Two Americans ranked in final FILA Greco-Roman World Rankings for 2013

Jan. 08, 2014, 1:08 p.m. (ET)
Roman Vlasov battles Kim Hyeon-Woo at the 
2013 World Championships in Budapest,
Tony Rotundo/ Photo
CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland –
Universiade champion Nikita MELNIKOV (RUS) won the battle of No.1 and No.2 at 96kg for the senior world title and emerged the only top-ranked wrestler in Greco-Roman to finish on top on his weight category in the 2012 year-end FILA World Rankings.

MELNIKOV defeated second-ranked Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) in the 96kg final in Budapest. He gained the top ranking in July after a Universiade triumph over European champion ALEKSANYAN, who entered the bout as No.1.

MELNIKOV’s top-ranked teammates, Ivan KUYLAKOV (RUS) at 60kg and Roman VLASOV (RUS) at 74kg, however, fell in the championship finals and finish second in the year-end rankings.

Defending world champion VLASOV, who had topped the rankings all summer, lost to KIM Kyeon-Woo (KOR) in battle of London 2012 Olympic Games gold medalists.

Another defending world champion Riza KAYAALP (TUR), who had topped the rankings all summer, lost in the semifinals at 120kg to Amir ALIAKBARI and had to settle for a bronze medal. KAYAALP, however, was elevated to second place after ALIAKBAR was stripped of his title after a failed doping test.

And while four wrestlers top-ranked in September finish the 2013 rankings at No.1 or No.2, three grapplers clawed their way to the top despite being unranked in September.

YUN Won-Chol (PRK) became DPR Korea’s first world champion in Greco-Roman and RYU Han-Su (KOR) defeated Beijing 2008 gold medalist Islambek ALBIEV (RUS) in the 66kg final.

Olympic silver medalist Heiki NABI (EST) went into the world championships unranked and gained the world title and the rankings top spot after ALIAKBARI’s disqualification.

For the yearend rankings, the six wrestlers in the 2013 world championships medal finals were assigned the top six places in the rankings, according to their results on the mat in Budapest regardless of their previous rankings or other results in the spring and summer.

Meanwhile, the rankings No.7 to No.15 were determined by a number of factors, including results during the year and results in the world championships.

The wrestlers are listed by name, country, the wrestler’s most recent or top result, and their position in the previous rankings.

55kg – YUN Won-Chol (PRK) defeated Asia champion CHOI Gyu-Jin (KOR), 4-3, to win DPR Korea’s first-ever world championships title in Greco-Roman and atone for losses to CHOI at the London 2012 Olympic Games and the 2013 Asian championships.

European champion Elbek TAZHYIEV (BLR) led the rankings at 55kg through most of the spring and summer, but slumped to seventh in the yearend poll after falling in the round of 32 in Budapest.

Nursultan KALMURZAEV (KAZ) earned a berth in the final rankings of 2013 with a triumph at the Golden Grand Prix Final in Baku in November.

1. YUN, Won-Chol (PRK) – Asia No.3 (not ranked)
2. CHOI, Gyu-Jin (KOR) – Asia No. 1 (nr)
3. Peter MODOS (HUN) – German GP No.2 (4)
4. Roman AMOYAN (ARM) - Azovmash Cup No.1 (10)
5. Ivan TATARINOV (RUS) – Universiade No.1 (1)
6. Spenser MANGO (USA) – Pytlasinski No.9 (15)
7. Elbek TAZHYIEV (BLR) – Pytlasinski No.3 (1)
8. Victor CIOBANU (MDA) - Universiade No.2 (3)
9. Nursultan KALMURZAEV (KAZ) – GGP Final No.1 (nr)
10. Orhan AHMADOV (AZE) – GGP Final No.2 (nr)
11. Eldaniz AZIZLI (AZE) – Universiade No.3 (nr)
12. Kanybek ZHOLCHUBEKOV (KGZ) - Asia No.3 (nr)
13. Shota TANOKURA (JPN) – Asia No.2 (6)
14. Aleksander KOSTADINOV (BUL) – Pytlasinski No.2 (8)
15. Zhanserik SARSENBAEV (KAZ) - Azovmash Cup No.3 (13)

60kg – European champion Ivo ANGELOV (BUL) topped the rankings the first half of the summer while Universiade champ Ivan KUYLAKOV (RUS) took over for the second half. In their world championships final, ANGELOV came from behind late with a gut wrench for a 3-2 win and the title.

