Jantzen vs Berding is new Bout of the Week on TheMat com Audio Video website

By Gary Abbott | Aug. 31, 2005, 12 a.m. (ET)
USA Wrestling has updated its new "Bout of the Week" which has been posted as a video file on-line on TheMat.com Audio/Video website .

The feature this week is the 2005 Jesse Jantzen vs. Kelaxsaev Berding men's freestyle match at the World University Games in Izmir, Turkey at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.

This match has been placed on the TheMat.com's new Audio/Video website, which was the former USA Wrestling Member's Only website. The new website has been redesigned and reformatted and was launched today. It is an exciting upgrade that will better serve the wrestling community and provides cutting-edge technology.

The World University Games (WUG) is a multi-sport event, which is similar to the Olympic Games or Pan American Games. This competition features only athletes who are enrolled in college. Wrestling was included in this event for the first time since 1981.

Often, World University events feature athletes who are already well known internationally, with accomplishments at the Olympic Games or World Championships. However, as in the case of the Jantzen vs. Berding match, this can also be an opportunity for a talented young athlete to make a name for himself internationally.

Just to be selected to compete on a national wrestling team competing at a World Championships indicates that an athlete is already among the world's elite in his craft. However, neither Jantzen, from a strong U.S. team, or Berding, who competes for world power Russia, had ever been at a major international event prior to the World University Games. This was their coming out party.

The U.S. coaches knew nothing about Berding, and could only study his earlier matches in the tournament to help Jantzen with his game plan.

Berding would also have no knowledge about Jantzen. He would not know that Jantzen had been one of the top young talents in the United States going back into his teen years. In fact, when Jantzen was a high school senior, he was the nation's best wrestler in his class, the winner of the ASICS High School Wrestler of the Year award.

He earned this honor by becoming the first four-time state high school champion in New York, a strong wrestling state that had just one class for its high school tournament. Jantzen also won a Junior National freestyle title, as well as a national folkstyle title as a student at Shoreham-Wading River High School.

Berding would have no idea about Jantzen's intelligence, which allowed him to be admitted into one of the world's most prestigious academic institutions, Harvard University. Not known worldwide for its wrestling program, Harvard and its coach Jay Weiss had big dreams for the program. Convincing the nation's best wrestler to join the team was a major step for the program. A fierce wrestler from the top position, who used techniques like crab rides and tilts that were popular in the 1980s, Jantzen continued to improve. He won three NCAA All-American honors, and a senior, he was Harvard's first NCAA champion in generations, the Outstanding Wrestler in the NCAA Tournament.

None of the competitors in Turkey would know that Jantzen quickly climbed the ladder of success on the Senior level in freestyle within the United States after college, placing at the U.S. Nationals and the World Team Trials against more experienced athletes. He proved to be the best freestyle wrestler who was taking college classes by easily winning the 2005 University World Team Trials event.

At the World University Games, Jantzen was on fire, winning every period of every match that he wrestled, and shutting out his opponent in seven of the 10 periods.

He opened the tournament with a 6-0, 3-1 win over Maksyan Melnya of Ukraine. His next victory was a 2-0, 6-0 win over Ahto Raska of Estonia. His third round win was a 3-3, 2-0 decision over Otar Tushishvili of Georgia. In the semifinals, he defeated two-time Olympian Arshak Hayrapetyan of Armenia, 1-0, 3-1.

On the other side of the bracket, Berding was also wrestling with skill and confidence, earning a spot in the finals against Jantzen. In the first period, Jantzen scored two takedowns to take a 2-0 lead. He then padded his lead with a two-point turn. In the second period, Jantzen again scored two takedowns, both in the first half of the period, for a 4-0, 2-0 victory. Jantzen was now a World University Games champion.

Jantzen joined Wade Schalles (1977) and Bruce Baumgartner (1981) as the only other gold medal wrestlers for the U.S. in World University Games history. Two other U.S. wrestlers won golds later in the tournament in Izmir, Nate Gallick at 132 pounds and Tommy Rowlands at 211.5 pounds.

This popular feature will be changed on a regular basis, allowing members to enjoy many of the greatest matches in wrestling history.

Posted in the archive section of the Members Only web page was the 2005 Nate Gallick vs. Odabasi Tevfik men's freestyle match at the World University Games in Izmir, Turkey for the gold medal at 60 kg/132 lbs. Many other entertaining and historic matches are in the archive section for the Bout of the Week.

While many of the features of the site will be available for everyone to use, the video clips will be accessible only to current members of USA Wrestling. To view the videos on this site, you must be logged into your TheMat.com passport account, which also must include your USA Wrestling Membership number. This is the same account used for TheMat.com Message Boards.

If you already have a Passport Account, make sure you are logged in and that your profile includes your USA Wrestling Membership Number. If you are a member and have not already registered for your online account, click the "Get Passport Account" at the top of the page. If you have an account and are not a current member of USA Wrestling, you will find a link to "Join USA Wrestling" on the Edit Passport Profile page.

The audio and video in this section are in a variety of formats, including Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, and Quicktime formats. If you do not currently have one of these players, you will find helpful links under the player windows for downloading and installing these free players. Due to the nature of video online, a high-speed Internet connection, such as Cable or DSL, is necessary to view videos.

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