Olympic Games preview in men’s freestyle at 74 kg/163 lbs.

By Richard Immel, USA Wrestling | July 24, 2016, 1:50 p.m. (ET)
 2012 Olympic champion and three-time World champion Jordan
Burroughs in the finals of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
Photo: Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com
Date of Competition: Friday, August 19

Widely considered the best wrestler in the World, American Jordan Burroughs has placed a stranglehold on the 74 kg/163 lbs. men’s freestyle division since his arrival on the international scene in 2011.

Burroughs has amassed a total of three World titles, four World medals and an Olympic gold to boot during his legendary five-year run. Currently ranked No. 1 in the World at 74 kg, Burroughs has stretched his Senior-level record to 129-2 as the 2016 Olympic Games approach.

Since winning his third World gold at the 2015 World Championships in Las Vegas, Nev. last September, Burroughs has claimed top prize at the Yasar Dogu International, Pan American Championships and Grand Prix of Germany.

Burroughs has the opportunity to become just the fourth American to win two Olympic gold medals joining the elite company of George Mehnert, John Smith and Bruce Baumgartner.

The top threat to Burroughs winning his second Olympic gold medal is dangerous Russian star Aniuar Geduev. Ranked No. 2 in the World, Geduev won his first World medal last year finishing with bronze. His only loss at the Worlds came in the semifinals to Burroughs, 4-3.

Geduev is a three-time European champion and has not lost an international bout at 74 kg to anyone not named Burroughs since 2010. He defeated three-time World champion Denis Tsargush in the finals of the Russia Nationals to solidify his spot in Rio.

Mongolia’s Unurbat Purevjav holds the No. 3 World ranking after posting an undefeated record at the Freestyle World Cup. Purevjav made the World finals last year, losing to Burroughs, 10-0. He was an Olympian in 2012.

Four-time World and Olympic medalist Livan Lopez Azcuy of Cuba has been a perennial title contender since winning World bronze in 2011. Lopez sits at No. 6 in the World rankings and joins Burroughs as the only past Olympic medalists competing at 74 kg in Rio. He won Olympic silver in 2012 at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.

World No. 4 Hassan Yazdani Charati of Iran is one of the youngest competitors at 74 kg, but is a serious threat to medal. At the 2015 World Championships Yazdani Charati won the silver medal at 70 kg. He was a Junior World champion in 2014.

Since moving up to 74 kg for the Olympic year, Yazdani Charati has scored two silver medals internationally at the Grand Prix of Paris and Alexander Medved International. He went undefeated at the Freestyle World Cup, avenging an early season loss to 2014 World champion Khetik Tsabolov of Russia in the finals.

World No. 8 Yabrail Hasanov of Azerbaijan owns two World bronze medals and a 2012 Olympic berth at 66 kg, but has yet to medal since moving up to 74 kg in 2013. He finished in second place at the European Championships this year and was a World University Games silver medalist in 2013.

Winning the European Championships was emerging Turkish competitor Soener Demirtas who placed third at the Alexander Medved and Yasar Dogu this year. Demirtas secured gold at the 1st World Olympic Games Qualifier in Mongolia to qualify for Rio.

Three other athletes bring a World medal from this quadrennial to the table in Rio. World No. 9 Narsingh Yadav of India won bronze in 2015, World No. 15 Sohsuke Takatani of Japan picked up a silver in 2014 and World No. 10 Bekzod Abdurakhmanov of Uzbekistan a bronze at 70 kg in 2014. Both Yadav and Takatani were Olympians in 2012.

2014 Junior World champion Zelimkhan Khadjiev of France continues to improve and could play spoiler at the Olympics. Khadjiev was moments away from a bronze medal at the World Championships last year, but was pinned by Yadav in the final moments of the bronze medal match while leading big.

Six-time Africa champion Augusto Midana of Guinea Bissau will compete in the Olympic Games for the third time in Rio, the most of any in the 74 kg field.

