2018 World Championships preview at 61 kg/134 lbs. in men’s freestyle

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Sept. 22, 2018, 1:19 p.m. (ET)
Nahshon Garrett launches Joe Colon in their epic battle at the 2018 U.S. Open. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.

Dates of competition: Saturday, October 20 and Sunday, October 21

With the change to 10 weight classes at the World Championships also brought the weigh-ins to the morning of competition, over multiple days. These changes have led to many athletes changing divisions. A number of former 57 kg wrestlers have chosen to go up in weight, but have skipped past the non-Olympic 61 kg and all the way up to 65 kg.

The current field at 61 kg does not have a lot of new stars moving up from 57 kg, but still has its share of talented athletes, including some impressive past World medalists.

Russia is expected to bring 2017 World silver medalist Gadzhimurad Rashidov to Budapest at this weight class. Since taking second in Paris, Rashidov has won four straight gold medals, including the European Championships, the rugged Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix, the Dan Kolov Memorial in Bulgaria and the Ziolkowski Memorial in Poland. His victory is Poland clinched his spot on Team Russia. This is a guy who can flat wrestle. He won two Cadet World golds, added a pair of Junior World bronzes and has won a medal at Yarygin three times (one of each kind).

Perhaps one of the most exciting and talented wrestlers on the entire international freestyle scene is two-time World bronze medalist Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez of Cuba. Bonne’s World bronzes in 2014 and 2017 came at 61 kg, and he was fifth at the 2016 Olympics down at 57 kg. He boasts a 2015 Pan American Games gold, and two Pan American Championships titles. What makes Bonne tough to beat is his ability to make big throws for big points, and a mat sense that enhances his athletic skills. He is beatable at this weight as evidenced at the 2018 World Cup in Iowa City, where he dropped three matches.

2016 World silver medalist Beka Lomtadze of Georgia remains in this weight class. He was defeated in the 2016 World finals by Logan Stieber of the USA, who like many past 61 kg athletes have moved up to 65 kg with the new weigh-in rules. This year, Lomtadze was second at the European Championships behind Rashidov, and won a gold medal at the Kartozia and Balavadze Cup in Georgia, and a silver at the Ukrainian Memorial International. He was up at 65 kg for the Ziolkowski Memorial, but is expected at 61 kg in Budapest.

One other past World medalist is expected in the field, 2013 World bronze medalist Vladimer Dubov of Bulgaria. Competing down at 57 kg, Dubov was fifth in the 2016 Olympics and 2017 Worlds, but that World bronze was at 61 kg. He won the Dan Kolov Memorial in his native Bulgaria this year, but did not medal at either the World Championships or the World tune-up event in Poland, the Ziolkowski Memorial.

2018 Asian silver medalist Kazuya Koyangi of Japan had win over Bonne at World Cup in Iowa City. He was a 2013 Cadet World champion. He is relatively new to the Senior level, and fell short of the medals at the U23 World Championships in 2017.

Ivan Guida of Romania and Recep Topal of Turkey won bronze medals at the 2018 European Championships and could be challengers in Budapest. Guida was a 2016 Olympian and has been in four previous World Championships, with a top finish of eighth in 2017. Topal has also won bronze medals this year at the Dan Kolov in Bulgaria and the Medved International in Belarus.

The two bronze medalists at the Asian Championships were Abbos Rakhmonov of Uzbekistan and Ulukbek Zholdoshbekov of Kyrgyzstan. Rakhmanov currently sits at No. 1 in the UWW Ranking series, with a silver at the Kartozia and Balavadze Memorial in Georgia and a fifth place at the Yarygin Grand Prix. Rakhmanov competed in the 2016 Olympic Games. Zholdoshbekov boasts a 2016 University World bronze medal, and was fifth in the recent Medved International in Belarus as a tune-up for Budapest.

Talented Nahshon Garrett of the USA has a growing international resume, with a silver at the 2017 Dave Schultz Memorial and a bronze at the Outstanding Ukrainian Memorial in 2018 and a gold at the 2017 Guelph International in Canada. Garrett beat Joe Colon in Final X to make the World Team, and Colon is No. 4 in the UWW Ranking Series at this time. An NCAA champion and star at Cornell, Garrett can put points on the board and is rapidly getting his freestyle skills at a high level, which he will need at his first Senior World Championships.

