Men’s Freestyle leaves World Championships with three gold, seven medals

Updated: October 23, 2018

(Photo: David Taylor expresses his appreciation after he dominated the 86-kilogram final and won his first UWW World championship this past week in Budapest, Hungary. Photo by Justin Hoch.)

Many people called the 2018 USA Men’s World Freestyle team a “Dream Team” and an historic number of the ten wrestlers did see their dreams come true the past four days in Budapest, Hungary.

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Kyle Dake outscored four foes by a 37-0 margin in his first World Championships.

For the first time since 1995, three Americans — Kyle Dake (79k), David Taylor (86k) and J’den Cox (92k)  — captured gold medals among the ten weight classes that were held in Papp Laszlo Arena between Oct. 20 and 23. Taylor and Dake were competing in their first Worlds as Taylor rallied to beat a World champ from Iran and a tough Russian and Dake outscored his competition 37-0. Cox captured his first World championship, competing at a new UWW weight, after earning bronze at the 2016 Olympics and 2017 Worlds at 86 kilograms.

J’den Cox earned a gold medal at 92 kilos after winning bronze at 86 kilos in the 2016 Olympics and 2017 Worlds.

And for the first time since 1987, the United States captured seven medals with Kyle Snyder (97k) settling for a silver medal while a trio — Joe Colon (65k), Jordan Burroughs (74) and Nick Gwiazdowski (125k) — earned bronze medals. This was the first World medal for Colon, who was a last-minute substitute for Nahshon Garrett (who was forced to withdraw because of injury). It marked Burroughs’ sixth World medal (to go along with four gold and another bronze), while Snyder earned a third World medal (adding to his two World titles and 2016 Olympic gold) and Gwiazdowski added a second straight World bronze medal.

One year after winning a team championship, the United States finished second behind Russia by a 178-150 margin. The Russians also collected seven medals: three gold by Zavur Uguev (57k), Magomedrasul Muhtaro Gazimagomedov (70k), Zaurbek Sidakov (74k) and Abdulrashid Sadulaev (97k); silver by Gadzhimurad Rashidov (61k) and bronze by Akhmed Chakaev (65k), Akhmed Shiabdinovitc Gadzhimagomedov (79k).

The following is a breakdown and highlights of all ten Americans who wrestled in Budapest. Women’s freestyle continues through Thursday, when Greco-Roman’s competition begins.

World Championships 2018 – Seniors Results for United States

57 kg/125.5 pounds

Thomas Gilman, Iowa City, Iowa, 5th place

1st round — dec. Givi Davidovi (Italy), 6-3 — Gilman, the silver medalist from 2017, used a single leg takedown with 17 seconds left it the first period to create an effective gut near the edge of the mat to lead 5-0 at intermission. In the second frame, Gilman held on as he gave up three stepouts while earning another point when an Italian challenge failed.

Quarterfinal — dec. Giorgi Edisherashvili (Azerbaijan), 4-0 — All four points came on stepouts for Gilman, who was forced to take three blood timeouts.

Semifinal — lost by TF to Nurislam Artas Sanayev (Kazakhstan), 11-0 — Gilman only trailed 2-0 at intermission before the eventual World silver medalist scored two takedowns, one that put Gilman on his back at the 2:35 mark.

Bronze Medal Match — lost to Suleyman Atli (Turkey), 5-4 — Gilman lead 1-0 off a shot clock passivity vs. Atli before the 2017 U23 World bronze medalist scored two takedowns with about two minutes left in the bout. Gilman was able to cut the margin to one point by scoring three stepouts in the final 1:30.

61 kg/134 pounds

Joe Colon, Fresno, Calif., Bronze Medalist

1st round — dec. Ivan Bileichuk (Ukraine), 9-6 — Trailing 4-0 after the Ukrainian took Colon to his back two minutes into the bout, Colon used a reverse, high-waist tilt and two stepouts to cut the margin to 6-5 at intermission before the former Northern Iowa wrestler scored two takedowns in the second period, including a clincher off a headlock with 10 seconds left.

Quarterfinal — won by TF over Vladimir Vladimirov Dubov (Bulgaria), 10-0 — Colon tallied four takedowns, including a bear hug that put the 2015 World bronze medalist on his back two minutes into the bout before Colon ended the match with 21 seconds left in first period.

Semifinal — lost to Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez (Cuba), 9-4 — Cuba’s 2017 World bronze medalist used an inside trip and throw with one second left the first period to lead 5-0 at intermission.

