2017 World Championships Greco-Roman preview at 98 kg/216 lbs.

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | Aug. 12, 2017, 7:52 p.m. (ET)
G’Angelo Hancock, battling Hayden Zillmer at the 2017 Greco-Roman World Team Trials, gets his first chance to compete at the Senior Worlds in Paris. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.

Competition date: Monday, Aug. 21


Fans can expect to see a lot of veteran talent in the field at 98 kg/216 lbs. as well as some new faces rising to the top at the 2017 World Championships in Paris, France.

2016 Olympic champion Artur Aleksanyan of Armenia is the top contender at 98 kg. Having dominated at the weight for the past five years, the Armenian snagged an Olympic title in 2016, World championships in 2014 and 2015 and a World silver in 2013.

Despite a bronze-medal finish at the European Championships, third-ranked Aleksanyan will enter Paris as the No. 1 seed.

Cuba has submitted 2017 Cerro Pelado champion Reinier Pablos Diaz Ramos as its entrant at 98 kg, not 2016 Olympic silver medalist and World No. 1 Yasmany Lugo Cabrera.

Past World champions Balazs Kiss of Hungary and Elis Guri of Bulgaria are expected to compete at the end of the month.

Kiss, the No. 4 seed, won World gold in 2009 and earned his second World medal in 2013, claiming bronze.

In Rio, Kiss finished ninth, but since then, he won the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov Tournament and produced bronze at the European Championships and Grand Prix of Hungary.

Guri is a 2011 World champion and three-time Olympian. Paris will mark the 34-year-old’s third World Championship representing Bulgaria and seventh overall. He wrestled the 2003, 2006 and 2007 World championships for Albania.

2016 Olympic bronze medalist Cenk Ildem of Turkey will make his way back to the World Championships, while the other 2016 Olympic bronze winner, Ghasem Rezaei of Iran, will not.

Idlem won World bronze medals in 2011 and 2014 and also owns a Junior World gold from 2006. Since Rio, the Turk medaled at the Golden Grand Prix, finishing third.

For Iran, 2012 Olympic champion and three-time World medalist Rezaei will be replaced by either Amir Hossein Hosseini, who just took fifth at the 2017 Junior World Championships or 2017 Asian champion Seyedmostafa Salehizadeh.

G’Angelo Hancock will represent the USA on the World stage for the second time in three weeks, when he heads to Paris. The 19-year-old recently wrapped up a run at the 2017 Junior World Championships in Tampere, Finland, where he took seventh. Despite not being able to qualify for a medal match, Hancock looked strong in Finland.

A 2016 Junior World bronze medalist, Hancock has secured six other international medals—five at the Senior level—since last year, including gold medals from the 2017 Junior Greco-Roman Austrian Cup and the 2016 Klippan Cup.

On the rise is Norway’s Felix Baldauf, who is ranked No. 5 in the World. The 2017 European champion, Baldauf has had a successful year, bringing in gold medals from the Arvo Haavisto Cup, Grand Prix of Paris, Thor Masters and Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Cup in addition to his continental championship.

Other wrestlers in the mix include 2013 Junior World champion Musa Evloev of Russia and 2015 World silver medalist Rustam Assakalov of Uzbekistan.

AUGUST UWW GRECO-ROMAN WORLD RANKINGS
1. Yasmany LUGO CABRERA (CUB) – Pan America No.1 (1)
2. Felix BALDAUF (NOR) – Pytlasinski Cup No.1 (6)
3. Aleksander HRABOVIK (BLR) – Europe No.2 (2)
4. Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) – Europe No.3 (3)
5. Balasz KISS (HUN) – Europe No.3 (6)
6. Nikita MELNIKOV (RUS) – Poddubny GP No.1 (4)
7. Musa EVLOEV (RUS) – Poddubny GP No.2 (7)
8. Orkhan NURIEV (AZE) – European U23 No.1 (8)
9. Dmitri TIMCHENKO (UKR) – Ukraine Int’l No.1 (10)
10. Cenk ILDEM (TUR) – Vehbi Emri No.3 (9)
11. Mikhail KAJAIA (SRB) – LIG Int’l No.1 (nr)
12. Daniel GASTL (AUT) – LIG Int’l No.2 (nr)
13. Fatih BASKOY (TUR) – Corneanu Memorial No.1 (nr)
14. Melonin NOUMONVI (FRA) – Spanish GP No.1 (nr)
15. Matti KUOSMANEN (FIN) – European U23 No.2 (15)
16. G’Angelo HANCOCK (USA) – Pan America No.3 (16)
17. Seyedmostafa SALEHIZADEH (IRI) – Asia No.1 (17)
18. Sergey STARODUB (BLR) – Pytlasinski Cup No.3 (nr)
18. Revazi NADAREISHVILI (GEO) – Tbilisi GP No.1 (18)
20. Arvi SAVOLAINEN (FIN) – Jr Worlds No.3 (20)

