USA Wrestling

Saitiev vs Muradov is the new Bout of the Week on USA Wrestling Audio Video website

By Gary Abbott | Feb. 11, 2006, 4:12 p.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 2006 Adam Saitiev vs. Shirvani Muradov men's freestyle match at the Ivan Yarygin Memorial Golden Grand Prix held in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. The match featured two outstanding wrestlers from Russia, who were battling for national pride as well as prize money one of the most respected tournaments in the world.

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.

Ivan Yarygin was a World and Olympic wrestling champion for the Soviet Union, who went on to become the national freestyle coach for his nation, and ultimately the President of the Russian Wrestling Federation. He was a legend in the sport and in his nation. In 1997, a few months after he helped host the World Freestyle Championships in his hometown of Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia, Ivan Yarygin was killed in an automobile accident.

In his honor, the annual international freestyle wrestling tournament held in Krasnoyarsk each year was renamed the Ivan Yarygin Memorial Championships. This tournament was already considered one of the world's most challenging, as every weight class was loaded with numerous stars from Russia, many of the former Soviet republics, as well as major wrestling nations including the United States, Iran, Turkey and many others.

For many years, the Tbilisi Championships in Soviet Georgia had the reputation as the world's toughest freestyle wrestling tournament, even harder to win in some respects than the World Championships or Olympic Games. In those days, only one athlete from the Soviet Union could enter the Worlds or Olympics. In Tbilisi, dozens of stars from this nation were in each division. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Tbilisi Tournament faded in influence, and in many respects, the Yarygin Memorial has replaced it in prestige and quality.

In 2006, FILA announced a series of Golden Grand Prix Tournaments, where prize money would be awarded. The Yarygin Memorial had done that in previous years, but this time, it was the first of the official Golden Grand Prix Tournaments in freestyle, the start of a new tradition in wrestling.

The 84 kg/185 lbs. division has been one of the most talented in international wrestling, and has traditionally had numerous stars from Russia among the contestants. In recent years, three Russians won World titles in the division: Khadjimurad Magomedov, Adam Saitiev and Sajid Sajidov. Magomedov and Saitiev were also Olympic champions. Another Russian who wrestled at the division for a while decided to move up in weight and became a World and Olympic champion at 96 kg/211.5 lbs., Khadjimurad Gatsalov.

The finalists at 84 kg in the 2006 Ivan Yarygin Golden Grand Prix was one of those past World champions, Adam Saitiev, who for a time was considered one of the greatest wrestlers on the planet. The other is a rising star among young Russians, Shirvani Muradov.

Adam Saitiev is the younger brother of one of the greatest stars in freestyle history, two-time Olympic champion and six-time World champion Bouvaisa Saitiev, who competes at 74 kg/163 lbs. Bouvaisa is one of the most exciting wrestlers to watch, a tall, thin athlete who uses outstanding technique in a creative way to mesmerize his opponents.Adam has a similar style as his brother, and quickly found success on his own.

The world first saw Adam in action at the 1997 World Championships held in Krasnoyarsk, as the Russian entry at 69 kg/152 lbs., a weight class below his brother. Adam did not medal at that World meet, placing sixth. The next year, Adam made the move up in weight to 74 kg, and was actually at his brother's division for a few seasons. He competed at events such as the World Cup, European Championships and Goodwill Games in 1988, without winning a gold medal. In 1999, Bouvaisa did not go to the European or World Championships, and the Russians decided to bring Adam. The younger brother responded with a European title and a World gold medal at 74 kg that year.

Although Russia was loaded at 85 kg, with Magomedov already a World silver medalist there, Adam moved up another weight class, no longer competing with Bouvaisa for a spot on the team. Adam got on a roll at his new division in 2000, winning a gold medal at the European Championships and the Olympic Games at 84 kg. Wrestling fans will never forget the gold-medal match at 84 kg in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when Saitiev tossed World champion Yoel Romero of Cuba and quickly pinned him in a stunning fashion.

Adam was not the Russian competitor at the 2001 World Championships at 85 kg, when Magomedov won his World title. Adam returned for the 2002 World Championships at 84 kg (the new division now that FILA cut wrestling to seven weights) and he returned to the top of the podium, winning his second World title.

It was in 2003 that Sajid Sajidov emerged at the 84 kg division, and was able to challenge Saitiev in this loaded division within Russia. Sajidov was given the opportunity to compete in the 2003 World Championships in New York City, and he won the gold medal, defeating American star Cael Sanderson in the finals in Madison Square Garden.

The 2004 year started with the Yarygin Tournament, and Saitiev, Sajidov and Sanderson were all there. Sanderson defeated Saitiev in the third round, 4-3 in overtime. Sajidov then beat Sanderson in the finals, 5-3.

Russia went with Sajidov for the 2000 Olympic Games, and he seemed to be on a collision course with Sanderson in the finals. However, Moon Eui-Jae of Korea turned Sajidov multiple times in the semifinals for a big win, then lost to Sanderson in the Olympic finals. Sajidov won the bronze medal.

In 2005, it was once again Sajidov at the World Championships for Russia. After a controversial win over new U.S. entry Mo Lawal, Sajidov was defeated and placed fifth in the World meet. In January 2006, Saitiev was there at the Yarygin Tournament, but Sajidov was not an entry.

With Saitiev bringing all of this experience and achievements to the Yarygin Tournament this year, Muradov had little on his resume. In 2005, Muradov won a gold medal at the European Junior Championships, his only event representing Russia on a major stage.

Muradov opened the tournament with a win over U.S. wrestler Lee Fullhart, who had scored wins over Sanderson in the past but has yet to compete at the World Championships. His next two wins were over talented Russians Nauruz Temrezov and Soslan Gatziev. On the other side, Saitiev won three matches, including a 3-0, 3-0 semifinal win over 2004 Olympic silver medalist Gennadiy Laliev of Kazakhstan.

The finals showdown between Saitiev and Muradov went three full periods, with Saitiev winning 2-0, 0-1, 1-0. Whether this match shows that the superstar Adam Saitiev is back is yet to be seen. By winning the silver medal, Muradov makes himself a top hopeful for future success.

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 is the 1989 John Smith vs. Sergei Beloglazov men's freestyle match at the World Grand Championships in Pittsburgh, Pa. Many other entertaining and historic matches are in the archive section for the Bout of the Week.


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