Burroughs returns, Taylor snags marquee win in USA victory over Georgia at Freestyle World Cup

By Richard Immel, USA Wrestling | Feb. 16, 2017, 9:49 a.m. (ET)
Photo: Jordan Burroughs (USA) won his first match of the World Cup 2-2 over Jumber Kelashvili (GEO) on Thursday morning. Photo by Justin Hoch, JHoch.com.

KERMANSHAH, Iran – As expected, the atmosphere was electric at the Azadi Sport Complex in Kermanshah, Iran, as the U.S. opened group play at the 2017 Freestyle World Cup with a dominant 7-1 victory over Georgia.

The top-shelf American team won its first seven matches of the day, with the return of Jordan Burroughs and a breakout performance from David Taylor highlighting the U.S. effort.

The standout moment of the dual came at 74 kg/163 lbs. when Olympic champion and three-time World champion Burroughs returned to the mat for the first time since a heart-wrenching finish at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As he took the mat, the Iranian crowd stood in applause, chanting “Jordan,” in appreciation of the U.S. legend.

The bout between Burroughs and Georgia’s Jumber Kelashvili was tighter than expected. Kelashvili is battled tested at the international level with a fifth-place finish at the 2014 World Championships and several international medals to his credit, but is nowhere near the accolades of Burroughs.

Burroughs trailed 2-0 early on after surrendering two step outs, but came back strong with a step out to end the first period plus another in the second frame to take the 2-2 decision on criteria.

“We went seven-for-eight that dual, so we’re moving on. We’re excited about our performance. Just continue to grow, get better, and hopefully we can go and improve upon our performance this evening against Russia,” Burroughs said.

In his first time competing at the World Cup, Taylor displayed a relentless abandon to upend 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Dato Marsagishvili at 86 kg/189 lbs. From the onset, Taylor was firing shot attempts ad nauseam. His first such attempt was countered by Marsagishvili for a takedown. Taylor was then dinged with a shot clock point to go down by three points as the first period ended. The second period was a different script with Taylor converting on three shot attempts, including a monster four-point double leg, to come away with an 8-3 win.

Picking up technical falls for the U.S. were 2015 World bronze medalist James Green at 70 kg/154 lbs. and 2016 Olympic champion Kyle Snyder at 97 kg/213 lbs.

Green made quick work of Levan Kelekhsashvili, who finished in fifth place at the 2013 World Championships, scoring three takedowns and two leg laces to cement the win, 10-0.

Methodical as ever, Snyder clinched an 11-0 win over 2014 Golden Grand Prix champion Zviadi Metreveli on the back of five takedowns and a step out point.

“It feels good,” Snyder noted after the win. “The team wrestled well. Moving on, we should have Russia, and they’re a good team. They always have good wrestlers, so excited for that match.”

Reigning 61 kg/134 lbs. World champion Logan Stieber found himself in a gritty battle with 2013 Junior World bronze medalist Shota Phartenadze. Stieber started off sluggish, giving up a counter exposure and takedown to trail 4-0 early on. The crucial moment of the bout came at the end of the first period as Stieber converted on a takedown and multiple trapped-arm gutwrenches to lead 6-4 at the break. He went on to win the bout by a 7-4 tally.

Frank Molinaro, a fifth-place finisher at the 2016 Olympic Games, came through with a decisive 10-1 win over 2015 Cadet European champion Iveriko Julakidze at 65 kg/143 lbs. Julakidze scored the first point of the match off a shot clock penalty against Molinaro. That was all Julakidze would get with Molinaro amassing five takedowns to close out the match.

Two-time World Team member Tony Ramos kicked the U.S. off with a stellar 6-1 decision over Otari Gogava at 57 kg/125.5 lbs. Trailing 1-0 late in the first period, Ramos was able to snag a takedown as time expired to capture the momentum heading into the break. He tacked on two second period takedowns to clinch the match.

The only U.S. setback of the dual came at 125 kg/275 lbs. as 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Geno Petriashvili made use of his deadly leg lace to finish Zach Rey, 11-0, in the first period.

“It’s a good start,” said U.S. coach Bill Zadick. “A lot of positives up and down the lineup. Georgia, we know, is a quality team. When you can have a victory like that you feel very good about that. Got a big match tonight, so we’ll go rest up and get ready for the next one.”

The win on Thursday morning moves the USA to 1-0 in group action with two duals remaining. Up next for the American squad is a dangerous Russia team this evening. The match is scheduled to begin at 6:15 a.m. local time (9:45 a.m. ET) and can be viewed by U.S. audiences at Trackwrestling.com.

