USA Wrestling Pirozhkova earns sil...

Pirozhkova earns silver, Bisek bronze at World Championships

By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling | Sept. 12, 2014, 10:47 a.m. (ET)

Elena Pirozhkova captured a silver medal for the U.S. on Friday night. Larry Slater photo.

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan – Elena Pirozkhova captured a silver medal and Andy Bisek earned a bronze medal for the U.S. at the World Championships on Friday night at the Gymnastics Palace.

Pirozhkova turned in a strong performance on the day to finish with a silver medal. She dropped a 4-2 decision to Ukraine’s Yulia Tkach in the gold-medal match in women’s freestyle wrestling at 63 kg/138.75 lbs.

Bisek, who delivered a stunning second-round upset victory over Olympic and World champion Roman Vlasov of Russia, rolled past Japan’s Hiroyuki Shimzu by an 8-0 technical fall in the Greco-Roman bronze bout at 75 kg/165 lbs.

Bisek’s win gave the U.S. its first World medal in Greco since 2009.

Pirozhkova trailed 2-0 at the break after Tkach scored a first-period takedown on a leg attack. Tkach took a 4-0 lead midway through the second period before Pirozhkova struck back with an inside trip to close the gap to 4-2, nearly exposing Tkach’s back to the mat.

Pirozhkova tried valiantly to score in the final 20 seconds, but to no avail. Pirozhkova beat Tkach 8-2 in July’s Golden Grand Prix in Azerbaijan.

“I gave it all I had in this tournament,” Pirozhkova said. “A lot of what we’ve been working on in practice is working for me. There were some positives that came out of this – I just didn’t come out with the final result I wanted in the finals.”

The U.S. women finished in third place in the team race with 41 points. Japan won the title with 55 points and Russia was second with 48 points. The U.S. also had medalists in Adeline Gray (gold) and Helen Maroulis (bronze) here in Tashkent.

“We had a very good performance,” U.S. coach Terry Steiner said. “We wrestled with heart and intensity. We were very close to winning five medals, and we wrestled well. We can definitely build on this performance.”

Pirozhkova now has four World medals – one gold, two silvers and one bronze. She becomes the fifth American woman to win four World medals.

“I’m heartbroken for Elena,” Steiner said. “She had a very tough draw and wrestled great to get to the finals. She gave great effort all day today and had a good tournament. This one stings, but she can build from this going into next year and into the Olympic year.”

Pirozhkova opened with a 5-4 win over World No. 1 Anastasia Grigorjeva of Latvia. Pirozhkova scored four points on a foot sweep just before time expired in the first period. Grigorjeva beat Pirozhkova in the first round of the 2012 Olympics.

Pirozhkova followed with a last-second takedown to rally past World champion and Olympic medalist Battsetseg Soronzonbold of Mongolia 6-4 in the second round. Soronzonbold, ranked second in the World, pinned Pirozhkova at the 2013 Worlds. Pirozhkova was 0-3 against her before Friday.

Pirozhkova used a first-period takedown to edge Junior World champion Danielle Lappage of Canada 2-1 in the quarterfinals. Pirozkhova then earned a 3-0 semifinal win over two-time World bronze medalist Monika Michalik of Poland.

“When I saw my draw, I was like ‘dang it,’ but my training prepared me for this,” Pirozhkova said. “I came out and wrestled relaxed, and tried not to worry about it. Coach Valentin (Kalika) trained me to beat all these girls and I trust him with what he’s done for me.”

Bisek came out strong in his bronze-medal bout, forcing an early passivity call on his Japanese opponent. Bisek then took advantage from the top position in par terre, scoring two quick gut wrenches before lifting and launching Shimzu to end the match late in the first period.

“This is the moment you train for,” Bisek said. “What better time than now to knock off the Russian and go win a medal. I hope this gives the rest of the team a boost. We want to win some more medals the next two days.”

Bisek opened with a 5-0 win over Greece’s Petros Manoulidis in Greco-Roman at 75 kg/165 lbs.

Bisek followed with the stunning upset victory over Vlasov. Bisek rallied from deficits of 4-0 and 5-2 to knock off the explosive Vlasov. Down 5-2, Bisek turned Vlasov twice in the final minute on a pair of gut wrenches where he was awarded one point for each turn. After a U.S. challenge failed, Vlasov was awarded a point with 30 seconds left.

Bisek then powered in near the edge of the mat, taking Vlasov down to tie the match 6-6 with just five seconds left. Bisek won on criteria by virtue of scoring last.

"If you haven't seen the match against Russia, you should watch it,” U.S. coach Matt Lindland said. “That was an incredible match. He's an Olympic and World champion, and a multiple medalist. Andy performed really well. We are excited about that.”

Bisek followed by dropping a 1-0 decision to World bronze medalist Neven Zugaj of Croatia in the quarterfinals. Bisek rallied past Finland’s Veli-Karri Suominen 6-5 in the repechage round to advance to the bronze-medal bout.

American Jordan Holm dropped a 5-0 first-round decision to Uzbekistan’s Rustam Assakalov in Greco-Roman at 85 kg/187 lbs. Holm, competing in his second World Championships, was eliminated when Assakalov failed to reach the finals.

Champions also crowned on Friday included Armenia’s Arsen Julfalakyan at 75 kg/165 lbs. and France’s Melonin Noumonvi at 85 kg/187 lbs.

2014 World Championships
Sept. 8-14
Gymnastics Palace, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Women’s freestyle

63 kg/138.75 lbs.
Gold – Yulia Tkach (Ukraine)
Silver – Elena Pirozhkova (USA)
Bronze – Valeria Lazinskaya (Russia)
Bronze – Anastasia Grigorjeva (Latvia)


75 kg/165 lbs.
Gold – Arsen Julfalakyan (Armenia)
Silver – Neven Zugaj (Croatia)
Bronze – Andy Bisek (USA)
Bronze – Elvin Mursaliyev (Azerbaijan)

85 kg/187 lbs.
Gold – Melonin Noumonvi (France)
Silver – Saman Tahmasebi (Azerbaijan)
Bronze – Zhan Beleniuk (Ukraine)
Bronze – Viktor Lorincz (Hungary)

Finals results

Women’s freestyle

63 kg/138.75 lbs.
Yulia Tkach (Ukraine) dec. Elena Pirozhkova (USA), 4-2


75 kg/165 lbs.
Arsen Julfalakyan (Armenia) dec. Neven Zugaj (Croatia), 4-2

85 kg/187 lbs.
Melonin Noumonvi (France) dec. Saman Tahmasebi (Azerbaijan), 3-0

U.S. results

Women’s freestyle

63 kg/138.75 lbs. – Elena Pirozhkova, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC) – Silver Medal
WIN Anastasia Grigorjeva (Latvia), 5-4
WIN Battsetseg Soronzonbold (Mongolia), 6-4
WIN Danielle Lappage (Canada), 2-1
WIN Monika Michalik (Poland), 3-0
LOSS Yulia Tkach (Ukraine), 2-4


75 kg/165 lbs. – Andy Bisek, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Minnesota Storm) – Bronze Medal
WIN Petros Maoulidis (Greece), 5-0
WIN Ramon Vlasov (Russia), 6-6 criteria
LOSS Neven Zugaj (Croatia), 0-1
WIN Veli-Karri Suominen (Finland), 6-5
WIN Hiroyuki Shimizu (Japan), 8-0

85 kg/187 lbs. – Jordan Holm, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Minnesota Storm)
LOSS Rustam Assakalov (Uzbekistan), 0-5