American Ed Ruth takes control in his wild 22-13 win over two-time World silver medalist Reineris Salas of Cuba on Saturday afternoon. John Sachs photo.
LOS ANGELES – Ed Ruth never stopped attacking and never stopped wrestling.
And it paid off as Ruth notched the biggest win of his young international career.
Down seven points to two-time World silver medalist Reineris Salas of Cuba, Ruth staged an improbable and furious second-period rally in scoring the final 16 points in a wild 22-13 win.
Ruth’s breakthrough win boosted the United States to a 6-2 win over Cuba as the World Cup kicked off Saturday before 3,000 fans at the L.A. Forum.
Ruth trailed 7-6 at the break before Salas tacked on six straight points to take a 13-6 lead.
Ruth then took over the match, peppering Salas with a barrage of leg attacks to overpower the Cuban World medalist at 86 kg/189 lbs.
“I just stuck to my game plan,” said Ruth, a 2014 World Team member who won three NCAA titles for Penn State. “I wanted to show some of my speed and just use my conditioning to my advantage. I could’ve wrestled a lot smarter. I gave up a lot of points. I’ve been working hard on my strength and conditioning. I want to move up the rankings and that’s a guy I really wanted to beat.”
The U.S. dropped the first two bouts before winning the final six against a strong Cuban team that had five World medalists in its lineup.
Olympic gold medalist and two-time World champion Jordan Burroughs took control late in the first period en route to a 6-2 win over Olympic and World medalist Livan Lopez of Cuba. Burroughs powered in on a double-leg attack and exposed Lopez’s back for a four-point move to lead 5-0 at the break at 74 kg/163 lbs.
“He’s definitely a tough wrestler – he’s very good and he wrestled hard,” Burroughs said. “He’s been around and he’s had a good career. I've got to do more, and score more points. He’s a real tough guy and it’s a good win for me.”
Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner fired in on an ankle pick for a takedown en route to defeating 2014 World bronze medalist Javier Cortina of Cuba 3-0 at 97 kg/213 lbs.
Varner, who grew up in nearby Bakersfield, was competing for the first time since the 2014 Worlds last September.
“I felt good,” Varner said. “I would like to score a few more points than that, but it was a good win for me. He’s a tough guy and he’s a strong guy. It’s good having the fans here and it’s great to have their support.”
World Team members Brent Metcalf and Nick Marable also prevailed for the U.S. as did heavyweight Zach Rey.
The U.S. will battle Russia on Saturday night at 6:30 at the Forum before facing Mongolia in its final pool match on Sunday.
Winners of each pool will meet in Sunday afternoon’s finals.
Freestyle World Cup
The Forum, Los Angeles, Calif.
USA 6, CUBA 2
57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez (Cuba) pinned Tony Ramos (USA), 4:57
61 kg/134 lbs. – Antonio Perez Gonzalez (Cuba) dec. Coleman Scott (USA), 8-1
65 kg/143 lbs. – Brent Metcalf (USA) dec. Franklin Maren Castillo (Cuba), 7-2
70 kg/154 lbs. – Nick Marable (USA) won by tech. fall over Andy Yoan Moreno Gonzalez (Cuba), 10-0
74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs (USA) dec. Livan Lopez (Cuba), 6-2
86 kg/189 lbs. – Ed Ruth (USA) dec. Reineris Salas (Cuba), 22-13
97 kg/213 lbs. – Jake Varner (USA) dec. Javier Cortina (Cuba), 3-0
125 kg/275.5 lbs. – Zach Rey (USA) dec. Eduardo Mesa, 3-0
IRAN 8, BELARUS 0
57 kg – Hassan Rahimi (Iran) dec. Ulandzislau Andreyeu (Belarus), 5-2
61 kg – Behnam Ehsanpoor (Iran) dec. Dzianis Maksimau (Belarus), 7-0
65 kg – Seyed Ahmad Mohammadi Pahnehkalaei (Iran) won by tech. fall over Azamat Nurykau (Belarus), 11-0
70 kg – Hassan Yazdani Charati (Iran) won by tech. fall over Zhan Safyan (Belarus), 12-1
74 kg – Morteza Rezaei Ghaleh (Iran) dec. Ali Shabanau (Belarus), 4-4
86 kg – Alireza Karimimachiani (Iran) dec. Amarhajy Mahamedau (Belarus), 7-4
97 kg – Reza Yazdani (Iran) won by tech. fall over Ivan Yankouski (Belarus), 10-0
125 kg – Parviz Hadibasmanj (Iran) dec. Aleksei Shemarov (Belarus), 6-0