Mark Hall shown in action in 2015. Will face Ahmad Bazrighaleh of Iran at Beat the Streets event in Times Square on May 19.
NEW YORK, May 5, 2016 – The four Junior match-ups between the United States and Iran in freestyle wrestling have been finalized for the 2016 Beat the Streets international competition, which returns to New York City’s Times Square on Thursday, May 19.
This will feature talented stars from the USA and Iran in the UWW Junior age-group level, which is between 17-20 years old. It will be historic, as the first international age-group matches featured in a Beat the Streets event in Times Square.
All four of the U.S. wrestlers competing in Times Square were champions at their weight classes at the recent UWW Junior Nationals held in Las Vegas, Nev., April 29-30. This includes one college wrestling star and three of the nation’s best high school talents.
Daton Fix of Sand Springs, Okla. will face KheyrollahGhahramani of Iran at 55 kg/121 lbs. Fix was a bronze medalist at the 2015 UWW Cadet World Championships, and has been a UWW Junior Nationals champion for the last two years. Fix won a silver medal at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, and was a 2013 Cadet Nationals champion in both styles. Ghahramani was a 2013 Cadet World bronze medalist and a 2012 Asian Cadet silver medalist.
Mitchell McKee of Hanover, Minn. will battle PeimanBiabani of Iran at 60 kg/132 lbs. McKee won the 2016 UWW Junior Nationals in freestyle and was second at the 2015 UWW Junior Nationals. At the 2015 Junior Nationals in Fargo, N.D., McKee won a gold medal in Greco-Roman and a silver medal in freestyle. He was a 2014 Junior Nationals freestyle champion. McKee has signed with the University of Minnesota. Biabani was a 2015 Asian Junior champion and won a gold medal at the Senior-level Dan Kolov Tournament in Bulgaria this year.
Mark Hall of Apple Valley, Minn. has drawn Ahmad Bazrighaleh of Iran at 74 kg/163 lbs. Hall was a 2014 UWW Cadet World champion and was ninth in the 2015 UWW Junior World Championships. As a high school senior, he had an impressive 2-2 record at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. He was a 2013 USA Wrestling Cadet Triple Crown winner, earning national titles in folkstyle, Greco-Roman and freestyle the same year. Hall was the 2015 USA Today High School Wrestler of the Year, and won the 2016 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Hall, a six-time Minnesota state high school champion, has signed with Penn State University. Bazrighaleh was a 2014 Asian Cadet bronze medalist and was ninth at the 2014 Cadet World Championships.
Zahid Valencia of Bellflower, Calif. will go up against MojtabaGoleij of Iran at 84 kg/185 lbs. Valencia is a freshman at Arizona State University, where he took a redshirt year this season. Valencia was 10th at the 2015 UWW Junior World Championships, and won the UWW Junior Nationals for the second straight year. Valencia won the 2012 and 2013 Cadet Nationals in freestyle and the 2013 Cadet Nationals in Greco-Roman. He was the 2015 ASICS High School Wrestler of the Year and won the 2015 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Goleij was a 2015 Junior World champion, and won a bronze medal at the 2014 Asian Junior Championships.
These four Junior matches will be added to the Main Event, which features five U.S. Olympic Team members facing top international opponents.
2012 Olympic champion, three-time World champion and 2016 Olympian Jordan Burroughs at 74 kg and 2016 Olympian and two-time NCAA champion J’Den Cox at 86 kg will face opponents from Iran. 2016 Olympian and three-time World champion Adeline Gray and 2016 Olympian and 2015 World champion Helen Maroulis will battle Canadian stars in women’s freestyle. Two-time World bronze medalist and 2016 Olympian Andy Bisek will battle an Olympic and World champion from Korea at 75 kg in Greco-Roman.
The entire competition will be broadcast live on Flowrestling.
Billed as “United in the Square,” this will be the second time that Iran has been featured as part of the Beat the Streets Gala competition. In 2013, the event dubbed “The Rumble on the Rails,” was hosted in historic Grand Central Terminal and featured dual meets between Team USA, Russia and Iran.
The world-class competition has been hosted in Times Square four previous times. In 2011, the United States defeated World Champion Russia, 5-2, the first sports event ever held in historic Times Square. In 2012, another U.S. vs. Russia dual meet was held in Times Square, along with the U.S. Olympic Team Wrestle-off for the 60 kg/132 lbs. position on the U.S. Olympic Team in men’s freestyle. In 2014, Team USA defeated a World All-Star Team in Times Square, 8-3. In 2015, “Salsa in the Square” featured a meeting between Team USA and Team Cuba in the three Olympic styles, held shortly after the historic change in USA and Cuban political relations.
This will be the seventh straight year in which a major international-style wrestling competition will be hosted as part of the Beat the Streets Gala activities. In 2010, an all-star challenge featuring top U.S. wrestlers was held on the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier docked on the west side of Manhattan.
Top Beat the Streets youth wrestlers will take the mat showcasing their skills in exhibition matches beginning at 3:45 p.m[K1] . to start the evening. A new feature to be held is the PSAL Girls Freestyle Dual Meet Championships finals, featuring the two top New York City girl’s freestyle wrestling high school teams from the spring girl’s freestyle season. Then it's Team USA vs. Iran and other guests at 6 p.m., followed by the Beat the Streets Gala Celebration.
The Beat the Streets competition requires a ticket for reserved seating in Times Square, but is an outdoor event. Pedestrians and non-ticket holders are encouraged to watch. Admission tickets may be bought in advance at www.btsny.org or 212.245.6570. A ticket is required for the Gala Celebration at the PlayStation Theater. More details are available at http://www.btsny.org/gala.The Gala Celebration will follow the wrestling competition.
This unique and electrifying annual event helps Beat the Streets (BTS) raise significant funds to further its mission. Whether it’s providing a safe, constructive outlet for our urban youth, fighting childhood obesity, empowering women, or uniting entire nations, wrestling teaches persistence, dedication, and the value of working hard to achieve one’s goals, creates opportunities for personal and universal growth. BTS currently serve over 3,000 student-athletes every year.
“United In The Square,” Beat the Streets Matchups
In New York City, May 19, 2016
Men’s freestyle 74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs (USA) vs. PehmanYarahmadi (Iran)
Men’s freestyle 86 kg/189 lbs. – J’Den Cox (USA) vs. Meisam Mostafa Joukar (Iran)
Greco-Roman 75 kg/165 lbs. – Andy Bisek (USA) vs. Kim Hyeon-Woo (Korea)
Women’s 53 kg/116.5 lbs. – Helen Maroulis (USA) vs. Samantha Stewart (Canada)
Women’s 75 kg/165 lbs.– Adeline Gray (USA) vs. Justina Di Stasio (Canada)
Junior men’s freestyle 55 kg/121 lbs. – Daton Fix (USA) vs. KheyrollahGhahramani (Iran)
Junior men’s freestyle 60 kg/132 lbs. – Mitchell McKee (USA) vs. PeimanBiabani (Iran)
Junior men’s freestyle 74 kg/163 lbs. – Mark Hall (USA) vs. Ahmad Bazrighaleh (Iran)
Junior men’s freestyle 84 kg/185 lbs. – Zahid Valencia (USA) vs. MojtabaGoleij (Iran)
3:45 p.m. – Beat the Streets Youth Exhibition Matches between 42nd and 43rd Streets
4:45 p.m. – New York City Girl’s Freestyle Dual Meet Championships Finals between 42nd and 43rd Streets
Followed by Gala Celebration