University Games silver medalist Kamran MAMMADOV, ranked No.2 going into Budapest, dropped his opening bout to eventual bronze medalist WOO Seung-Jae (KOR) and fell to 34th place overall. MAMMADOV, however, rebounded with a win at the Golden Grand Prix Final to claim seventh in the year-end rankings.

1. Ivo ANGELOV (BUL) - Europe No.1 (11)
2. Ivan KUYLAKOV (RUS) - Universiade No.1 (1)
3. Elmurat TASMURADOV (UZB) - Asia No.1 (3)
4. WOO Seung-Jae (KOR) – 2012 Asia No.3 (nr)
5. Almat KEBISPAYEV (KAZ) - Universiade No.3 (7)
6. Edward BARSEGJAN (POL) – Pytlasinski No.1 (15)
7. Kamran MAMMADOV (AZE) - Universiade No.2 (2)
8. Kristijan FRIS (SRB) - Mediterranean Games No.3 (4)
9. Dmitri TSYMBALIYUK (UKR) – German GP No.2 (9)
10. Abdol Mohamed PAPI (IRI) – GGP Final No.2 (nr)
11. Mevlut ARIK (TUR) - Mediterranean Games No.1 (5)
12. Kazuma KURAMOTO (JPN) – 2012 Asia No.2 (nr)
13. Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) – Pan America No.1 (nr)
14. Tarik BELMADANI (FRA) – Mediterranean Games No.2 (nr)
15. Mouatez DJEDIAT (ALG) – Mediterranean Games No.3 (nr)

66kg – RYU Han-su (KOR) came into the world championships a relative unknown, but left with the champion’s belt after defeating Beijing 2008 Olympic Games gold medalist Islambek ALBIEV (RUS) by disqualification.

RYU finished all five bouts within the regulation six minutes, notching three wins by technical superiority and winning by disqualification in the semifinals and finals.

Olympic silver medalist Tamas LORINCZ (HUN), undefeated since London 2012, lost a heart-breaker to 2010 world champ Hasan ALIYEV (AZE) in the quarterfinals, but claims the No.7 ranking with wins at the European championships in March and the Pytlasinski Memorial in August.

1. RYU Han-Su (KOR) – World No.1 (nr)
2. Islambek ALBIEV (RUS) – Universiade No.2 (7)
3. Frank STAEBLER (GER) – Pytlasinski Memorial No.2 (4)
4. Sandeep YADAV (IND) – 2011 Commonwealth No.2 (nr)
5. Hasan ALIYEV (AZE) – Europe No. 3 (6)
6. Aleksandar MAKSIMOVIC (SRB) - Mediterranean Games No.2 (8)
7. Tamas LORINCZ (HUN) - Europe No.1 (1)
8. Rasul CHUNAYEV (AZE) – Universiade No.1 (3)
9. Adam KURAK (RUS) - Europe No.2 (2)
10. Pedro MULENS HERRERA (CUB) – Cerrado Pelado No.1 (nr)
11. Atakan YUKSEL (TUR) - Mediterranean Games No.1 (5)
12. Sasun GHAMBARYAN (ARM) – Trophee Milone No.1 (nr)
13. Dominik ETLINGER (CRO) - Mediterranean Games No.3 (12)
14. Sachino DAVITAIA (GEO) – Pytlasinski Memorial No.3 (9)
15. Yerbol KONYRATOV (KAZ) - Asia No.3 (11)

74kg – KIM Hyeon-Woo (KOR) emerged from a second-period flurry with a takedown for a 2-1 win over Roman VLASOV (RUS) in the duel of London 2012 Olympic Games gold medalists.

