By Karen Price | Oct. 21, 2018, 1:42 p.m. (ET)

Joe Colon celebrates winning bronze in 61kg. freestyle at World Wrestling Championships on Oct. 21, 2018 in Budapest, Hungary.

 

Joe Colon was an injury replacement at the World Wrestling Championships at 61 kilograms, but he proved he deserved to be there winning the bronze medal Sunday.

Colon, from Fresno, California, was making his senior world championship debut. He faced  Mohammedbagher Yakhkeshi of Iran for the bronze and quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a single-leg takedown. Another takedown appeared to give him a 5-0 lead but Yakhkeshi challenged, arguing that Colon stepped out, and won the challenge to make it 3-1.

Colon answered with another takedown for a 5-1 lead then stepped out to cut it to make it 5-2, but ultimately closed the match out with three gut wrenches for 13-2 technical fall victory. 

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Yakhkeshi, who won the 2018 Yasar Dogu International in Turkey, won in the repechage to earn his way to the bronze-medal match. 

Colon suffered a semifinal loss to Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez of Cuba 9-4. He beat Ivan Bileichuk of the Ukraine, 9-6, and Vladimir Dubov of Bulgaria by technical fall, 10-0.

Colon was the runner-up to Nahshon Garrett at Final X in June, but earlier this month, Garrett was forced to withdraw from what would have been his senior world championship debut with an injury. That opened the door for Colon, who won a gold medal at the 2018 Pan American Championships, a silver at this year’s Alexander Medved International in Belarus and the bronze at the Ziolkowski Memorial in Poland.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.