David Taylor celebrates winning gold in men’s 86 kg. freestyle at the 2018 World Wrestling Championships on Oct. 21, 2018 in Budapest, Hungary.
For months, wrestlers Jordan Burroughs and David Taylor traded barbs on social media.
They finally got the chance to bring their challenges to the mat on Wednesday night in a highly-anticipated matchup organized by FloWrestling.
Burroughs, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and four-time world champion, bumped up from his usual 74 kg. to take on the “Magic Man” Taylor, the nation’s top wrestler at 86 kg., and fans will likely still be talking about this one for a while.
Taylor took a 1-0 lead into the second period, building up to a 4-0 lead only for Burroughs to come back and tie the match with seconds to go. But 4-4 ended up as the final with Taylor winning on criteria. It was Taylor’s first time beating Burroughs in five matches.
The two both wrestled at 74 kg. for a time, but after Burroughs won the Olympic gold medal in 2012, he was firmly locked in as the top U.S. wrestler at that weight. The two met four times before Wednesday, with Burroughs winning all four contests, but this was their first meeting since 2014.
In 2015, Taylor moved up to 86 kg.
Back in October, Burroughs announced he was going to wrestle David Valencia as the main draw in another FloWrestling event to be held in November. That meant that Burroughs was moving up to 86 kg., so Taylor tweeted, “Thought you’ve been lookin like a beef cake. Test the waters and if you want a shot at the real 86kg (king) hit me up.”
To which Burroughs responded, “I made you disappear from 74kg. So who’s really the magic man?”
The stage was set.
Burroughs, who weighed in at 80 kg., defeated Valencia and then called out Taylor in the post-match interview.
“David Taylor, I know you’re watching,” he said. “Anywhere you are I’m going to find you, bro. There’s only so long you can hide. Listen, we’ve got about a month and a half before the year ends and I start making this cut back down to 74 kilos so if you want to wrestle the time is now. You’ve got two days to respond.”
Two days later, Taylor posted his own video to social media along with the caption, “The irony behind you mic dropping and giving me 2 days, is we are still waiting on you.”
“Wow, I’m so excited,” Taylor said in the video. “I signed a contract. JB, reciprocate it, let’s make it official. Let’s do this in December. Let’s give the people what they want. Match of the century. I cannot wait to step on the line and go toe to toe with you again. Looking forward to it, champ. Let’s do it.”
Initially, the long-anticipated match was going to be on Saturday, but because of COVID-19 concerns on Taylor’s end it was postponed and moved from Austin, Texas, to Lincoln, Nebraska.
Even in the hype video produced for the event, Burroughs says of Taylor, “He’s a flawless wrestler. I just think I’m better.”
In the top undercard match, Olympic bronze medalist and two-time reigning world champion J’den Cox won his second match in five nights with a victory over Nate Jackson at 215 pounds.