KIM added the world title to the gold medal he won in London at 66kg, while VLASOV came to Budapest as the 2011 world champion and London 2012 winner at 74kg.

The top four wrestlers ranked at 74kg in September took all the medals in Budapest, but University Games runner-up Hadi ALIZADEH POURNIA (IRI), who was ranked fifth, lost his opening bout and tumbled all the way to 30th place overall and 11th in the year-end rankings.

1. KIM Hyeon-Woo (KOR) - Asia No.1 (3)
2. Roman VLASOV (RUS) – Universiade No.1 (1)
3. Arsen JULFALAKYAN (ARM) - Universiade No.3 (2)
4. Emrah KUS (TUR) - Mediterranean Games No.1 (4)
5. Mark MADSEN (DEN) – GGP Final No.2 (10)
6. Veli-Karri SUOMINEN (FIN) – Vantaa Cup No.3 (nr)
7. Nikolai DARAGAN (UKR) – GGP Final No.3 (nr)
8. Yavor YANAKIEV (BUL) - Europe No.3 (6)
9. Rafik HUSEYNOV (AZE) – World Cup No.3 (nr)
10. Robert ROSENGREN (SWE) – Pytlasinski No.2 (7)
11. Hadi ALIZEDAH POURNIA (IRI) - Universiade No.2 (5)
12. Takehiro KANAKUBO (JPN) – 2012 Asia No.2 (nr)
13. Aleksandr KAZAKEVICH (LTU) – Pytlasinski No.3 (7/84)
14. Esengeldi KOZHOBEK ULUU (KGZ) – World No.9 (nr)
15. Ilia GULBATASHVILI (GEO) – Yadegar Imam Cup No.2 (nr)

84kg – Taleb Nariman NEMATPOUR (IRI) defeated long-time friend Saman Ahman TAHMASEBI (AZE) with a pair of front headlock exposures for a 5-3 win in the all-Iranian final. TAHMASEBI, originally from Iran, represented his home country in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and then wrestled for Azerbaijan four years later in London.

Former world champions Alexej MISHIN (RUS) and Selcuk CEBI (TUR), who topped the rankings all summer, both lost in the round of 32 and slumped to eighth and 11th, respectively.

1. Taleb Nariman NEMATPOUR (IRI) - Asia No.3 (14)
2. Hassan Saman TAHMASEBI (AZE) – GP of Spain No.1 (12)
3. Viktor LORINCZ (HUN) – Pytlasinski No.1 (3)
4. Javid HAMZATOV (BLR) – Universiade No.3 (10)
5. Damian JANIKOWSKI (POL) – Pytlasinski No.2 (4)
6. Rami HIETANIEMI (FIN) – Arvo Haavisto Cup No.3 (nr)
7. Nenad ZUGAJ (CRO) – Europe No.3 (nr)
8. Alexej MISHIN (RUS) - Europe No.1 (2)
9. Giorgi TSIREKIDZE (GEO) – GGP Final No.5 (nr)
10. Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB) – Asia No.1 (11)
11. Selcuk CEBI (TUR) - Mediterranean Games No.1 (1)
12. Revazi NADAREISHVILI (GEO) - Hungarian GGP No.2 (6)
13. Alan KHUGAEV (RUS) – Universiade No.1 (5)
14. Maksim MANUKYAN (ARM) – Universiade No.2 (nr)
15. Nursultan TURSYNOV (KAZ) – Universiade No. 5 (nr)

96kg – European champion Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) controlled the top of the rankings the first half of the summer and Nikita MELNIKOV (RUS) took control with a win over ALEKSANYAN at the University Games. The rematch in Budapest ended in confusion and a 2-2 win on criteria (fewer cautions) for MELNIKOV.

