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Burroughs makes most of home spotlight by claiming third World title
By Mike Finn
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — After winning two previous World championships and an Olympic gold medal in places like Istanbul, Turkey, London, England, and Budapest, Hungary, Jordan Burroughs finally had his moment to claim a World title before thousands of Americans in Orleans Arena.
And the former two-time NCAA champion and Hodge Trophy winner from the University of Nebraska made the most of his moment — spotlighted even more when United World Wrestling changed the order of medal matches so the 163-pound championship match was the finale — when Burroughs dominated Mongolia’s Unurbat Purevjav.
“This is what we dream of,” Burroughs said. “I’m a World champion again. I’ve been here before, but it never loses its significance. It’s not easy, but I’m still hungry to do more.”
Burroughs has now won four World medals, three gold and one bronze, in addition to his Olympic gold.
“That’s No. 4. I’m in elite company now with John Smith and Bruce Baumgartner. When you talk about the Mount Rushmore of wrestling, I can definitely say I’m on it. This time was extremely special with my family in the stands.”
It was a great night to be a Nebraska Cornhusker fan as James Green, the four-time All-American, earned a bronze medal at 154 pounds in his first Worlds.
Green has dealt with comparisons his entire Nebraska career to Burroughs — who like Green is a native of southern New Jersey — and that was the case almost all day on Saturday as the two battled foes every round until the quarterfinals. At that point, Green defeated three foes by a 32-1 margin, while Burroughs overwhelmed his first four foes by a 31-2 margin before the two former Huskers reached the semifinals. (Burroughs wrestled one more match than Green.)
“Jordan and I were wrestling about the same time and it would fire me up,” said Green, who hails from Willingboro, N.J.
But it was in the semifinals, where Green’s fortune ended when he lost 9-4 to Hassan Yazdani of Iran. For bronze, Green more than made up for that setback when he pinned Miroslav Stefanov Kirov of Bulgaria after leading 8-0.
“It was kind of an instinctive thing,” said Green. “The first time I caught him, I scored the takedown. The second time he landed on his back. I thought he was pinned earlier but he kept moving so I put my all in it and got my chest on his.
“(Settling for a bronze medal) is a tough thing to do when you want to win gold,” Green said. “It’s not something I want to get accustomed to. I had to stay positive.”
Among the other two American freestyles who competed on the final day of the week long event — Tony Ramos at 57k/125 pounds and heavyweight Zach Rey — the former Hawkeye came the closest to also reaching Saturday night’s medal round.
Ramos defeated Wbur Cuero Munoz of Colombia, 10-1, and Makhmudjon Shavkatov of Uzbekistan, 3-3, on criteria, but lost 3-1 in the quarterfinals to Iran’s Hassan Sab Rahimi. The Iranian scored the bout’s deciding takedown in the final 20 seconds after Ramos attempted, but slipped on a defensive lift at a point when the former Hawkeye owned criteria.
“I was trying to end the match there,” said Ramos, a native of Glenbard, Ill., competing in his second Worlds. “I was in good position. He slipped off me because he was sweating. Maybe it affected me in the next match. It was a little hard to get over it.”
Ramos got a second chance to compete in repechage (consolation) after the Iranian reached the finals. But his medal dreams ended when he lost 7-1 to Asadulla Lachinau of Belarus.
“I was trying to get whatever I could,” said Ramos. “He wrestles that European style, kind of lazy and hands down. It’s hard to get under those guys.”
Sadly, Rey — a late substitution for two-time World bronze medalist Tervel Dlagnev, was forced to withdraw because of injury — only faced one foe in his Worlds, losing 6-1 to Alen Zaseiev of the Ukraine.
“I’ve wrestled this kind of competition before,” said Rey, the former NCAA champion from Lehigh. “I’ve wrestled with him in the past and I lost to him in the past. I’m not here for the experience. I was here to get a medal and I didn’t get that done.”
Despite winning two golds and one bronze — the most World medals by an American men’s freestyle team since 2006 — the United States finished seventh.
USA Highlights of Men’s Freestyle at 2015 Worlds, Day 6
57k/125 pounds — Tony Ramos (Titan Mercury/Glenbard, Ill.)
1st round — dec. Wbur Cuero Munoz (Colombia), 10-1
Leading just 2-1 at the intermission, the former Hawkeye exploded for eight points in the second period off three takedowns, including one where he countered the foot sweep of Munoz 39 seconds into the second, then turning the second takedown into a leglace for an 8-1 lead at the 5:16 mark.
2nd round — def. Makhmudjon Shavkatov (Uzebekistan), 3-3 criteria
Ramos’ takedown off a single at the 5:34 mark — moments before Shavkatov forced a stepout by Ramos — provided the winning margin for the second-year World Team member. Ramos, failing to score on 30-second shot clock period, trailed 1-0 at intermission before he tied the bout 1-1 when Shavkatov could not score on the shot clock. Shavkatov took a 2-1 lead when Ramos stepped out with one minute left.
Quarterfinals — lost to Hassan Sab Rahimi (Iran), 3-1
Put on the shot clock at 4:55, Rahimi got in deep on the leg of Ramos, who chose to attempt a defensive lift but slipped, giving the Iranian the deciding takedown with 20 seconds left.
