Six-time World and Olympic medalist Alireza Heidari of Iran and seven-time World and Olympic medalist Eldar Kurtanidze of Georgia stepped back onto the mats this past weekend in Week 6 action of the Iranian Professional League.
Both competitors regularly compete at 96 kg/211.5 lbs., but Heidari, in his first competition since winning a bronze medal in last year's Olympics, moved up to 120 kg/264.5 lbs. this week.
Heidari wrestled for Tamin Ejtemayi, which defeated Isfahan, 24-7. Heidari posted a 1-0, 1-0 victory over Mohammad Amiri in the final bout of the dual meet which Tamin Ejtemayi won all eight matches.
The win kept Tamin Ejtemayi in third place in Pool A with 8 team points, behind Naft (12 team points) and Joybar loleh (10).
Naft remained undefeated on the season with a 23-8 win over the Army Team. In the dual, Naft won seven of eight bouts, including a 1-0, 1-0 victory by 2000 University World bronze medalist Bahman Tayebi at 120 kg.
Joybar loleh stayed on the heels of Naft with a 23-7 victory over Javanan, which stays in fourth place in Pool A with 4 team points.
The Army Team (2) and Isfahan (0) remain at the bottom of Pool A after their defeats.
Kurtanidze helped Payam Ertebatat to an 18-13 win over Mehregan. The win kept Payam Ertebatat in second place in Pool B with 6 team points, four points behind Pas (10).
The former World champion downed Saeed Tahmasebinejad 1-1, 1-0 to seal the victory for Payam Ertebatat. Kurtnidze's countryman from Georgia, defending World champion Revaz Mindorashvili, was not so lucky.
Mindorashvili dropped a bout to two-time European Championships placewinner Vadim Laliev of Mehregan, 0-1, 1-0, 1-0 at 84 kg/185 lbs. Laliev, a Russian, has been impressive so far in the Iranian Professional League, and this will most likely move him up in the international rankings.
Two-time World bronze medalist Oleksander Zakharuk of Mehregan (a Ukraine native) defeated up-and-coming star Taghi Dadashi of Payam Erebatat, 0-1, 2-0, 1-0 in a close match at 55 kg/121 lbs.
In the final dual of the week, Pas squeaked out a 17-13 win over Rah Ahan, keeping Pas in first place in Pool B with 10 team points. Rah Ahan remains in third place in Pool B with 4 team points.
Rah Ahan won two of the first three bouts, including a win by Ukrainian Vasyl Fedorishin at 60 kg/132 lbs. over Mohamad Aslani. Fedorishin, who placed fourth in the 2004 Olympic Games, pinned Aslani, who placed fourth in the 2003 World Championships.
Pas battled back, winning the next two matches, including a victory by 2002 World silver medalist Magomed Isagazhiev of Russia at 74 kg/163 lbs. in three periods over Reza Ramezan Zadeh, 1-0, 1-2, 2-0.
After a dramatic win by Fereydon Ghanbari at 84 kg for Rah Ahan, Pas received a big surprise when Jafar Diliri downed 2005 World bronze medalist Vasyl Tismensky of Ukraine, 2-0, 1-0, at 96 kg.
Ukrainian Vadym Tasoyev, a two-time World bronze medalist, sealed the win for Pas with a 2-0, 1-0 win over Fardin Masumi at 120 kg.
Kargaran did not compete this week, and remains in last place in Pool B.