GOLDEN LEGEND: Jordan Burroughs hits Vegas jackpot, captures third World title with dominant performance

By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling | Sept. 13, 2015, 12:17 a.m. (ET)
Jordan Burroughs captured a gold medal at the World Championships on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Tony Rotundo photo.

LAS VEGAS – Jordan Burroughs pumped his fist and flashed a smile.

It was a familiar scene as the United States wrestling legend celebrated another landmark victory by running around the mat with an American flag draped around him.

The only difference this time was he had the opportunity to share it with his U.S. home fans in Las Vegas.

Burroughs delivered once again, putting on a memorable show for the Vegas fans by powering to a 10-0 technical fall over Unurbat Purevjav of Mongolia in the gold-medal finals at 74 kg/163 lbs.

Burroughs, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, earned his third World title before a boisterous sellout crowd of 7,000 fans Saturday night at the Orleans Arena.

Burroughs joins John Smith and Bruce Baumgartner as the only American freestyle wrestlers who have combined to win four or more World and Olympic titles. Smith won six golds (four World, two Olympic) and Baumgartner five (three World, two Olympic).

"This is what we dream of," Burroughs said. "I'm a World champion again. I've been here before, but it never loses its significance. It's not easy, but I'm still hungry to do more."

Burroughs has now won four World medals, three gold and one bronze, in addition to his Olympic gold.

"That's No. 4. I'm in elite company now with John Smith and Bruce Baumgartner. When you talk about the Mount Rushmore of wrestling, I can definitely say I'm on it. This time was extremely special with my family in the stands."

Burroughs barreled in on a leg attack for an early takedown and led Purevjav 2-0 at the break. He then turned up the heat in the second period, firing in on a leg attack and gaining exposure to lead 6-0 early in the second period. He turned two more leg shots into takedowns in the final minute to complete the 10-0 technical fall.

Burroughs had defeated Purevjav 6-0 at April’s World Cup in Los Angeles.

"It's been a trying year. I've been married for a little less than two years, had a newborn son last July and also took an assistant coaching position at the University of Nebraska. It was extremely tough for me this year," Burroughs said. "I was very pressed for time. I was extremely busy. For a long time I was trying to be the best wrestler in the World in my spare time.

"I'm fortunate enough to have a great supporting staff and a lot of prayer. I'm back. Last year, I sprained my MCL in my first match. I didn't know if (three-time Russian World champion Denis) Tsargush was going to be here this year. He wasn't. I wrestled another Russian in the semifinals and was fortunate enough to make it here, and I'm extremely grateful."

American James Green, who trains with Burroughs in Lincoln, Neb., bolted out to a big lead before delivering an emphatic first-period fall over Bulgaria’s Murslav Kirov in the bronze-medal bout at 70 kg/154 lbs.

Green, 22, a four-time All-American for Nebraska, was competing at his first World Championships. Green finished third at Big Tens and NCAAs in March, but came back strong to win a World bronze medal in Vegas.

“I just had to be able to keep my head up, battle back and get it done,” Green said. “It was awesome to light it up in front of the USA with a pin and get the crowd going. That was truly amazing.”

The top-ranked Burroughs, 27, is now 114-2 in his brilliant international career. He won six matches Saturday to run his current winning streak to 23. He was 22-0 this season and will now point toward winning his second Olympic gold medal next year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Burroughs also joins an exclusive club of American wrestlers with at least three World titles in men’s freestyle. That group includes Smith (four World golds), Lee Kemp (three) and Baumgartner (three).

Burroughs downed defensive-minded Krystian Brzozowski of Poland 5-2 in his first bout. He then powered past Ukraine’s Oleg Zakharevych 10-0 in the second round. Burroughs followed with a quick 11-0 technical fall over Hungary’s Mihaly Nagy in the third round.

Burroughs fired in for an early takedown before controlling Iran’s Alireza Ghasemi 5-0 in the quarterfinals. Burroughs outlasted No. 2 Aniuar Geduev of Russia 4-3 in a hard-fought semifinal late Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas.

Green dominated Costa Rica’s Johnathan Scott Duque 10-0 in the first round. He then overpowered Slovakia’s Robert Olle 12-1 in the second round.

Green charged out aggressively en route to a 10-0 win over India’s Arun Kumar in the quarterfinals. He then dropped a 9-4 decision to 2014 Junior World champion Hassan Yazdani of Iran in the semifinals.

Two-time World Team member Tony Ramos opened with a 10-1 triumph over Colombia’s Eucli Cuero Munoz at 57 kg/125.5 lbs.

