Kyle Dake competes against Jeandry Garzon Caballero of Team Cuba during the Men's Freestyle 74kg Repechage at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on August 06, 2021 in Chiba, Japan.
The U.S. wrestling team knew this year’s world championships would be different from most since it’s taking place just two months after wrapping up the Olympic Games.
Just two days into the tournament, however, the men’s freestyle team already has one world title and three medals with the possibility of more tomorrow.
Olympic bronze medalist Kyle Dake won his third world title on Sunday while Olympic champion David Taylor and Youth Olympic medalist Daton Fix earned silver medals.
Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs will wrestle on Monday for his fifth world title, facing Iran’s Mohammad Nokhodilarimi in the 79 kg. gold-medal match, while Olympic medalist Thomas Gilman will go for the title at 57 kg. facing Iran’s Alireza Sarlak. Olympic medalist J’den Cox will wrestle for bronze at 92 kg.
Dake, a two-time world champion at 79 kg. and Olympic bronze medalist in Tokyo, faced Slovakia’s Tajmuraz Salkazanov at 74 kg. Dake took an early 1-0 lead with a step out, but at the break it was Salkazanov who took the lead on criteria with a step out into the break. He then took the lead after forcing Dake out of bounds, but Dake responded with a takedown for a 3-2 lead with just under a minute and a half to go. The 30-year-old from Ithaca, New York, wasn’t going to let it stay that close. A takedown into a gut wrench and a step out quickly made it 7-3 and with that he earned his third world title.
Taylor, the 86 kg. gold medalist in Tokyo, rolled through his matches on Saturday, winning twice on technical falls and then pinning 2019 U23 world silver medalist Abubakr Abakarov of Azerbaijan at 1:35 in the semifinals. That set up Sunday’s rematch of the Olympic gold medal match just two months ago against 2016 Olympic champion Hassan Yazdani Charati of Iran.
Taylor took a 3-0 record against Yazdani, including a 4-3 win in Tokyo, into Sunday’s matchup. It was Yazdani who scored first, however, taking a 1-0 lead on a step out. He expanded that lead to 4-0 with two minutes left, putting the Magic Man on his heels, and Taylor responded with a takedown for two points of his own to cut the lead in half. This time, however, the title would go to Yazdani. He got a takedown in the final seconds to win, 6-2.
Fix, the third member of Team USA to wrestle for gold on Sunday, faced the Russian Wrestling Federation’s Abasgadzhi Magomedov at 61 kg. Magomedov scored first with two points for exposure after Fix was warned for passivity, but the U.S. challenged and won to leave the match scoreless with just under five minutes remaining. Magomedov and Fix quickly tied it at 1-1 at the half, but Magomedov got a point out of the break after Fix went on the shot clock and couldn’t score. The Russian then got a takedown to make it 4-1 with just over a minute remaining and Fix couldn’t make up the difference.
The only other time that Fix, who’s 23 and a junior at Oklahoma State, made the senior world team was in 2019 at 57 kg. and he did not place.
Nick Gwiazdowski wrestled for the bronze medal on Sunday as well, and fell to Turkey’s Taha Akgul, 6-4, at 125 kg. to finish in fifth place.