Update: Taylor, Colon reach freestyle semifinals at World Championships in Budapest

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Oct. 20, 2018, 9:36 a.m. (ET)
David Taylor of the USA controls Olympic champion Hassan Yazdani of Iran in the opening round at 86 kg in Budapest. Photo by Robbert Wijtman.

BUDAPEST, Hungary – Two U.S. men’s freestyle wrestlers advanced to the semifinals during the opening morning session at the World Wrestling Championships on Saturday morning.

The USA stars winning in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals are first-time World Team members David Taylor (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC) at 86 kg/189 lbs. and Joe Colon (Fresno, Calif./Titan Mercury WC/Valley RTC) at 61 kg/134 lbs.

Taylor had perhaps his toughest test right off the bat, when he scored an exciting come-from-behind 11-6 win over 2016 Olympic champion and 2017 World champion Hassan Yazdani of Iran.

Taylor’s opening bout was the second of the day on Mat C, and when the two warriors came to the mat, the cheer for Team USA was the loudest. Yazdani got off to a great start, jumping to a 3-0 lead on a takedown and a stepout. Taylor hit a sweet counter exposure to close it to 3-2, but Yazdani added a takedown and stepout to lead 6-2 at the break.

The second period was all Taylor. He scored three straight takedowns and forced a stepout to lead 9-6 with a minute to go. Yazdani was not able to convert on a final attempt, where Taylor won the scramble for another takedown as time ran out for the 11-6 win.

In his second round, Taylor battled dominated 2015 European Junior champion Hajy Rajabau of Belarus in a 10-0 technical fall.Taylor scored first on a shot clock violation against Rajabau, then added a takedown to lead 3-0 at the break. In the second period, Taylor forced a stepout, added a takedown and turn for an 8-0 lead. Add in one final takedown and it was a technical fall.

In his quarterfinals, Taylor defeated Cuba’s Yurieski Torreblanca of Cuba, 8-0, controlling the action the entire match. Taylor jumped to a 5-0 lead at the break, on two takedowns and a stepout. In the second period, Taylor added another takedown and a stepout for the shutout win.

Taylor has drawn 2017 European champion Dauren Kurugliev of Russia in the semifinals. Taylor was a two-time NCAA champion and two-time Hodge Trophy winner for Penn State.

After receiving a first-round bye as the No. 4 seed, Joe Colon won his first World Championships bout with a comeback 9-6 victory over Ivan Bileichuk of Ukraine. Bileichuk popped a four-pointer to open the match, but Colon scored a reversal and turn to make it 4-3. Another Bileichuk takedown, followed by Colon forcing a stepout made it 6-4 at the break. In the second period, Colon took over, forcing a stepout and scoring two takedowns to secure the 9-6 victory.

Colon got his offense going strong in the quarterfinals, when he scored a 10-0 technical fall over 2013 World bronze medalist Vladimer Dubov of Bulgaria. Colon opened with a takedown and gut wrench for a 4-0 lead. He tossed Dubov for a four-pointer to lead 8-0, then closed out the win with another takedown.

Colon has drawn 2017 World bronze medalist Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez of Cuba n the semifinals. Colon was an All-American for Northern Iowa, and is now the volunteer assistant coach at Fresno State.

The USA pushed all four of its wrestlers competing this morning into the quarterfinals, but two were defeated: 2012 Olympic champion and four-time World champion Jordan Burroughs (Lincoln, Neb./Sunkist Kids/Nebraska WTC) at 74 kg/163 lbs. and Nick Gwiazdowski (Raleigh, N.C./Titan Mercury WC/Wolfpack RTC) at 125 kg/275 lbs.

Burroughs drew Venicious Juah of Liberia in the first round, but received a forfeit when the Liberian did not attend weigh-ins in the morning.

In his first actual bout of the day, Burroughs edged 2016 World bronze medalist Mostafa Hosseinkhani of Iran, 4-3, scoring on a stepout with 17 seconds left to break a 3-3 tie which he trailed on criteria. Burroughs was up 3-1, after scoring a first-period takedown, but Hosseinkhani scored a second-period takedown to tie it up. But Burroughs kept coming and got the winning point when he needed it.

