2018 World Championships preview at 92 kg/202.5 lbs. in men’s freestyle

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Oct. 10, 2018, 7:15 a.m. (ET)
J'den Cox in battle at the 2017 World Championships in Paris,

Dates of competition: Sunday, October 21 and Monday, October 22

A new weight class was inserted into men’s freestyle at 92 kg, which has mostly attracted a number of past 86 kg stars and some rising young talents. For a non-Olympic weight class, this division includes four past Olympic medalists, making the upper echelon an impressive group to start with.

The most accomplished in the 92 kg field is the 2012 Olympic champion and 2011 World champion Sharif Sharifov of Azerbaijan, who won these gold medals down at 84 kg. Sharifov also boasts an Olympic bronze medal at 86 kg in Rio in 2016, and a 2009 World bronze medal at 84 kg. This year, at the new 92 kg division, Sharifov has made the finals of all three international events he entered, winning golds at the Ukrainian Memorial International and the Medved International, plus a silver at the 2018 European Championships. Sharifov, who long ago started his career with Russia, does not compete as much as he used to, but he is consistently in medal contention.

Also moving up to 92 kg is 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and 2017 World bronze medalist J’den Cox of the United States, who quickly started winning at the international level after winning three NCAA titles for the University of Missouri. Cox made his first impression with a gold at the Olympic Qualifier in Mongolia in 2016, which put him into the Rio Olympics right after he won the Olympic Trials. He has reached the semifinals at both the Olympic Games and World Championships and seeks a title run at his new weight. This year, he has a silver medal at the Ukrainian Memorial International, and dropped a couple of matches at the 2018 World Cup. Cox is fantastic on his feet and is improving all aspects of his freestyle game.

The other Olympic bronze medalists expected in Budapest are Dato Marsagishvili of Georgia, who was third at the 2012 Olympic Games at 84 kg and Gabor Hatos of host Hungary, a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist at 74 kg.

Marsagishvili has only wrestled occasionally on the international circuit in recent years, and last appeared in a World or Olympic Championships event in 2014, when he was ninth at 86 kg. He has wrestled three times at 92 kg this season, with a fifth at the Ukrainian Memorial International and a seventh at the Kartozia and Balavadze International in Georgia. Marsagishvili went a perfect 4-0 at the 2018 World Cup in Iowa City, including a win over Cox. He also boasts a 2011 Junior World title and a 2009 Junior World bronze medal.

Hatos is also making a return to the mat after two years away. Prior to competing twice this year at 92 kg, Hatos had last wrestled at the Grand Prix of Paris in January 2015, where he won a bronze medal at 86 kg. This year, he was third at the World Military Championships and seventh at the Dmitri Korkin in Russia. Hatos also boasts a World bronze medal from 2010 at 74 kg. His first Olympic appearance came in 2004 in Athens, when he was competing at 66 kg. He will be a long shot, but competing in front of his countrymen in Budapest should give him a lift.

Entering his first Senior World Championships for Russia is Batyrbek Tsakulov, who won the 2018 Russian Nationals and was third at the 2018 European U23 Championships. He added a gold medal this summer at the Ziolkowski Memorial in Poland, in a tune-up for Budapest. Included on his resume is a 2013 Cadet World gold medal.

In regards to seeding, only two seeded athletes from this weight class are expected in Budapest, No. 3 seeded Serdar Boke of Turkey and No. 4 seed Sharifov. 2016 Olympic champion and 2015 World champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev of Russia earned a No. 2 seed after winning a number of events at 92 kg, but has chosen to go back up to 97 kg for another potential showdown with World and Olympic champion Kyle Snyder of the USA.

Boke has been one of the most active wrestlers this year at 92 kg, entering five major competitions. He won bronze medals at the European Championships and the Dan Kolov in Bulgaria, and placed fifth at the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix in Russia and the Yasar Dogu in Turkey. His lone top-10 finish at the World Championships came in 2013, when he finished ninth at 84 kg. His background includes a 2012 University World silver medal and a 2010 University World bronze medal.

One of the few athletes to come down in weight to 92 kg is Nicolai Ceban of Moldova, who has a pair of top-10 finishes in the World, taking seventh in 2017 at 97 kg and ninth in 2013 at 96 kg. Ceban won the Ion Corneanu Memorial in Romania this year at 92 kg, took a bronze at the Dan Kolov in Bulgaria and was fifth at the European Championships. He competed in the 2008 and 2016 Olympic Games and has won a pair of medals in past University World Championships.

Turtogtokh Luvsandorj of Mongolia will be competing in his first Senior Worlds, but has been successful during the 2018 season at 92 kg, winning the Mongolia Open and taking bronze medals at the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix and the Korkin International in Russia.

Ivan Yankouski of Belarus, who has won four World Military medals, won a bronze medal at the 2018 Yasar Dogu International in Turkey in preparation for Budapest. Japan will be entering either 2018 Junior World champion Hayato Ishiguro or 2017 World Team member Naoya Akaguma. Azizbek Soliev of Uzbekistan, a 2018 Asian Championships bronze medalist, is another seeking a breakthrough in Budapest.

Others to watch include Nurgali Nurgaipuly of Kazakhstan, Liubomyr Sagaliuk of Ukraine and Sebastian Jezierzanski of Poland.

Note: TheMat.com will be posting daily weight class previews for the 2018 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, October 20-28

RECENT WORLD AND RESULTS

92 kg is a new international weight class and has no past World Championships results

UWW Ranking Series standings (for seeding)
1 Mohammadjavad Mohammadebrahim Ebrahimzivlaei (Iran)
2 Abdulrashid Sadulaev (Russia)
3 Serdar Boke (Turkey)
4 Sharif Sharifov (Azerbaijan)
5 Irakli Mtsituri (Georgia)
6 Anzor Urishev (Russia)
7 Turtogtokh Luvsandorj (Mongolia)
8 Alireza Mohammad Karimimachiani (Iran)
9 Kyrylo Mieshkov (Ukraine)
10 Adilet Davlumbayev (Azerbaijan)