Bronze Medal Match — won by TF over Mohammadbagher Esmae Yakhkeshi (Iran), 13-2 — Colon clinched his first World medal with 1:13 left in the bout when his third takedown of the match, from countering an Iranian shot, turned into three straight guts or high waist tilts.

FS 65 kg/145.5 pounds

Logan Stieber, Columbus, Ohio, did not place

1st round — lost to Akhmed Chakaev (Russia), 7-5 — A four-point takedown off a scramble with 3:29 left allowed Stieber to take a 4-4 criteria lead before the Russian and 2016 World bronze medalist regained a 6-4 lead off an underhook to a takedown with six seconds left in the first period. Stieber was eliminated from medal contention when Chakaev lost in the semifinals to Takuto Otoguro of Japan. 

FS 70 kg/154 pounds 

James Green, Lincoln, Neb., did not place

Prelim — dec. Khadzhimurad Gadzhiyev (Azerbaijan), 6-5 — Green turned a blast double into an effective two-point leglace with 2:15 left to give the two-time World medalist a 6-2 lead. Gadzhiyev, the 2018 Junior World medalist, cut the margin to one point on a single-to-double-leg takedown and stepout with 45 seconds left.

1st round — lost to Byambadorj Bat Erdene (Mongolia), 4-2 — The Mongolian ended Green’s medal run when he got behind the American and scored a takedown with 10 seconds left. Bat Erdene scored a two-point nearfall off a headlock with 1:16 left in the first period before Green appeared to gain criteria advantage on a power double with 1:31 left in the bout.

FS 74 kg/163 pounds

Jordan Burroughs, Lincoln, Neb., Bronze Medalist

Prelim — won by forfeit over Venecious Juah (Liberia)

1st round — dec. Mostafa Hosseinkhani (Iran), 4-3 — Burroughs scored the deciding point on a stepout with 17 seconds left. The Iranian led 3-1 at intermission, off a stepout and single-leg takedown, before Mohabbali, the 2016 World bronze medalist, tied the bout and held criteria on a single leg with 1:30 left.

Quarterfinal — lost to Zaurbek Sidakov (Russia), 6-5 — Just when it looked like Burroughs had rallied to take a 5-4 lead with eight seconds left, the 2015 Junior World medalist scored a stepout with one second left to first earn criteria advantage. USA challenged but lost on a video review for the final margin.

Repechage — dec. Miroslav Stefanov Kirov (Bulgaria), 9-0 — Burroughs earned a spot in repechage when Sidakov defeated World champ Frank Chamizo of Italy, then dominated the Bulgarian on three stepouts, one takedown and a pair of turns in the final 45 seconds.

Bronze Medal Match — dec. Frank Chamizo Marquez (Italy), 4-4 criteria — In this battle of former World champs, Burroughs defeated his rival on a stepout with 26 seconds left. Burroughs’ double leg takedown with 2:02 left gave him a 3-0 lead before Chamizo battled back with a takedown and stepout in the final 1:32.

FS 79 kg/174 pounds

Kyle Dake, Ithaca, N.Y., Gold Medalist

1st round — won by TF over Martin Obst (Germany), 11-0 — Dake scored a takedown with one second left in the first period before turning a defensive lift into a pair of high waist tilts that ended the bout with 1:38 left.

Quarterfinal — won by TF over Davit Khutsishvili (Georgia), 11-0 — The match ended with nine seconds left in the first period when Dake rolled up four straight gutwrenches. A Dake single leg gave him a 3-0 lead with 38 seconds left in the first.

Semifinal — won by TF over Akhmed Shiabdinovitc Gadzhimagomedov (Russia), 13-0 — Dake proved he was more than ready for the Russian champ in the first minute when he countered a takedown attempt near the edge of the mat for a throw and 4-0 lead. Dake then ended the match with 2:07 left when he caught Gadzhimagomedov in a bear hug and five-point throw.

Gold Medal Match — dec. Jabrayil Hasanov (Azerbaijan), 2-0 — Dake earned a shot clock passivity point two minutes into the match, and then added a stepout with 2:09 left.

FS 86 kg/189 pounds

David Taylor, State College, Pa., Gold Medalist

Prelim — dec. Hassan Aliazam Yazdanicharati (Iran), 11-6 — Trailing 6-2 after giving up a takedown and two stepouts vs. the World/Olympic champ, Taylor battled back with nine straight points with four takedowns, including his first takedown at the 2:21 mark during a scramble with the Iranian. Taylor took the lead for good on a low single with 1:11 left.

