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World Championships preview in Greco-Roman at 85 kg/187 lbs.

By Richard Immel USA Wrestling | Aug. 29, 2015, 10:28 a.m. (ET)

 Jordan Holm faces Jon Anderson at the 2015 U.S. Open
Photo: Tony Rotundo,
VIDEO: No. 13 Jordan Holm (USA) dec. No. 20 Nursultan Tursynov (KAZ) 3-3 at the Dave Schultz Memorial International

Date of competition: Wednesday, September 9

The 85 kg/187 lbs. Greco-Roman weight class at the World Championships in Las Vegas will see a bevy of wrestlers contending for a spot on the medal stand.

The gold medal discussion begins with reigning World champion at 85 kg, Melonin Noumonvi of France. He is expected to be the lone World champion in the field at 85 kg.

Coming off his World title in Tashkent, Noumonvi elected to compete at 98 kg for the Grand Prix of Paris where he earned the silver medal and the European Games where he wound up with the bronze. The Frenchman elected to try his luck once more at 85 kg at the Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Cup in July, but he fell flat, finishing in 28th place. This lackluster performance in in Warsaw dropped Noumonvi to No. 10 in the World Rankings.

Coming in second place to Noumonvi last year was four-time World medalist Saman Tahmasebi of Azerbaijan.

Tahmasebi’s credentials are rivaled by few at 85 kg. He boasts two World bronze medals, two World silver medals and is a two-time Olympian. Tahmasebi transitioned countries from Iran to Azerbaijan in 2010. He won his two World bronze medals while still competing for Iran and was an Iranian Olympian in 2008.

The 2015 season has not been kind to Thamasebi as he has not earned a medal in international competition and is currently unranked by UWW. In fact, his countryman Islam Abbasov is ranked at No. 7 in the World casting some doubt as to Thamasebi’s stock in his own country.

Abbasov just won a silver medal at the Junior World’s in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil in August in addition to winning the Junior European Championships in June. He won the Junior World’s two years ago and is a two-time Cadet World champion.

The youngster was a vital member of the Azerbaijan squad that won the Greco-Roman World Cup in February, going 3-0 in that competition, including a win over the current No. 1 ranked wrestler in the World David Chakvetadze of Russia.

Indications are that the veteran Thamasebi will get the nod for the World Championships in Las Vegas, but there is still a chance that Abbasov will get his first crack at the big show.

From the Russian perspective there are two options on who to send to Las Vegas at 85 kg, the upstart Chakvetadze or the resurgent Alexej Mishin, both of whom are ranked in the top 10 in the World.

Chakvetadze does top the list in terms of World Ranking and did strike gold at both the European Games and Ljubomir Ivanovic Gedza International this year. The downsides for sending him are the aforementioned loss to Abbasov and a lack of experience on the World Championships stage.

Mishin has been on an international tear this year, culminating with the gold medal at the Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Cup. The Russian veteran won the 2004 Olympic Games, 2007 World Championships and is a five-time World medalist.

Indications are it will be Chakvetadze as the Russian representative in Las Vegas, but similar to the dilemma facing Azerbaijan, there is still an outside shot the alternate Mishin will get the nod.

Both World bronze medalists from one year ago, Viktor Lorincz of Hungary and Zhan Belenyuk of Ukraine, will play key roles in the outcome of the 85 kg tournament in Las Vegas.

World No. 4 Lorincz has earned silver medals at both the Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Cup and Vehbi Emre and Hamit Kaplin Tournament this season. The Hungarian has won back-to-back bronze medals at the World Championships.

Belenyuk enters Las Vegas ranked No. 2 in the UWW World Rankings after a solid 2015 campaign that resulted in a gold medal at the Takhti Cup and a silver medal at the European Games.

Current World No. 3 Habibollah Akhlaghi of Iran will transition up from 80 kg where he competed at for most of the 2015 season. After finishing in seventh place at the Worlds at 80 kg last year, the Iranian went on the win the prestigious Asian Games, also at 80 kg.

Akhlaghi made the move to 85 kg for the Dan Kolov – Nikola Petrov Tournament where he defeated World No. 8 Maksim Manukyan of Armenia to win the gold. He was a University World champion and Olympian at the old weight class of 84 kg so expect experience to play in his favor come Las Vegas.

