2023 UWW Worlds Preview: 61k MFS, 60k GR, 53k WFS

Updated: August 29, 2023

Photos: While Vito Arujau is competing in his first World Championships, Dominique Parrish won a gold medal in her first Worlds last year and Ildar Hafizov has competed in several Worlds and Olympics for Team USA and his native country Uzbekistan. (Photos by Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

Today marks the second of 10 days that WIN Magazine is previewing the 2023 UWW Senior World Championships, which will be held Sept. 16-24 for a second straight year in Belgrade, Serbia.

WIN will also provide comprehensive coverage of the 2023 Worlds in next issue of WIN, which will be printed Sept. 28. Click here or call 888-305-0606 to subscribe.

Today’s preview examines the second lightest weight classes in each style, breaking down past World/Olympic experiences by the Americans … and who will provide their biggest tests from international competition.

Men’s Freestyle: 61k/132 lbs — Vitali (Vito) Arujau (Spartan Combat RTC / TMWC)

Competes Sept. 16-17

Age: 24 (born June 1, 1999); Hometown: Syosset, N.Y.

Beat Nahshon Garrett at Final X

International Experience: This is Arujau’s first Senior-level World/Olympic tournament. He did win silver medals in both the 2016 Cadet Worlds and 2019 Junior Worlds. He finished second to Thomas Gilman at the 2020 Olympic Trials (held in 2021) at 57 kilos. He is the son of Vougar Oroudjov, a two-time World champion and two-time Olympian (earning bronze in 1992) for Russia.

Other: He will be a senior at Cornell University, where he won an NCAA title in March at 133 pounds after claiming fourth in 2019 and third in 2022 (both at 125 pounds).

Top International Competition: With 2022 World champ Rei Higuchi of Japan moving down to the Olympic weight of 57 kilos, last year’s 61k World runner-up Reza Ahmadali Atrinacharchi of Iran could be the favorite in 2023. The 29-year-old Iranian has competed but did not place in three other World Championships (2017, 2018, 2019) as well as the 2020 Olympics when he finished fifth. A pair of 2022 World bronze medalists are also expected to compete at this weight, including Mongolia’s Narankhuu Narmandakh and Serbia’s Stevan Micic, the former All-American from Michigan, who competed at 57 kilograms last fall.

Greco-Roman: 60k/132 lbs — Ildar Hafizov (U.S. Army WCAP)

Competes Sept. 22-23

Age: 35 (born Jan. 30, 1988); Hometown: Tashkent, Uzbekistan (located 2500 miles east of Belgrade; He became a U.S. citizen in 2014)

Beat Dalton Roberts at Final X

International Experience: Has competed in six World Championships (2007, 2009 and 2011 for Uzbekistan and 2017, 2019 and 2022 for the USA) and two Olympics (2008 for Uzbekistan and 2020 for USA); Overall record: 6-12 (0-4 in the Olympics and 6-8 in the Worlds). His highest finish was fifth in 2007 and he claimed 10th place last fall.

Top International Competition: Talk about a tough weight class in Greco, there are three wrestlers who have claimed World championships, including Kyrgyzstan’s Zholaman Sharshenbekov who won a gold medal last fall after claiming silver medals in the 2018 (55k) and 2021 Worlds and competed in the 2020 Olympics. The other two former World champs are Moldova’s Victor Ciobanu (2021) and Japan’s Kenichiro Fumita (2017 at 59k and 2019). Ciobanu finished eighth in last year’s Worlds after also claiming a World silver in 2018 and a fifth-place Olympics finish in 2021. Fumita also claimed a silver medal in the 2021 Tokyo Games before settling with a bronze medal in the 2022 Worlds. Another medalist to note is Bulgaria’s Edmond Armen Nazaryan who finished second last fall.

Women’s Freestyle: 53k/116 lbs — Dominique Parrish (Sunkist Kids WC)

Competes Sept. 20-21

Age: 26 (born Nov. 5, 1996); Hometown: Scotts Valley, Calif.

Beat Katie Gomez at Final X

International Experience: Last year marked her first Senior-level World Team and she made the most of it; winning four matches and a gold medal. She also competed in three U23 World Championships (9th in 2017, 5th in 2018, and 7th in 2019)

Other: She was a two-time (2018 and 2019) WCWA champ from Simon Fraser in Canada.

Top International Competition: As great as it was seeing Parrish win a World championship in 2022, it should be noted that Japan’s Akari Fujinami, the 2021 World champ, did not compete in the 2023 World because of injury. She is eager to regain her top spot and reportedly had a 122-international match winning streak that included a Cadet World title in 2018. Greece’s Maria Prevolaraki, who has competed in eight Worlds (2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022) and the last three Olympics, is the only other returning medal winner (her second bronze) at 53k from 2022.

The following is a schedule of WIN’s other daily World Championship previews (including pertinent information on the American who will wrestle at that weight class and style). Click on previous days to read those previews:

  • Monday, Aug. 28 — MFS 55k (Zane Richards), GR 55k (Brady Koontz), WFS 50k (Sarah Hildebrandt)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 30 — MFS 65k (Nick Lee), GR 63k (Xavier Johnson), WFS 55k (Jacarra Winchester)
  • Thursday, Aug. 31 — MFS 70k (Zain Retherford), GR 67k (Alejandro Sancho), WFS 57k (Helen Maroulis)
  • Friday, Sept. 1 — MFS 74k (Kyle Dake), GR 72k (Patrick Smith), WFS 59k (Jennifer Page)
  • Tuesday, Sept. 5 — MFS 79k (Chance Marsteller), GR 77k (Kamal Bey), WFS 62k (Kayla Miracle)
  • Wednesday, Sept. 6 — MFS 86k (David Taylor), GR 82k (Spencer Woods), WFS 65k (Macey Kilty)
  • Thursday, Sept. 7 — MFS 92k (Zahid Valencia), GR 87k (Zac Braunagel), WFS 68k (Emma Bruntil)
  • Friday, Sept. 8 — MFS 97k (Kyle Snyder), GR 97k (Joe Rau), WFS 72k (Amit Elor)
  • Monday, Sept. 11 — MFS (Gable Steveson), GR 130k (Cohlton Schultz), WFS 76k (Adeline Gray)