their fields for the second year in a row. J’Den borrowed a page from Kyle’s 2018 playbook and did not give up a single point. Dake didn’t give up many either despite being in the tougher side of the bracket for his four wins. The story immediately shifts to where are there two going for the Olympic year. Both weights are non-Olympic and surrounded by established American stars. Dake has said in an interview that he is strongly leaning towards 74 kg, which sets him against Jordan Burroughs. Cox did not give strong indication in interviews this week. Both get byes to the semi-finals of the challenge tournament of which weight they do choose.
Burroughs added his 8th World/Olympic medal to his trophy case when he claimed bronze this week. He was matched up with defending (and eventual) champion, Sidakov (Russia), in the semi-finals. Both scored a takedown and a step out, but the Russian’s point in the closing seconds gifted him the win in the stupid criteria system. The performance does qualify the weight class for the Olympics and he sits in the seat already in the best 2 of 3.
Kyle Snyder was upset in his semi-final 5-2 by the veteran Sharifov (Azerbaijan). Snyder would bounce back for bronze giving him his 5th World/Olympic medal all before his 24th birthday. This also qualifies the weight class for the Olympics and he sits in the seat like Burroughs.
Tyler Graff, appearing in his first World Championships, made the bronze medal match falling 11-4 to India. The three wins earned showed how dangerous Graff can be with the high point scoring ability. Graff has dropped down to 57 kg in the past, but maybe with the additional weigh-in with the 2-day format he will go up.
The Americans will have to send four guys to Ottawa, Canada in March to qualify the remaining weights at the Pan Am qualifier. USA Men’s Freestyle finished 3rd in the team race.
70 kg/154 lbs. - James Green, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids/Nebraska WTC), dnp/13th
WIN Vincent De Marinis (Canada), tech. fall 10-0
LOSS Magomedmurad Gadzhiev (Poland), 4-3
74 kg/163 lbs. - Jordan Burroughs, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids/Nebraska WTC), bronze medal
WIN Azmat Nurykau (Belarus), 11-10
WIN Murad Kuramagomedov (Hungary), 6-4
WIN Khadzimurad Gadzhiyev (Azerbaijan), 8-1
LOSS Zaurbek Sidakov (Russia), 4-3
WIN Mao Okui (Japan), 10-0
92 kg/202.5 lbs. - J’den Cox, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC/OTC), gold medal
WIN Mohamad Fardj (Algeria), tech. fall 11-0
WIN Nurgali Nurgaipuly (Kazakhstan), 8-0
WIN Irakli Mtsituri (Georgia), 3-0
WIN Alireza Mohammad Karimimachiani, 4-0
125 kg/275 lbs. - Nick Gwiazdowski, Raleigh, N.C. (Titan Mercury WC/Wolfpack RTC), dnp/19th
LOSS Yadollah Mohebi (Iran), 5-2
61 kg/134 lbs. - Tyler Graff, Princeton, N.J. (Titan Mercury WC/NJRTC), 5th place
WIN Jin Cheol Kim (South Korea), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Minghu Liu (China), 7-0
LOSS Beka Lomtadze (Georgia), 3-1
WIN Mihai Esanu (Moldova), tech fall. 13-2
LOSS Rahul Aware (India), 11-4
79 kg/174 lbs. - Kyle Dake, Ithaca, N.Y. (Titan Mercury WC/Finger Lakes RTC), gold medal
WIN Oibek Nasirov (Kyrgzstan), tech. fall 12-2
WIN Gadzhi Nabiev (Russia), 5-1
WIN Rashid Kurbanov (Uzbekistan), 6-1
WIN Jabrayil Hasanov (Azerbaijan), 4-2
86 kg/189 lbs. - Pat Downey, Cranbury, N.J. (Titan Mercury WC/NJRTC), ninth place
WIN Hovhannes Mkhitaryan (Armenia), tech. fall 11-1
WIN Zbigniew Baranowski (Poland), 8-2
LOSS Ahmed Dudarov (Germany), tech. fall 13-0
97 kg/213.75 lbs. - Kyle Snyder, Columbus, Ohio (Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC), bronze medal
WIN Mausam Khatri (India), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Magomed Ibragimov (Uzbekistan), tech. fall 13-3
LOSS Sharif Sharifov (Azerbaijan), 5-2
WIN Elizbar Odikadze (Georgia), 3-0
57 kg/125.5 lbs. - Daton Fix, Sand Springs, Okla. (Titan Mercury WC/Cowboy RTC)
WIN Vladimir Egorov (Northern Macedonia), tech. fall 12-1
LOSS Yuki Takahashi (Japan), 4-2
65 kg/143 lbs. - Zain Retherford, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)
LOSS Alejandro Valdes Tobier (Cuba), 10-9