Marthin Hamlet NIELSEN (NOR) has spear-headed a revival of the Norwegian wrestling tradition with gold and silver medals in the Spanish and German Grand Prix events and a bronze at the prestigious Pytlasinski Memorial this summer.

The 21-year-old NIELSEN, however, fell to eventual bronze medalist Shalva GADABADZE (AZE), 1-0, in the round of 16 and slipped a notch from No.6 in September to No.7 in the rankings.

1. Nikita MELNIKOV (RUS) - Universiade No.1 (1)
2. Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) - Universiade No.2 (2)
3. Balasz KISS (HUN) – Pytlasinski No.1 (7)
4. Shalva GADABADZE (AZE) – World Cup No.3 (nr)
5. Mahdi ALIYARI FEYZABADI (IRI) – Universiade No.3 (8)
6. Norikatsu SAIKAWA (JPN) – 2012 Pytlasinski No.1 (nr)
7. Marthin NIELSEN (NOR) – Pytlasinski No.3 (6)
8. Cenk ILDEM (TUR) - Europe No.3 (3)
9. Dimitri TIMCHENKO (UKR) - German GP No.1 (4)
10. Yerulan ISKAKOV (KAZ) – Asia No.2 (nr)
11. Timo KALLIO (FIN) - German GP No.3 (14)
12. Melonin NOUMONVI (FRA) - Mediterranean Games No.1 (15)
13. Vladislav METODIEV (BUL) – Pytlasinski No.2 (11)
14. Rustam TOTROV (RUS) - Adriatic Trophy No.1 (12)
15. Mikhail KAJAIA (GEO) - Hungarian GGP No.1 (5)

120kg – London 2012 silver medalist Heiki NABI (EST) defeated hometown hero Mihaly DEAK BARDOS (HUN) in the semifinals and, despite a loss in the championship final, was elevated to his second world title after Amir ALIAKBARI (IRI) failed an anti-doping test in Budapest.

NABI, who won the world title in 2006 at 96kg, became the only winner in Budapest to win a second world crown in Greco-Roman. Defending champion Riza KAYAALP (TUR), who lost to ALIAKBARI in the semifinals, was elevated to runner-up and Johan Magnus EUREN (SWE) was awarded a bronze medal.

Robert SMITH (USA), wrestling in his first world meet, defeated Ivan Poddubny winner NIE Xiaoming (CHN) and Pytlasinski bronze medalist Iosif CHUGOSHVILI (BLR), to finish in sixth place overall after falling to KAYAALP in the quarterfinals. SMITH earned the No.6 spot in the final rankings.

1. Heiki NABI (EST) – Nikola Petrov No.3 (nr)
2. Riza KAYAALP (TUR) - Universiade No.1 (1)
3. Nurmakhan TINALIEV (KAZ) – Universiade No.3 (3)
4. Johan Magnus EUREN (SWE) – Pytlasinski No.1 (2)
5. Mihaly DEAK BARDOS (HUN) – Pytlasinski No.3 (13)
6. Robert SMITH (USA) – Pan America No.2 (nr)
7. Eduardo POPP (GER) – German GP No.2 (9)
8. Balint LAM (HUN) - Universiade No.3 (5)
9. Aleksander CHERNETSKI (UKR) - German GP No.3 (6)
10. Miloslav METODIEV (BUL) – Pytlasinski No.2 (11)
11. Evgeni ORLOV (UKR) - Europe No.2 (7)
12. Guram PHERSELIDZE (GEO) - Europe No.3 (8)
13. Iosif CHUGOSHVILI (BLR) – Pytlasinski No.3 (12)
14. NIE Xiaoming (CHN) - Asia No.2 (14)
15. Zaur KODOEV (RUS) – Haparanda No.2 (nr)

William May conducts the World Rankings for FILA. He has been active in wrestling across three continents for more than 40 years as a competitor, coach, referee and journalist. William worked as the "Sports Information Specialist" for wrestling at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games. He can be reached on his Facebook page or by email,

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