Ramos came back to earn a gritty 3-3 criteria win over Uzbekistan’s Makhmudjon Shavkatov in the second round.

Ramos then dropped a narrow 3-1 decision to World champion Hassan Rahimi of Iran in the third round. Ramos was eliminated in a 7-1 loss to Asadulla Lachinau of Belarus in the repechage.

First-time World Team member Zach Rey dropped a 6-1 first-round decision to 2013 World silver medalist Alen Zaseev of Ukraine at 125 kg/275 lbs.

Champions also crowned on Saturday included Georgia’s Vladimer Khinchegashvili, Russia’s Magomedras Gazimagomedov and Turkey’s Taha Akgul.

Akgul repeated as champion.

Russia won the team title with Iran second and Georgia third. The U.S. finished seventh.

Russia heavyweight Bilyal Makhov became the first wrestler in 42 years to medal in both freestyle and Greco-Roman in the same year at a World Championships. He won a bronze medal in both styles in Vegas.

The U.S. also crowned World champions this week with freestyle wrestler Kyle Snyder, and women’s freestyle wrestlers Adeline Gray and Helen Maroulis striking gold. Greco-Roman wrestler Andy Bisek and women’s freestyle wrestler Leigh Jaynes-Provisor also won bronze medals.

The U.S. tied Russia with the most overall gold medals at the 2015 Worlds with four golds. The four combined gold medals won by the U.S. were the most at a Worlds since 1995.

The U.S. has now qualified five weight classes for the 2016 Olympics Games – two in men’s freestyle, two in Greco-Roman and one in women’s freestyle. Three more Olympic qualifiers remain for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

2015 World Championships
Sept. 7-12
Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Medal winners


57 kg/125.5 lbs.
Gold – Vladimer Khinchegashvili (Georgia)
Silver – Hassan Rahimi (Iran)
Bronze – Bekhbayar Erdenebat (Mongolia)
Bronze – Viktor Lebedev (Russia)

70 kg/154 lbs.
Gold – Magomedras Gazimagomedov (Russia)
Silver – Hassan Yazdani (Iran)
Bronze – James Green (USA)
Bronze – Yakup Gor (Turkey)

125 kg/275 lbs.
Gold – Taha Akgul (Turkey)
Silver – Jamaladdin Magomedov (Azerbaijan)
Bronze – Geno Petriashvili (Georgia)
Bronze – Bilyal Makhov (Russia)

74 kg/163 lbs.
Gold – Jordan Burroughs (USA)
Silver – Unurbat Purevjav (Mongolia)
Bronze – Narsingh Yadav (India)
Bronze – Aniuar Geduev (Russia)

Finals matchups

Men’s freestyle


57 kg/125.5 lbs.
Vladimer Khinchegashvili (Georgia) dec. Hassan Rahimi (Iran), 5-4

70 kg/154 lbs.
Magomedras Gazimagomedov (Russia) dec. Hassan Yazdani (Iran), 10-3

125 kg/275 lbs.
Taha Akgul (Turkey) won by tech. fall over Jamaladdin Magomedov (Azerbaijan), 10-0

74 kg/163 lbs.
Jordan Burroughs (USA) won by tech. fall over Unurbat Purevjav (Mongolia), 10-0

U.S. performances

Men’s freestyle


57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Tony Ramos, Iowa City, Iowa (Titan Mercury WC)
WIN Eucli Cuero Munoz (Colombia), 10-1
WIN Makhmudjon Shavkatov (Uzbekistan), 3-3
LOSS Hassan Rahimi (Iran), 1-3
LOSS Asadulla Lachinau (Belarus), 1-7

70 kg/154 lbs. – James Green, Lincoln, Neb. (Titan Mercury WC) – BRONZE MEDAL
WIN Johnathan Scott Duque (Costa Rica), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Robert Olle (Slovakia), tech. fall 12-1
WIN Arun Kumar (India), 10-0
LOSS Hassan Yazdani (Iran), 4-9
WIN Muroslav Kirov (Bulgaria), fall 2:16

74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids) – GOLD MEDAL
WIN Krystian Brzozowski (Poland), 5-2
WIN Oleg Zakharevych (Ukraine), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Mihaly Nagy (Hungary), tech. fall 11-0
WIN Alireza Ghasemi (Iran), 5-0
WIN Aniuar Geduev (Russia), 4-3
WIN Unurbat Purevjav (Mongolia), tech. fall 10-0

125 kg/275 lbs. – Zach Rey, Bethlehem, Pa. (Lehigh Valley WC)
LOSS Alen Zaseev (Ukraine), 1-6