Freestyle novice Lewis wins Junior World gold at 74 kg, USA finishes second in team race

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | Sept. 23, 2018, 1:45 p.m. (ET)

VIDEO: Junior World Championships interviews

Photo: Lewis runs with the USA flag to celebrate at Junior World title. Photo by Kadir Caliskan.

TRNAVA, Slovakia – Mekhi Lewis is three-for-three in winning freestyle tournaments as he claimed Junior World gold on Sunday night at the 2018 Junior World Championships in Trnava, Slovakia.

Just picking up freestyle this summer, Lewis, a wrestler at Virginia Tech, has eased into the style, cruising to the World finals and picking up a decisive 5-1 victory for gold at 74 kg.

“I feel great. I thought I could do it, but being in the moment and accomplishing that goal feels amazing,” Lewis said. “After all the hard work I put in this summer to learn freestyle and now to be a World champion is the best feeling in the world.”

In the championship bout, Lewis went head-to-head with 2016 Cadet World champion Abubakr Abakarov of Azerbaijan.

The Azeri was on the board first with a point on passivity. However, shortly after the shot clock ran out, Lewis scored a takedown and took a 2-1 lead into the break.

The second period saw Lewis pick up two points on step outs for a 4-1 advantage. One of those step outs came when Abakarov was in deep on a shot and Lewis shook him off and threw him out of bounds. That’s when Lewis said he knew he had it won.

“I was like, ‘whoa, I guess I won,’ because if he wasn’t able to take me down and he was that deep, then he isn’t going to take me down in these last few seconds,” Lewis said.

In the final 30 seconds, Abakarov was dinged with a caution and one for an illegal blow to the head. Lewis maintained his composure and finished the bout with a 5-1 decision.

The Hokie secured the first and only gold medal of the tournament for the USA, helping the men’s freestyle team to a second-place finish in the team race with 115 points.

The U.S. secured five medals in men’s freestyle, including Lewis’ gold, silvers from Aaron Brooks at 79 kg and Zach Elam at 97 kg and bronzes from Daton Fix at 57 kg and Brady Berge at 65 kg.

Winning the team title was Russia with 182 points and seven medalists, including five champions. Rounding out the top five was Iran in third with 98 points, Azerbaijan in fourth with 91 points and India in fifth with 84 points.

Earlier in the day, Joshua Saunders and Lou Deprez fell in their respective repechage matches at 61 kg and 86 kg, ending their 2018 Junior World Championships.

Saunders lost a tough battle against Konai Ogawa of Japan, 3-0, and Deprez’s comeback bid was stopped short against Alik Shebzukhov of Russia, 9-5.

The U.S. will be back at it in October for the Senior World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, as the Senior Men’s Freestyle World Team looks to defend its 2017 team title.

at Trnava, Slovakia

Team standings
1. Russia - 182
2. USA - 115
3. Iran – 98
4. Azerbaijan – 91
5. India – 84
6. Kazakhstan – 66
7. Moldova – 65
8. Turkey – 62
9. Georgia – 57
10. Ukraine - 48

Finals results

57 kg
GOLD - Akhmed Idrisov of RUSSIA
SILVER - Naveen Naveen of INDIA
BRONZE - Arsen Harutyunyan of ARMENIA

1st - Akhmed Idrisov (RUSSIA) TF Naveen Naveen (INDIA), 12-1
3rd - Daton Fix (UNITED STATES) TF Bekbolot Myrzanazar Uulu (KYRGYZSTAN), 10-0
3rd - Arsen Harutyunyan (ARMENIA) TF Hyeonsu Cho (KOREA), 16-4

61 kg
GOLD - Abasgadzhi Magomedov of RUSSIA
SILVER - Ramaz Turmanidze of GEORGIA
BRONZE - Syrbaz Talgat of KAZAKHSTAN
BRONZE - Vazgen Tevanyan of ARMENIA

1st - Abasgadzhi Magomedov (RUSSIA) TF Ramaz Turmanidze (GEORGIA), 10-0
3rd - Syrbaz Talgat (KAZAKHSTAN) dec. Minsu Cho (KOREA), 10-4
3rd - Vazgen Tevanyan (ARMENIA) dec. Abbos Rakhmonov (UZBEKISTAN), 9-3

65 kg
GOLD - Saiyn Kazyryk of RUSSIA
SILVER - Amirhossein Azim Maghsoudi of IRAN
BRONZE - Erik Arushanian of UKRAINE
BRONZE - Nicolai Grahmez of MOLDOVA

1st - Saiyn Kazyryk (RUSSIA) dec. Amirhossein Azim Maghsoudi (IRAN), 8-7
3rd - Erik Arushanian (UKRAINE) dec. Kuanysh Duisenkul (KAZAKHSTAN), 8-2
3rd - Nicolai Grahmez (MOLDOVA) TF Fati Vejseli (MACEDONIA), 15-5

