|Andy Bisek at the 2015 Pan American Games.
Photo: Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com
Date of competition: Monday, September 7
Heading into the 2015 World Championships in Las Vegas the 75 kg/165 lbs. Greco-Roman weight class is littered with wrestlers who appear capable of capturing the gold medal.
Reining 75 kg World champion Arsen Julfalakyan of Armenia broke through for his first World Championship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan last year after previously earning a World silver medal, two World bronze medals and an Olympic silver medal dating back to 2010.
Julfalakyan won the Dan Kolov – Nikola Petrov tournament in April but did suffer a setback at the Grand Prix of Spain in July, dropping the finals match to current World No. 1 Hyeon-Woo Kim of Korea.
Since earning Olympic gold in London at 66 kg, Kim has posted a remarkable string of international wins including a World Championships gold in Budapest, Hugary in 2013, three Asian Championship crowns and an Asian Games title.
In 2013 Kim edged current World No. 3 Roman Vlasov of Russia for World gold in a battle of 2012 Olympic champions.
Kim did not compete at the World Championships last year in Tashkent.
Vlasov is in search of redemption after losing to Andy Bisek of the United States in the second round at the World Championships a year ago, but it appears redemption will have to wait for the talented Russian star.
According to preliminary rosters it will be last year’s 71 kg World champion Chingiz Labazanov as the 75 kg Russian entrant in Las Vegas.
Labazanov has competed twice internationally at 75 kg since winning World’s at 71 kg last year. He earned a silver medal at the Ljubomir Ivanovic Gedza International in May followed by winning bronze at the European Games in June. His only losses at 75 kg have come at the hands of 2014 World champion Peter Basci of Hungary and current World No. 4 Elvin Mursaliyev of Azerbaijan.
Basci won the 80 kg World title last year in Tashkent, but the Hungarian is on the move to 75 kg for Las Vegas. The reigning World champion has won four international gold medals since Worlds but did post a 7-6 loss at the Greco-Roman World Cup to Evgeni Saleev of Russia in a rematch of last year’s 80 kg World finals.
Mursaliyev won a bronze medal at the World’s last year and did pick up the gold at the European Games in July defeating World No. 5 Viktor Nemes of Serbia in the finals. His only loss of 2015 was against Vlasov in the finals of the Greco-Roman World Cup.
The other bronze medal from the 2014 World Championships went to Bisek, who captured the local Uzbekistan crowd with his exciting style of wrestling and his glorious mustache.
Bisek currently sits at No. 14 in the World after earning gold medals at the Pan American Games and Granma Cup this season. He also posted a bronze medal performance at the Dave Schultz Memorial International in January.
The lone outlier for Bisek this year is a 28th place finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix where he lost his opening round match to Jure Kohar of Slovenia 2-0.
Bisek broke a five-year Greco-Roman World medal drought for the U.S. last year when he won the bronze.
Croatia’s Neven Zugaj defeated Bisek 1-0 in the semifinals at the World Championships last year en route to the 75 kg silver medal, but all indications are that he will compete at 80 kg in Las Vegas.
Other notables to watch out for in Las Vegas include 2013 World bronze medalist and World No. 9 Emrah Kus of Turkey and 2009 World silver medalist and World No. 11 Mark Madsen of Denmark.
UWW WORLD RANKINGS
1. Hyeon-Woo Kim (Korea)
2. Arsen Julfalakyan (Armenia)
3. Roman Vlasov (Russia)
4. Elvin Mursaliyev (Azerbaijan)
5. Viktor Nemes (Serbia)
6. Chingiz Labazanov (Russia)
7. Zurabi Datunashvili (Georgia)
8. Bozo Starcevic (Croatia)
9. Emrah Kus (Turkey)
10. Dmitri Pyshkov (Ukraine)
11. Mark Madsen (Denmark)
12. Karapet Chalyan (Armenia)
13. Payam Bouyeri Payani (Iran)
14. Andrew Bisek (United States of America)
15. Yavor Yanakiev (Bulgaria)
16. Petru Sevciuc (Moldova)
17. Juan Angel Escobar (Mexico)
18. Florian Neumaier (Germany)
19. Laszlo Szabo (Hungary)
20. Manukhar Tskhadaia (Georgia)
RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS
2014 World Championships
75 kg/165 lbs. – Gold – Arsen Julfalakyan (Armenia); Silver – Neven Zugaj (Croatia); Bronze – Andy Bisek (USA); Bronze – Elvin Mursaliyev (Azerbaijan); 5th – Hiroyuki Shimizu (Japan); 5th – Zurabi Datunashvili (Georgia); 7th – Gurpreet Singh (India); 8th – Juan Escobar (Mexico); 9th – Dmytro Pyshkov (Ukraine); 10th – Yavor Yankiev (Bulgaria)
2013 World Championships
74 kg/163 lbs. – Gold –Hyeon-woo Kim (Korea); Silver - Roman Vlasov (Russia); Bronze –Arsen Julfalakyan (Armenia); Bronze - Emrah Kus (Turkey); 5th - Mark Madsen (Denmark); 5th - Veili-Karri Suominen (Finland); 7th - Mykola Daragan (Ukraine); 8th - Bin Yang (China); 9th – Esengeldi Kozhobek Uulu (Kyrgyzstan); 10th - Rafig Huseynov (Azerbaijan)
2012 Olympic Games
74 kg/163 lbs. – Gold - Roman Vlasov (Russia); Silver - Arsen Julfalakyan (Armenia); Bronze - Aleksandr Kazekevic (Lithuania); Bronze - Emin Ahmadov (Azerbaijan); 5th - Mark Madsen (Denmark); 5th - Aliaksandr Kikiniou (Belarus); 7th - Zurabi Datunishvili (Georgia); 8th - Christophe Guenot (France); 9th - Robert Rosengren (Sweden); 10th - Neven Zugaj (Croatia)
2011 World Championships
74 kg/163 lbs. – Gold - Roman Vlasov (Russia); Silver - Selcuk Cebi (Turkey); Bronze - Neven Zugaj (Croatia); Bronze - Arsen Jufalakyan (Armenia); 5th - Robert Rosengren (Sweden); 5th - Askhat Dilmukhamedov (Kazakhstan); 7th - Jure Kuhar (Slovenia); 8th - Péter Bacsi (Hungary); 9th - Farshad Alizadeh Kalehkeshi (Iran); 10th - Ionel Puscasu (Romania)
2010 World Championships
74 kg/163 lbs. – Gold – Selcuk Cebi (Turkey); Silver – Arsen Julfalkayan (Armenia); Bronze – Daniar Kobonov (Kyrgyzstan); Bronze – Emil Sharafedinov (Russia); 5th – Rafik Husenyov (Azerbaijan); 5th – Takehiro Kanakubo (Japan); 7th- Roman Melyoshin (Kazakhstan); 8th – Nevan Zugaj (Croatia); 9th – Jure Kuhar (Slovenia); 10th – Christophe Guenot (France)
2009 World Championships
74 kg/163 lbs. - Gold - Selcuk Cebi (Turkey); Silver - Mark Madsen (Denmark); Bronze - Aliaksandr Kikiniov (Belarus); Bronze - Farshad Alizadeh Kelehkeshi (Iran); 5th - Konstantin Schneider (Germany); 5th - Rafiq Huseynov (Azerbaijan); 7th - Henri Valimaki (Finland); 8th - Christophe Guenot (France); 9th - Jakhongir Muminov (Uzbekistan); 10th - Evgeny Popov (Russia)