World Championships preview in Greco-Roman wrestling at 75 kg/165 lbs.
| Andy Bisek at the 2013 World Championships in
Budapest, Hungary. Tony Rotundo Photo.
Date of Competition: Friday, September 12
Heading into the 2014 World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, two names stand above the rest in the 75 kg/165 lbs. Greco-Roman field.
2012 Olympic Champions Hyeon-Woo Kim of Korea and Roman Vlasov of Russia appear to be on a collision course to clash for the World Championship for the second straight year.
Kim enters the World Championships ranked No. 1 in the world by FILA after striking gold at the Asian Championships and Olympia Tournament this year. Kim won his Olympic gold medal at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. in London in 2012.
In 2013, Kim bumped up to 74 kg/163 lbs. to take on the Vlasov who won the 2012 Olympics and 2011 World Championships at that weight. Kim defeated Vlasov in a thriller to win the gold in Budapest last year.
Vlasov has not competed much internationally since the World Championships one year ago. He did win the Copa Brasil tournament in late 2013 and finished runner-up to fellow Russian Aleksander Chekhirkin at the Ivan Poddubny Tournament in January.
While Chekhirkin is currently sitting at No. 2 in the FILA World Rankings and is the reigning European Champion, it will be Vlasov who represents Russia in Tashkent, setting up the potential rematch between Vlasov and Kim.
Taking up the No. 3 spot in the FILA World Rankings is stout Armenian Arsen Julfalakyan, who has rolled since earning a bronze medal at last year’s World Championships.
Julfalakyan has won the Dan Kolov – Nikola Petrov Tournament, Trophee Milone and Grand Prix of Germany this year. The only blemish on an otherwise perfect resume for the Armenian is a runner-up finish at the European Championships to Chekhirkin.
Julfalakyan appears to be the top threat to Kim or Vlasov this year having already claimed an Olympic Silver medal in 2012, World silver in 2010 and World bronze in 2010 and 2013.
Denmark’s Mark Madsen will no doubt be in medal contention in 2014. Madsen’s big advantage is experience, having competed in his first senior level World Championships back in 2002.
Madsen has accumulated four World medals, including three silver, but has come up short of his goal of becoming World Champion. Madsen finished in fifth place at both last year’s Worlds and the 2012 Olympic Games.
Turkey’s Emrah Kus won a bronze medal last year competing at his first senior level World Championships. He has had an up and down 2014 campaign winning the Moscow Lights and Vehbi Emre competitions, but falling short of medals at the two Golden Grand Prix events.
The young Turk is ranked thirteenth in the current FILA World Rankings, but has a high upside come Tashkent.
Another medal threat is sixth ranked Elvin Mursaliyev of Azerbaijan. Mursaliyev won the always tough Golden Grand Prix Final last month at 80 kg/176 lbs., in addition to placing third in the European Championships at this weight class in April.
A dark horse who could unseat the talented individuals at the top of this weight class is none other than American star Andy Bisek.
Bisek has had a 2014 to remember, winning five gold medals during international competition, including gold at the Pan American Championships last month.
Tashkent will mark Bisek’s third World Championship appearance as he looks poised to capture his first World level medal.
FILA WORLD RANKINGS
1. KIM Hyeon-Woo (KOR)
2. Aleksander CHEKHIRKIN (RUS)
3. Arsen JULFALAKYAN (ARM)
4. Roman VLASOV (RUS)
5. Mark MADSEN (DEN)
6. Elvin MURSALIYEV (AZE)
7. Robert ROSENGREN (SWE)
8. Viktor NEMES (SRB)
9. Zurabi DATUNASHVILI (GEO)
10. Arkadiusz KULYNYCZ (POL)
11. Neven ZUGAJ (CRO)
12. Laszlo SZABO (HUN)
13. Emrah KUS (TUR)
14. Takehiro KANAKUBO (JPN)
15. Andrew BISEK (USA)
16. Jure KUHAR (SLO)
17. Bozo STARCEVIC (CRO)
18. Julio BASTIDA MENDOZA (CUB)
19. Juan Angel ESCOBAR (MEX)
20. Seref TUFENK (TUR)
RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS AT 74 KG/163 LBS.
2013 World Championships
74 kg/163 lbs. – Gold –Hyeon-woo Kim (Korea); Silver - Roman Vlasov (Russia); Bronze –Arsen Julfalakyan (Armenia); Bronze - Emrah Kus (Turkey); 5th - Mark Madsen (Denmark); 5th - Veili-Karri Suominen (Finland); 7th - Mykola Daragan (Ukraine); 8th - Bin Yang (China); 9th – Esengeldi Kozhobek Uulu (Kyrgyzstan); 10th - Rafig Huseynov (Azerbaijan)
2012 Olympic Games
74 kg/163 lbs. – Gold - Roman Vlasov (Russia); Silver - Arsen Julfalakyan (Armenia); Bronze - Aleksandr Kazekevic (Lithuania); Bronze - Emin Ahmadov (Azerbaijan); 5th - Mark Madsen (Denmark); 5th - Aliaksandr Kikiniou (Belarus); 7th - Zurabi Datunishvili (Georgia); 8th - Christophe Guenot (France); 9th - Robert Rosengren (Sweden); 10th - Neven Zugaj (Croatia)
2011 World Championships
74 kg/163 lbs. – Gold - Roman Vlasov (Russia); Silver - Selcuk Cebi (Turkey); Bronze - Neven Zugaj (Croatia); Bronze - Arsen Jufalakyan (Armenia); 5th - Robert Rosengren (Sweden); 5th - Askhat Dilmukhamedov (Kazakhstan); 7th - Jure Kuhar (Slovenia); 8th - Péter Bacsi (Hungary); 9th - Farshad Alizadeh Kalehkeshi (Iran); 10th - Ionel Puscasu (Romania)
2010 World Championships
74 kg/163 lbs. – Gold – Selcuk Cebi (Turkey); Silver – Arsen Julfalkayan (Armenia); Bronze – Daniar Kobonov (Kyrgyzstan); Bronze – Emil Sharafedinov (Russia); 5th – Rafik Husenyov (Azerbaijan); 5th – Takehiro Kanakubo (Japan); 7th- Roman Melyoshin (Kazakhstan); 8th – Nevan Zugaj (Croatia); 9th – Jure Kuhar (Slovenia); 10th – Christophe Guenot (France)
2009 World Championships
74 kg/163 lbs. - Gold - Selcuk Cebi (Turkey); Silver - Mark Madsen (Denmark); Bronze - Aliaksandr Kikiniov (Belarus); Bronze - Farshad Alizadeh Kelehkeshi (Iran); 5th - Konstantin Schneider (Germany); 5th - Rafiq Huseynov (Azerbaijan); 7th - Henri Valimaki (Finland); 8th - Christophe Guenot (France); 9th - Jakhongir Muminov (Uzbekistan); 10th - Evgeny Popov (Russia)