Germany’s Ramsin Azizsir boasts a No. 5 World ranking after winning the World Military Championships this year in addition to winning bronze medals at the European Games and Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Cup. He lost 3-0 to Belenyuk in the bronze medal match at the World Championships last year in Tashkent.

Entering his third World Championships for the United States, Jordan Holm appears poised to make a serious run in Las Vegas.

Holm has posted an undefeated record for the 2015 season including international gold medals at the Dave Schultz Memorial International and Hungarian Grand Prix.

With the World Championships on U.S. soil all the pieces are in place for Holm to make a run to his first World medal in a highly competitive 85 kg weight class.

1. David Chakvetadze (Russia)
2. Zhan Belenyuk (Ukraine)
3. Habibollah Akhlaghi (Iran)
4. Viktor Lorincz (Hungary)
5. Ramsin Azizsir (Germany)
6. Metehan Basar (Turkey)
7. Islam Abbasov (Azerbaijan)
8. Maksim Manukyan (Armenia)
9. Alexej Mishin (Russia)
10. Melonin Noumonvi (France)
11. Denis Kudla (Germany)
12. Rustam Assakalov (Uzbekistan)
13. Jordan Holm (United States of America)
14. Kristoffer Johansson (Sweden)
15. Mojtaba Karimfar (Iran)
16. Artur Shahinyan (Armenia)
17. Jonathan Anderson (United States of America)
18. Nenad Zugaj (Croatia)
19. Javid Hamzatov (Belarus)
20. Nursultan Tursynov (Kazakhstan)


2014 World Championships
85 kg/187 lbs. – Gold – Melonin Noumonvi (France); Silver – Saman Tahmasebi (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Viktor Lorincz (Hungary); Bronze – Zhan Beleniuk (Ukraine); 5th – Kristofer Johansson (Sweden); 5th – Ramsin Azizsir (Germany); 7th – Javid Hamzatau (Belarus); 8th – Masayuki Amano (Japan); 9th – Ahmed Ibrahim (Egypt); 10th – Vladimer Gegeshidze (Georgia)

2013 World Championships
84 kg/185 lbs. – Gold - Taleb Nematpour (Iran); Silver - Saman Tahmasebi (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Javid Jamzatau (Belarus); Bronze - Viktor Lorincz (Hungary); 5th - Damian Janikowski (Poland); 5th - Rami Hietaniemi (Finland); 7th - Nenad Zugaj (Croatia); 8th - Maksim Manukyan (Armenia); 9th – Rustam Assakalov (Uzbekistan); 10th - Nursultan Tursynov (Kazakhstan)

2012 Olympic Games
84 kg/185 lbs. – Gold - Alan Khugaev (Russia); Silver - Karam Gaber (Egypt); Bronze - Danjel Gajiyev (Kazakhstan); Bronze - Damian Janikowski (Poland); 5th - Vladimer Gegeshidze (Georgia); 5th - Melonin Noumonvi (France); 7th - Pablo Shorey (Cuba); 8th - Vasil Rachyba (Ukraine); 9th - Chas Betts (USA); 10th - Amer Hrustanovic (Austria)

2011 World Championships
84 kg/185 lbs. – Gold - Alim Selimau (Belarus); Silver - Damian Janikowski (Poland); Bronze - Nazmi Avluca (Turkey); Bronze - Rami Heitaniemi (Finland); 5th - Alan Khugaev (Russia); 5th - Saman Ahman Tahmasebi (Azerbaijan); 7th - Nenad Zugaj (Croatia); 8th - Andrea Minguzzi (Italy); 9th - Se-Yeol Lee (Korea); 10th - Marian Mihalik (Slovakia)

2010 World Championships
84 kg/185 lbs. – Gold – Hristo Marinov (Bulgaria); Silver – Pablo Shorey Hernandez (Cuba); Bronze – Alexej Mishin (Russia); Bronze – Nenad Zugaj (Croatia); 5th – Nazmi Avluca (Turkey); 5th – Damian Janikowski (Poland); 7th – Alhazur Ozdiev (Kazakhstan); 8th – Vladimir Gegeshidze (Georgia); 9th – Vasil Rachyba (Ukraine); 10th – Laimutis Adomaitis (Lithuania)