Burroughs was defeated in a close quarterfinal battle by 2015 Junior World bronze medalist Zaurbek Sidakov of Russia, 6-5. The match went down to the final seconds. Tied 2-2 at the break, Burroughs took a 3-2 lead on a stepout. Sidakov took Burroughs down with 21 seconds left for a 4-3 lead. Burroughs answered with a takedown with eight seconds to go for a 5-4 lead. However, Sidakov forced a stepout with one second left for a 5-5 tie and the criteria win. The USA challenged the score, thinking time ran out, but the challenge was denied and the final score was 6-5.

Gwiazdowski opened with a solid 9-4 win over Zolboo Natsagsuren of Mongolia. Leading 3-2 at the break, Gwiazdowski scored three straight second-period takedowns to blast the match open. A late Natsagsuren takedown made it 9-4 for Gwiazdowski.

In the quarterfinals, Gwiazdowski dropped a tight 5-4 match to China’s Zhiwei Deng, who placed fifth at the 2013 World Championships. Gwiazdowski led 2-0 at the break on a takedown. In the second period, Gwiazdowski was put on the shot clock and gave up a point. Deng hit a four-point move to jump to a 5-2 lead, followed by a Gwiazdowski takedown to make it 5-4. He could not score in the final seconds, and Deng advanced to the semifinals.

The fate of both Burroughs and Gwiazdowski will be determined in the semifinals. If their opponents win, they will be drawn into Sunday’s repechage rounds. A loss by their quarterfinal opponents would knock them out of the tournament.

“There’s mixed emotions. Happy for our guys that made it to the semis, and for those guys that didn’t make it to the semis, we know it’s the World Championships. It’s the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. It’s really a roller coaster. You love your guys and want them to achieve because they’ve put a lot of work into it and we all do. That’s what makes success so fun and so exciting. When they don’t have the success and achievements that they want, it doesn’t decrease the value of those guys to me. I feel for them. Moving on is really the only choice that we have at this point. We have to adjust and move forward. Jordan and Nick didn’t end up where they want to be, but they still have a chance to come back and win medals,” said National Freestyle Coach Bill Zadick.

Georgia and Russia both pushed three wrestlers into the semifinal rounds.

The semifinal round begins at 4:45 p.m. Budapest time, which is six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time zone. The event is broadcast live on TrackWrestling.

TrackWrestling is partnering with USA Wrestling and the athletes of the World Team, by making a donation to the Living the Dream Medal Fund each time the promo code WINUSA is used at checkout on Trackwrestling.com for the Worlds broadcast.

At Budapest, Hungary, October 20

U.S. men’s freestyle results

61 kg/134 lbs. – Joe Colon, Fresno, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC/Valley RTC)
WIN Ivan Bileichuk (Ukraine), 9-6
WIN Vladimir Dubov (Bulgaria), 10-0
Semifinals vs. Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez (Cuba)

74 kg/163 lbs. - Jordan Burroughs, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids/Nebraska WTC)
WIN Venicious Juah (Liberia), forfeit
WIN Mostafa Hosseinkhani (Iran), 4-3
LOSS Zaurbek Sidakov (Russia), 6-5

86 kg/189 lbs. - David Taylor, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)
WIN Hassan Yazdani Charati (Iran), 11-6
WIN Hajy Rajabau (Belarus), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Yurieski Torreblanca (Cuba), 8-0
Semifinals vs. Dauren Kurugliev (Russia)

125 kg/275 lbs. - Nick Gwiazdowski, Raleigh, N.C. (Titan Mercury WC/Wolfpack RTC)
WIN Zolboo Natsatgsuren, 9-4
LOSS Zhiwei Deng (China), 5-4

Semifinal pairings

61 kg
Joe Colon (USA) vs. Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez (Cuba)
Gadzimurad Rashidov (Russia) vs.  Beka Lomtadze (Georgia)

74 kg
Frank Chamizo (Italy) vs. Zaurbek Sidakov (Russia)
Avtandil Ketchadze (Georgia) vs. Soner Demirtas (Turkey)

86 kg
Fatih Erdin (Turkey) vs. Taymuraz Friev (Spain)
David Taylor (USA) vs. Dauren Kurugliev (Russia)

125 kg
Zhiwei Deng (China) vs. Sumit (India).
Parviz Hadi Basmanj (Iran) vs. Geno Petriashvili (Georgia)