Australia - Talgat Ilyasov
Azerbaijan - Yabrail Hasanov (World No. 8)
Bulgaria - Georgi Ivanov (World No. 20)
Colombia - Carlos Arturo Izquierdo Mendez
Cuba - Livan Lopez Azcuy (World No. 6)
France - Zelimkhan Khadjiev (World No. 13)
Georgia - Yakob Makarashvili (World No. 11)
Guinea Bissau - Augusto Midana
Haiti – Asnage Castelly
India - Narsingh Yadav (World No. 9)
Iran – Hassan Yazdani Charati (World No. 4)
Japan - Sohsuke Takatani (World No. 15)
Kazakhstan - Galimzhan Userbaev (World No. 16)
Moldova - Evgheni Nedealco (World No. 14)
Mongolia – Unurbat Purevjav (World No. 3)
Russia - Aniuar Geduev (World No. 2)
Spain - Taymuraz Friev Naskideava (World No. 19)
Turkey - Soener Demirtas (World No. 7)
United States- Jordan Burroughs (World No. 1)
Uzbekistan - Bekzod Abdurakhmanov (World No. 10)

2015 World Championships
74 kg/163 lbs. – Gold – Jordan Burroughs (USA); Silver – Unurbat Purevjav (Mongolia); Bronze – Narsingh Yadav (India); Bronze – Aniuar Geduev (Russia); 5th – Zelimkhan Khadjiev (France); 5th – Alireza Ghasemi (Iran); 7th – Livan Lopez Azcuy (Cuba); 8th – Mihaly Nagy (Hungary); 9th – Jumber Kvelashvili (Georgia); 10th – Rashid Kurbanov (Uzbekistan)

2014 World Championships
74 kg/163 lbs. – Gold – Denis Tsargush (Russia); Silver – Sohsuke Takatani (Japan); Bronze – Jordan Burroughs (USA); Bronze – Livan Lopez (Cuba); 5th – Rustam Dudaiev (Ukraine); 5th – Jumber Kvelashvili (Georgia); 7th – Rashid Kurbanov (Uzbekistan); 8th – Ashraf Aliyev (Azerbaijan); 9th – Krystian Brzozowski (Poland); 10th – Zaur Efendiev (Serbia)

2013 World Championships
74 kg/163 lbs. – Gold – Jordan Burroughs (USA); Silver – Ezzatollah Akbari (Iran); Bronze – Ali Shabanov (Belarus); Bronze – Rashid Kurbanov (Uzbekistan); 5th – Narasingh Yadav (India); 5th – Yakob Makarashvili (Georgia); 7th – Sohsuke Takatani (Japan); 8th – Yabrail Hasanov (Azerbaijan); 9th – Grigor Grigoryan (Armenia); 10th – Yunieris Blanco Mora (Cuba)

2012 Olympic Games

74 kg/163 lbs. – Gold – Jordan Burroughs (USA); Silver – Sadegh Goudarzi (Iran); Bronze – Gabor Hatos (Hungary); Bronze – Denis Tsargush (Russia); 5th – Matt Gentry (Canada); 7th – Davit Khutishvili (Georgia); 8th – Augusto Midana (Guinea-Bissau); 9th – Ashraf Aliyev (Azerbaijan); 10th – Abdulhakim Shapiev (Kazakhstan)

2011 World Championships
74 kg/163 lbs. – Gold – Jordan Burroughs (USA); Silver – Sadegh Goudarzi (Iran); Bronze – Ashraf Aliyev (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Davit Khutshishvili (Georgia); 5th – Ricardo Robertty Moreno (Venezuela); 5th – Abdulkhakim Shapiyev (Kazakhstan); 7th – Rashid Kurbanov (Uzbekistan); 8th – Murad Gaidarov (Belarus); 9th – Chongyao Zhang (China); 10th – Andriy Skyyka (Germany)

2010 World Championships
74 kg/163 lbs. – Gold – Denis Tsargush (Russia); Silver – Sadegh Goudarzi (Iran); Bronze – Gabor Hatos (Hungary); Bronze – Abdulkhakim Shapiev (Kazakhstan); 5th – Krystian Brzozowski (Poland); 5th – Ivan Fundora (Cuba); 7th – Kiril Terziev (Bulgaria); 8th – Volodymyr Syrotyn (Ukraine); 9th – Andriy Shyyka (Germany); 10th – Roman Dermenji (Moldova)

2009 World Championships
74 kg/163 lbs. – Gold – Denis Tsargush (Russia); Silver – Chamsulvara Chamsulvarayev (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Ramesh Kumar (India); Bronze – Sadegh Goudarzi (Iran); 5th – Alexandr Burca (Moldova); 5th - Murad Gaidarov (Belarus); 7th – Apostolos Taskoudis (Greece); 8th – Kiril Terziev (Bulgaria); 9th – Bi Shengfeng (China); 10th – Andrej Shyyka (Germany)