1st round — won by TF over Hajy Rajabau (Belarus), 10-0 — Taylor scored three takedowns, including one where he fought off a headlock by Rajabau, then ended the match when he countered a shot for his own takedown with four seconds left. Taylor also added a “bow and arrow” exposure with 53 seconds to lead 8-0. 

Quarterfinal — dec. Yurieski Torreblanca Queralta (Cuba), 8-0 — Taylor scored three takedowns, including an arm drag to a single with a minute left in bout and a second one with a second left in the first period.

Semifinal — dec. Dauren Kurugliev (Russia), 7-5 — Taylor rallied with six straight second-period points with three takedowns, including a clincher with five seconds left. The Russian led 5-1 after one period when he scored two takedowns off a single and throw-by after he accidentally kicked Taylor, who was attempting a single leg and fell to the mat.

Gold Medal Match — won by TF over Fatih Erdin (Turkey), 12-2 — Taylor clinched his first World championship off six takedowns, the first coming off a low single 10 seconds into the match and the final one leading to a high waist tilt with two minutes left in the bout.

FS 92 kg/202 pounds

J`Den Cox, Columbia, Mo., Gold Medalist

1st round — dec. Dato Marsagishvili (Georgia), 6-2 — Cox scored all his points in the final 1:38 on three takedowns to beat the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist.

Quarterfinal — dec. Nicolai Ceban (Moldova), 6-0 — Cox first used a low double to put Ceban on his back with 1:22 left in the first period, then added a single-leg takedown with 2:28 left in the bout.

Semifinal — dec. Alireza Karimimachiani (Iran), 5-2 — Just when the Iranian and 2015 World bronze medalist captured a 2-2 criteria lead with two minutes left, Cox quickly scored a reversal eight seconds later, then clinched the bout on a two-pointer with 1:19 left.

Gold Medal Match — dec. Ivan Yankouski (Belarus), 4-1 — Cox clinched his first World championship when he scored on a single leg with four seconds left. The former NCAA champ from Missouri scored his first two points off shot clock passivity points — one in each period to lead 2-0 — before Yankouski tallied a passivity point against Cox with ten seconds left.

FS 97 kg/213 pounds

Kyle Snyder, Columbus, Ohio, Silver Medalist

Prelim — dec. Batzul Ulziisaikhan (Mongolia), 8-3 — Snyder actually trailed 3-1 with 2:47 left — surrendering a stepout and single leg takedown — before he stormed back with three takedowns, the final one coming on a heel pick with 30 seconds left.

1st round — won by TF over Nathaniel Tuifao Tuamoheloa (American Samoa), 10-0 — The match lasted just 29 seconds as Snyder needed just one takedown and four guts or high waist tilts for the easy victory.

Quarterfinal — dec. Abraham De Jesus Conyedo Ruano (Italy), 11-2 — After Snyder gave up a pair of stepouts against the Italian, he responded with four takedowns, the final one coming on a power double leg with 53 seconds left.

Semifinal — dec. Pavlo Oliinyk (Hungary), 3-0 — Snyder picked up his first point with 34 seconds left in first period off shot clock passivity, then added a takedown off a low single at the 2:39 mark.

Gold Medal Match — lost by fall to Abdulrashid Sadulaev (Russia), 1:08 — In a rematch of last year’s World final — then won by Snyder — it was the “Russian Tank” who prevailed as Sadulaev first initiated a single leg attempt, then caught Snyder’s elbows as the two wrestlers rolled to their backs 48 seconds into the bout. Eventually the Russian gained even more control to record the pin and his third World championship and fourth title. 

FS 125 kg/265 pounds

Nicholas Gwiazdowski, Raleigh, N.C., Bronze Medalist

1st round — dec. Zolboo Natsagsuren (Mongolia), 9-4 — Gwiazdowski spotted the Mongolian a takedown and 2-0 lead before the former NCAA champ from NC State produced four takedowns, including three in the second period.

Quarterfinal — lost to Zhiwei Deng (China), 5-4 — Gwiazdowski was leading 2-1 when Deng caught the American in an underhook and throw for four points. Gwiazdowski added a late takedown to pull within one point of the eventual silver medalist.

Repechage — dec. Amarveer Dhesi (Canada), 7-0 — Gwiz scored his final two points of a pair of defensive lifts — including the first with one second left in the first period — to beat the former NCAA All-American from Oregon State.

Bronze Medal Match — dec. Sumit Sumit (India), 7-2 — Gwiazdowski clinched a second straight World bronze medal when he scored a second takedown – off a low single – with 55 seconds left. Gwiz’s first takedown with 14 seconds left in the first period gave him a 4-0 lead.