The other dual in Group A saw Azerbaijan and Russia go down to the wire. The two split four matches apiece and tied on total classification points, 16 all. Azerbaijan was declared the winner on criteria by having more total match points.

In Group B, Iran cruised to an 8-0 win over Turkey while Mongolia displayed similar dominance against India, 7-1.

2017 FREESTYLE WORLD CUP
Feb. 16-17 in Kermanshah, Iran


Session I Results
Group A
United States 7 (23) – Georgia 1 (9)

57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Tony Ramos (United States) dec. Otari Gogava (Georgia), 6-1
61 kg/134 lbs. – Logan Stieber (United States) dec. Shota Phartenadze (Georgia), 7-4
65 kg/143 lbs. – Frank Molinaro (United States) dec. Iveriko Julakidze (Georgia), 10-1
70 kg/154 lbs. – James Green (United States) tech. fall  Levan Kelekhsashvili (Georgia), 10-0
74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs (United States) dec. Jumber Kelashvili (Georgia), 2-2
86 kg/189 lbs. – David Taylor (United States) dec. Dato Marsagishvili (Georgia), 8-3
97 kg/213 lbs. – Kyle Snyder (United States) tech. fall Zviadi Metreveli (Georgia), 11-0
125 kg/275 lbs. – Geno Petriashvili (Georgia) tech. fall Zach Rey (United States), 11-0

Azerbaijan 4 (16) – Russia 4 (16) (Azerbaijan wins on total match points 32-29)
57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Artem Gebekov (Russia) dec. Giorgi Edisherashvili (Azerbaijan), 5-2
61 kg/134 lbs. – Ali Rahimzade (Azerbaijan) dec. Dzhamal Otarsultanov (Russia), 6-6
65 kg/143 lbs. – Haji Aliyev (Azerbaijan) dec. Alan Gogaev (Russia), 2-1
70 kg/154 lbs. – Magomedkhabib Kadimagomedov (Russia) dec. David Suynyuchkhanov (Azerbaijan), 10-6
74 kg/163 lbs. – Jabrayil Hasanov (Azerbaijan) dec. Radik Valiev (Russia), 6-2
86 kg/189 lbs. – Vladislav Valiev (Russia) dec. Sharif Sharifov (Azerbaijan), 2-1
97 kg/213 lbs. –  Rasul Magomedov (Russia) dec. Nurmagomed Gadzhiyev (Azerbaijan), 2-1
125 kg/275 lbs. – Jamaladdin Magomedov (Azerbaijan) dec. Vladislav Baitcaev (Russia), 8-1

Group B
Iran 8 (27) – Turkey 0 (4)

57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Hassan Rahimi (Iran) dec. Sezar Akgul (Turkey), 6-0
61 kg/134 lbs. – Behnam Ehsanpoor (Iran) dec. Cengizhan Erdogan (Turkey), 7-5
65 kg/143 lbs. – Meisam Nasiri (Iran) dec. Safa Aksoy (Turkey), 5-2
70 kg/154 lbs. – Mostafa Hosseinkhani (Iran) dec. Yakup Gor (Turkey), 4-0
74 kg/163 lbs. – Peyman Yarahmadi (Iran) dec. Islam Kilic (Turkey), 12-10
86 kg/189 lbs. – Hassan Yazdanicharati (Iran) tech. fall Serdar Boke (Turkey), 11-1
97 kg/213 lbs. – Amir Mohammadi (Iran) tech. fall Faruk Akkoyun (Turkey), 10-0
125 kg/275 lbs. – Komeil Ghasemi (Iran) tech. fall Salim Ercan (Turkey), 10-0

Mongolia 7 (23) – India 1 (5)
57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Zanabazar Zandanbud (Mongolia) forfeit (India)
61 kg/134 lbs. – Tulga Tumur-Ochir (Mongolia) dec. Harphool Harphool (India), 4-2
65 kg/143 lbs. – Batmagnai Batchuluun (Mongolia) dec. Bajrang Bajrang (India), 3-1
70 kg/154 lbs. – Mandakhnaran Ganzorig (Mongolia) dec. Amit Dhankhar (India), 4-3
74 kg/163 lbs. – Ankhbayar Batchuluun (Mongolia) dec. Jitender Jitender (India), 8-7
86 kg/189 lbs. – Deepak Deepak (India) fall Unurbat Purevjav (Mongolia)
97 kg/213 lbs. – Batzul Ulziisaikhan (Mongolia) dec. Roublejit Rangi (India), 14-6
125 kg/275 lbs. – Zolboo Natsagsuren (Mongolia) dec. Krishan Krishan (India), 3-0