World Championships preview in Greco-Roman Wrestling at 130 kg/286.6 lbs.

By Richard Immel USA Wrestling | Sept. 04, 2014, 11:57 a.m. (ET)
 
 Robby Smith (USA) at the 2014 Greco-Roman World
Cup in Tehran, Iran.
VIDEO: Robby Smith (USA) vs. Xiaoming Nie (China) at 2013 World Championships

Date of Competition: Saturday, September 13

The battle of the big men will be a thrilling one to watch as all the top stars at 130 kg are ready to make a run at gold at the 2014 World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

One of the most decorated Greco-Roman heavyweights of all time, Mijain Lopez Nunez, will be back in action in Tashkent after sitting the post-Olympic year out. He is the odds on favorite to claim the top spot in the world once more.

Lopez Nunez has amassed an astounding eight World and Olympic medals throughout his career, including two Olympic gold medals, four World gold medals and two World silver medals.

Since returning to international competition in 2014, Lopez Nunez has struck gold at the Granma Cup, Central American and Caribbean Games and Pan American Championships.

Lopez Nunez last international defeat was in the World Championship finals back in 2011 where he lost to current World No. 1 Riza Kayaalp of Turkey.

In addition to his World Championship in 2011, Kayaalp has earned two bronze medals at the World Championships in 2009 and 2013. He was also a bronze medalist at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Kayaalp is undefeated internationally this season, posting victories at the Moscow Lights, Vehbi Emre, Golden Grand Prix and European Championships.

Defending World Champion Heiki Nabi of Estonia has hit a rough patch since last year’s Worlds in Budapest, Hungary.

Nabi has competed in six international events in 2014 but has only earned a medal in two of those six competitions, securing silver at the Stockholm Open and bronze at the Golden Grand Prix. He finished in 11th place at the European Championships after losing to No. 14 ranked Sabah Shariati of Azerbaijan in the opening round.

In 2012 Nabi finished runner-up to Lopez Nunez at the Olympic Games.

Nabi is currently sitting at No. 12 in the FILA World Rankings, but has the potential to win it all in Tashkent.

The No. 3 ranked wrestler in the world at 130 kg is 2013 World bronze medalist Johan Magnus Euren of Sweden.

Euren has medaled in six of seven international competitions since the World Championships last year, including earning gold medals at the Haparanda Cup, Yadegar Imam Cup, Thor Masters and Stockholm Open. He finished in third place at the European Championships losing to No. 7 ranked Lyubomir Dimitrov of Bulgaria.

Euren won a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

The 34 year old veteran Mindaugas Mizgaitis of Lithuania will look to capture his first World Championships medal in Tashkent, in what will be his 11th trip to the Worlds.

Mizgaitis is currently ranked No. 4 in the world after posting a bag of mixed results in the 2014 season. He medaled in three of the six international events he has competed in this year, earning gold at the Herman Kare Tournament, silver at the Golden Grand Prix of Paris and bronze at the Golden Grand Prix of Hungary. He finished in ninth place at the European Championships in April.

Mizgaitis won his lone world level medal at the 2008 Olympic Games held in Beijing China, earning bronze.

2011 World bronze medalist Bashir Asgiri Babajanzadeh of Iran did not compete at the World Championships in 2013, but he will make his return to the world stage in Tashkent.

Babajanzadeh is sitting at No. 5 in the FILA World Rankings after earning gold at the World Cup and Silver at the Golden Grand Prix of Hungary.

2014 World University Champion Balint Lam will replace five-time World silver medalist Mihaly Deak Bardos as the Hungarian heavyweight in Tashkent, marking a new era at heavyweight in Hungarian wrestling.

Three-time World bronze medalist from Kazakhstan, Nurmakhan Tinaliev will be a major player at 130 kg in Tashkent.

Since earning bronze at last year’s Worlds in Budapest, Tinaliev has won the President Cup of Kazakhstan and the Grand Prix of Germany. He is currently No. 10 in the FILA World Rankings.

American big man Robby Smith finished fifth in the World last year in Budapest and will be looking to take a spot on the medal stand in his second appearance at the World Championships.