Eight-time African champion Adama Diatta of Senegal is a two-time Olympian who was 10th in Rio Games. 2014 University World champion Tuvshintulga Tumenbileg of Mongolia won a bronze at the 2018 Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix. 2017 U23 World silver medalist Kuat Amritaev of Kazakhstan won a silver medal at the tuneup event in Poland, the Ziolkowski Memorial. 2017 U23 World bronze medalist Parviz Ibragimov of Azerbaijan is another young athlete on the rise.

Others to watch include Mohammadbagheri Yakhkeshi of Iran, Ivan Bileichuk of Ukraine, PingPing Zhou of China and Jozsef Molnar of Hungary.

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

RECENT WORLD RESULTS


2017 World Championships
61 kg/134 lbs. - Gold - Haji Aliyev (Azerbaijan); Silver - Gadzhimurad Rashidov (Russia); Bronze –Vladimer Khinchegashvili (Georgia) ; Bronze – Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez (Cuba); 5th - Cengizhan Erdogan (Turkey); 5th - Rinya Nakamura (Japan), 10-0; 7th - Daulet Niyazbekov (Kazakhstan); 8th - Ivan Guidea (Romania); 9th - Mykola Bolotnjuk (Slovakia); 10th - Ivan Bileichuk (Ukraine)

2016 World Championships
61 kg/134 lbs. – Gold – Logan Stieber (United States); Silver - Beka Lomtadze (Georgia); Bronze – Akhmednabi Gvarzatilov (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Akhmed Chakaev (Russia); 5th - Behnam Ehsanpoor (Iran); 5th - Iurii Siemakin (France); 7th – Andrei Perpelita (Moldova); 8th – Temurjon Usmonohunov (Uzbekistan); 9th – Bajrang (India); 10th – Heorgi Kaliyeu (Belarus)

2015 World Championships
61 kg/134 lbs. – Gold – Haji Aliyev (Azerbaijan); Silver – Nomin Batbold (Mongolia); Bronze – Vladimir Dubov (Bulgaria); Bronze – Vasyl Shuptar (Ukraine); 5th – Masakazu Kamoi (Japan); 5th – Bajrang (India); 7th – Beka Lomtadze (Georgia); 8th – Munir Aktas (Turkey); 9th – Valodya Frangulyan (Armenia); 10th – Jaehoon Yang (Korea)

2014 World Championships
61 kg/134 lbs. – Gold – Haji Aliyev (Azerbaijan); Silver – Masoud Esmaeilpoor (Iran); Bronze – Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez (Cuba); Bronze – Nyam-Ochir Enkhsaikhan (Mongolia); 5th – Andrei Perpelita (Moldova); 5th – Artas Sana (Kazakhstan); 7th – Vladimir Dubov (Bulgaria); 8th – Krzysztof Bienkowski (Poland); 9th – Aleksander Bogomoev (Russia); 10th – Jimmy Kennedy (United States)

2013 World Championships
60 kg/132 lbs. – Gold – Bekhan Goigereev (Russia); Silver – Vladimir Dubov (Bulgaria); Bronze – Bajrang (India); Bronze – Masoud Esmailpoor (Iran); 5th – Nyam-Ochir Enkhsaikhan (Mongolia); 5th – Artur Arakelyan (Armenia); 7th – Franklin Gomez (Puerto Rico); 8th – Reece Humphrey (United States); 9th – Ivan Guidea (Romania); 10th – Vladimer Khinchegashvili (Georgia)

2012 Olympics
60 kg/132 lbs. - Gold – Toghrul Asgarov (Azerbaijan); Silver – Besik Kudukov (Russia); Bronze – Coleman Scott (USA); Bronze – Yogeshwar Dutt (India); 5th – Kenichi Yumoto (Japan); 5th – Ri Jong Myong (North Korea); 7th – Masoud Esmailpourjouybari (Iran); 8th – Hassan Ibrahim Madani (Egypt); 9th – Malkhaz Zarkua (Georgia); 10th – Tim Schleicher (Germany)

Current UWW Ranking Series Standings (for seeding)
1 Abbos Rakhmonov (Uzbekistan)
2 Gadzhimurad Rashidov (Russia)
3 Beka Lomtadze (Georgia)
4 Joe Colon (USA)
5 Recep Topal (Turkey)
6 Mirjalal Hasan Zada (Azerbaijan)
7 Ulukbek Zholdoshbekov (Kyrgyzstan)
8 Nurislam (Artas) Sanayev (Sanaa) Kazakhstan
9 Kazuya Koyangi (Japan)
10 Ivan Guidea (Romania)