2017 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS TOP SEEDS
1. Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia)
2. Yasmany Lugo Cabrera (Cuba)
3. Balazs Kiss (Hungary)
4. Cenk Ildem (Turkey)

RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS

2016 Olympic Games
98 kg/216 lbs. – Gold – Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia); Silver – Yasmany Lugo Cabrera (Cuba); Bronze – Cenk Ildem (Turkey); Bronze – Ghasem Rezaei (Iran); Fifth – Alin Alexuc Ciurariu (Romania); Fifth – Carl Schoen (Sweden); Seventh – Elis Guri (Bulgaria); Eighth – Islam Magomedov (Russia); Ninth – Balazs Kiss (Hungary); Tenth – Hamdy Abdelwahab (Egypt); Tenth – Revazi Nadareishvili (Georgia)

2015 World Championships
98 kg/216 lbs. – Gold – Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia); Silver – Ghasem Rezaei (Iran); Bronze – Islam Magomedov (Russia); Bronze – Dimitriy Timchenko (Ukraine); 5th – Elis Guri (Bulgaria); 5th – Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu (Romania); 7th – Di Xiao (China); 8th – Marthin Hamlet Nielsen (Norway); 9th – Peter Oehler (Germany); 10th – Vilius Laurinaitis (Lithuania)

2014 World Championships
98 kg/216 lbs. – Gold – Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia); Silver –Oliver Hassler (Germany); Bronze – Ghasem Rezaei (Iran); Bronze – Cenk Ildem (Turkey); 5th – Aliaksandr Hrabovik (Belarus); 5th – Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu (Romania); 7th – Miroslav Metoviev (Bulgaria); 8th – Ardo Arusaar (Estonia); 9th – Marthin Nielsen (Finland); 10th – Adam Varga (Hungary)

2013 World Championships
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Gold – Nikita Melnikov (Russia); Silver – Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia); Bronze – Balazs Kiss (Hungary); Bronze – Shalva Gadabadze (Azerbaijan); 5th – Mahdi Aliyarifeizagadi (Iran); 5th – Norikatsu Saikawa (Japan); 7th – Yerulan Iskakov (Kazakhstan); 8th – Timo Antero Kallio (Finland); 9th – Mélonin Noumonvi (France); 10th – Cenk Ildem (Turkey)

2012 Olympic Games
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Gold – Ghasem Rezaei (Iran); Silver – Rustam Totrov (Russia); Bronze – Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia); Bronze – Jimmy Lidberg (Sweden); 5th – Yunior Estrada Falcon (Cuba); 5th – Timofej Dzeynichenko (Belarus); 7th – Elis Guri (Bulgaria); 8th – Ardo Arusaar (Estonia); 9th – Hassine Ayari (Tunisia); 10th – Shalva Gadabadze (Azerbaijan)

2011 World Championships
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Gold – Elis Guri (Bulgaria); Silver – Jimmy Lidberg (Sweden); Bronze – Rustam Totrov (Russia); Bronze – Cenk Idem (Turkey); 5th – Mohammed Abdelfatah (Egypt); 5th – Timofej Dzeynichenko (Belarus); 7th – Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia); 8th – Mirko Englich (Germany); 9th – Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu (Romania); 10th – Shalva Gadabadze (Azerbaijan)

2010 World Championships
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Gold – Amir Ali Akbari (Iran); Silver – Timofej Dzeynichenko (Belarus); Bronze – Aslanbek Khushtov (Russia); Bronze – Jimmy Lidberg (Sweden); 5th – Justin Ruiz (United States); 5th – David Saldadze (Uzbekistan); 7th – Yunior Falcon Estrada (Cuba); 8th – Daigoro Timoncini (Italy); 9th – Robert Papp (Romania); 10th – Kaloyan Dinchev (Bulgaria)

2009 World Championships
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Gold - Balazs Kiss (Hungary); Silver – Jimmy Lidberg (Sweden); Bronze – Amir Ali Akbari (Iran); Bronze – Aslanbek Khushtov (Russia); 5th – David Saldadze (Uzbekistan); 5th – Sergiy Yeroshkin (Ukraine); 7th – Serkan Ozden (Turkey); 8th – Chang-Gun An (Korea) ; 9th – Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu (Romania); 10th – Oliver Hassler (Germany)