Repechage — lost to Asadulla Lachinau (Belarus), 7-1
Ramos trailed just 1-0 at intermission — when he failed to score on the shot clock at 1:29 — before the Bulgarian exploded with two takedowns and two stepouts by the former Iowa Hawkeye in the second period.
Vladimer Khinchegashvili (Georgia) dec. Hassan Sabzali Rahimi (Iran), 5-4
Bekhbayar Erdenebat (Mongolia) dec. Artas Sanaa (Kazakhstan), 5-1
Victor Lebedev (Russia) dec. Hak Jin Jong (D.P.R. Korea), 3-0
70k/154 pounds — James Green (Titan Mercury/Willingboro, N.J.)
1st round — won by TF over John Scott Duque (CRC), 10-0
In his very first Worlds action, Green put on a clinic by scoring five takedowns, the first coming 45 seconds into the bout and the final coming with 14 seconds left in the first period.
2nd round — won by TF over Robert Olle (Slovakia), 12-1
Green ended the match at the four-minute mark with a low single, which he used to create a leg lace for the final two points. But it was a powerful double in the first 52 seconds that gave the former Cornhusker a 4-0 lead. Green added two more takedowns in the first period to lead 8-1 at intermission.
Quarterfinals — won by TF over Kumar Arun (India), 10-0
Green led 6-0 at intermission after he scored a takedown at the 1:45 mark, then used the move to score four more points on a pair of trap-arm turns. Green then ended the bout when he scored two more takedowns in the first 1:25 of the second period.
Semifinals — lost to Hassan Yazdani (Iran), 9-4
Green actually took a 1-0 lead ten seconds into the match when he forced the Iranian to step out. But Yazdani stormed back to score five straight, first when he exposed Green’s back on a takedown, then a stepout by Green and finally a double at the 1:17 mark. Green was able to score a takedown as the first period ended, then forced a stepout at the start of the second to trail just 5-4 before the Iranian scored on a pair of doubles to clinch the victory.
Bronze-Medal Match — Green pinned Miroslav Stefanov Kirov (Bulgaria), 2:07
Green led 4-0 — after scoring a pair of takedowns in the first 1:23 — when he caught Kirov on his back and scored a fall.
Gold-Medal Match — Magomedrasul Gazimagomedov (Russia) dec. over Hassan Yazdani (Iran), 10-3
Bronze-Medal Match — Yakup Gor (Turkey) dec. Azamat Nurykau (Belarus), 9-8
74k/163 pounds — Jordan Burroughs (Sunkist Kids/Winslow Township, N.J.)
Prelim — def. Krystian Brzozowski (Poland), 5-2
After giving a takedown midway through the first period, Burroughs finally got on the board by scoring a takedown near the edge of the mat with three seconds remaining. The former Cornhusker then put his foe away when he scored a blast double at the 4:39 mark and added a step-out by Brzozowski at 5:13.
1st round — won by TF over Oleg Zakaharevych (Ukraine), 10-0
After scoring the first two points off two head slaps by Zakaharevych, which left Burroughs’ left eye bloodied at the 1:46 mark, Burroughs responded with a low single and a pair of leg laces in the final ten seconds to take a 8-0 lead. Burroughs’ final points came on a double leg 12 seconds in the second period.
2nd round — won by TF over Mihaly Nagy (Hungary), 11-0
Burroughs ended the match with a takedown with one minute left in the first period … after the World champ displayed a pair of leg laces following a pair of takedowns.
Quarterfinal — def. Alireza Mo Ghasemi (Iran), 5-0
All the points were scored in the first period, a single at the 0:35 mark, a shot clock violation by the Iranian at 2:24 and a double-leg takedown by Burroughs at 2:45.
Semifinal — def. Aniuar Geduev (Russia), 4-3
Burroughs trailed on criteria points until he scored a double-leg takedown with 49 seconds then, then yielded just one step out in the last 15 seconds to determine the final score. Burroughs took a 2-0 lead into intermission when he first earned a stepout by the Russian 51 seconds into the bout, then earned another point when the Russian could not score after being put on the shot clock.
Gold-Medal Match — won by TF over Unurbat Purevjav (Mongolia), 10-0
Burroughs led just 2-0 at the intermission before exploding for a four-point move and two more takedowns to end the bout with three seconds left in the match. The only question came when officials suggested that the Mongolian wrestler had scored four points on a defensive reverse gut lift at the 3:36 mark before a video challenge was upheld by the U.S.; giving Burroughs the four points.
125k/275 pounds — Zach Rey (NYAC/Bethlehem, Pa.)
1st round — lost to Alen Zaseiev (Ukraine), 6-1
The Ukrainian scored three takedowns, including two where he countered shots by the American; the final coming with 36 seconds remaining. The third came came when Zaseiev was put on the shot clock at the 3:59 mark. Rey was eliminated when Zaseiev lost his next bout to Geno Petriashvili of Georgia.
Taha Akgul (Turkey) won by TF over Jamaladdin Magomedov (Azerbaijan), 10-0
Geno Petriashvili (Georgia) won by TF over Chuluunbat Jargalsaikhan (Mongolia),11-0
Bilyal Makhov (Russia) won by TF over Levan Berianidze (Armenia), 11-0