Smith has won three international competitions since Budapest, earning gold at the NYAC International, Arvo Haavisto Cup and Dave Schultz Memorial International. He also tacked on a bronze medal at the Granma Cup.

At the 2014 World Cup in Tehran, Iran Smith became a fan favorite with his exciting, high-paced style in the heavyweight division.

Smith has all the tools to become a World medalist in 2014, and appears ready to do so.

FILA WORLD RANKINGS
1. Riza KAYAALP (TUR)
2. Mijain LOPEZ NUNEZ (CUB)
3. Johan Magnus EUREN (SWE)
4. Mindaugas MIZGAITIS (LTU)
5. Bashir Asgiri BABAJANZADEH (IRI)
6. Attila GUZEL (TUR)
7. Lyubomir DIMITROV (BUL)
8. Behnam MEHDIZADEH (IRI)
9. Balint LAM (HUN)
10. Nurmakhan TINALIEV (KAZ)
11. Kiril GRYSHCHANKO (BLR)
12. Heiki NABI (EST)
13. Iakobi KAJAIA (GEO)
14. Saba SHARIATI (AZE)
15. Iosif CHUGOSHVILI (BLR)
16. Murat RAMONOV (KGZ)
17. Vasily PARSHIN (RUS)
18. Aleksander CHERNETSKI (UKR)
19. Radhouane CHEBBI (TUN)
20. Ramon Antonio GARCIA (DOM)

RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS AT 120 KG/264.5 LBS.

2013 World Championships
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Gold - Heiki Nabi (Estonia); Silver - Riza Kayaalp (Turkey); Bronze – Nurmakhan Tinalyev (Kazakhstan); Bronze - Johan Euren (Sweden); 5th - Mihaly Deak-Bardos (Hungary); 5th - Robby Smith (USA); 7th - Eduard Popp (Germany); 8th - Radhouane Chebbi (Tunisia); 9th – Ramon Garcia (Dominican Republic); 10th - Sergei Andrusik (Russia)

2012 Olympic Games
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Gold - Mijian Lopez (Cuba); Silver - Heiki Nabi (Estonia); Bronze - Riza Kayaalp (Turkey); Bronze - Johan Euren (Sweden); 5th - Guram Pherselidze (Georgia); 5th - Iosif Chugoshvili (Belarus); 7th - Darzi Babanjanzadeh (Iran); 8th - Yuri Patrikeev (Armenia); 9th - Dremiel Byers (USA); 10th - Lukasz Banak (Poland)

2011 World Championships
120 kg/264.4 lbs. – Gold - Riza Kayaalp (Turkey); Silver - Mijain Lopez (Cuba); Bronze - Nurmakhan Tinaliyev (Kazakhstan); Bronze - Bashir Asgari Babanjazadeh Darzi (Iran); 5th - Mihály Deak-Bardos (Hungary); 5th - Lukasz Banak (Poland); 7th - Xenofon Koutsioumpas (Greece); 8th - Ivan Ivanov (Bulgaria); 9th - Yuri Patrikeev (Armenia); 10th - Aleksandr Anuchin (Russia)

2010 World Championships
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Gold – Mijain Lopez (Cuba); Silver – Youri Patrikeev (Armenia); Bronze – Riza Kayaalp (Turkey); Bronze – Nurmakhan Tinaliev (Kazakhstan); 5th – Dremiel Byers (United States); 5th – Marek Svec (Czech Republic); 7th – Khassan Baroev (Russia); 8th – Lukasz Banak (Poland); 9th – Johan Magnus Euren (Sweden); 10th – Guram Pherselidze (Georgia)

2009 World Championships
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Gold - Mijain Lopez Nunez (Cuba); Silver - Dremiel Byers (USA); Bronze - Jalmar Sjoeberg (Sweden); Bronze - Riza Kayaalp (Turkey); 5th - Nico Schmidt (Germany); 5th - Ioseb Chugoshvili (Belarus); 7th - Aleksandr Anunchin (Russia); 8th – Mihaly Deak-Bardos (Hungary); 9th - Rafael Barreno (Venezuela); 10th - Marek Svec (Czech Republic)