70 kg
GOLD - Khadzhimurad Gadzhiyev of AZERBAIJAN
SILVER - Razambek Zhamalov of RUSSIA
BRONZE - Brady Gary Berge of UNITED STATES
BRONZE - Vasile Diacon of MOLDOVA

1st - Khadzhimurad Gadzhiyev (AZERBAIJAN) dec. Razambek Zhamalov (RUSSIA), 4-3
3rd - Brady Berge (UNITED STATES) dec. Arman Andreasyan (ARMENIA), 1-1
3rd - Vasile Diacon (MOLDOVA) dec. Amirhossein Morteza Kavousi (IRAN), 10-9

74 kg
GOLD - Mekhi Kevin Lewis of UNITED STATES
SILVER - Abubakr Abakarov of AZERBAIJAN
BRONZE - Bat-Erdene Byambasuren of MONGOLIA
BRONZE - Devid Betanov of RUSSIA

1st - Mekhi Lewis (UNITED STATES) dec. Abubakr Abakarov (AZERBAIJAN), 5-1
3rd - Bat-Erdene Byambasuren (MONGOLIA) TF Erik Reinbok (ESTONIA), 12-1
3rd - Devid Betanov (RUSSIA) TF Sachin Rathi (INDIA), 11-1

79 kg
GOLD - Hayato Ishiguro of JAPAN
SILVER - Aaron Marquel Brooks of UNITED STATES
BRONZE - Orkhan Abasov of AZERBAIJAN
BRONZE - Adlan Bataiev of UKRAINE

1st - Hayato Ishiguro (JAPAN) dec. Aaron Marquel Brooks (UNITED STATES), 11-10
3rd - Orkhan Abasov (AZERBAIJAN) dec. Andrian Grosul (MOLDOVA), 3-3
3rd - Adlan Bataiev (UKRAINE) TF Aslanbek Gvaramiia (RUSSIA), 10-0

86 kg
GOLD - Arif Ozen of TURKEY
SILVER - Deepak Punia of INDIA
BRONZE - Patrik Szurovszki of HUNGARY
BRONZE - Seyedabolfazl Seyeda Hashemijouybari of IRAN

1st - Arif Ozen (TURKEY) dec. Deepak Punia (INDIA) (Dec 2-1)
3rd - Patrik Szurovszki (HUNGARY) dec. Ivan Nedealco (MOLDOVA) (Dec 4-2)
3rd - Seyedabolfazl Hashemijouybari (IRAN) fall Demur Megeneishvili (GEORGIA), 3:00

92 kg
GOLD - Abbas Ali Foroutanrami of IRAN
SILVER - Alisher Yergali of KAZAKHSTAN
BRONZE - Erhan Yaylaci of TURKEY
BRONZE - Askhab Hamzatov of AZERBAIJAN

1st - Abbas Ali Foroutanrami (IRAN) TF Alisher Yergali (KAZAKHSTAN), 11-0
3rd - Erhan Yaylaci (TURKEY) dec. Khokh Khugaev (RUSSIA), 7-3
3rd - Askhab Hamzatov (AZERBAIJAN) dec. Makhsud Veysalov (UZBEKISTAN), 9-3

97 kg
GOLD - Magomedkhan Magomedov of RUSSIA
SILVER - Zachery Samuel Elam of UNITED STATES
BRONZE - Serik Bakytkhanov of KAZAKHSTAN
BRONZE - Zuriko Urtashvili of GEORGIA

1st - Magomedkhan Magomedov (RUSSIA) TF Zachery Samuel Elam (UNITED STATES), 11-0
3rd - Serik Bakytkhanov (KAZAKHSTAN) dec. Hyunsu Han (KOREA), 12-8
3rd - Zuriko Urtashvili (GEORGIA) dec. Feyzullah Akturk (TURKEY), 7-3

125 kg
GOLD - Soslan Khinchagov of RUSSIA
SILVER - Aly Medhat Abde Barghout of CANADA
BRONZE - Samhan Jabrailov of MOLDOVA
BRONZE - Khasanboy Rakhimov of UZBEKISTAN

1st - Soslan Khinchagov (RUSSIA) dec. Aly Medhat Abde Barghout (CANADA), 7-0
3rd - Samhan Jabrailov (MOLDOVA) dec. Rahid Hamidli (AZERBAIJAN), 3-1
3rd - Khasanboy Rakhimov (UZBEKISTAN) dec. Amir Nader Yari (IRAN), 6-4

U.S. men’s freestyle results

57 kg: Daton Fix (Sand Springs, Okla./Titan Mercury WC/Cowboy RTC) – BRONZE
WIN Ahmet Tas (Turkey), 10-0
WIN Andrey Dzhelep (Ukraine), 10-0
LOSS Naveen Naveen (India), 5-4
WIN Bekbolt Myrzanazar (Kyrgyzstan), 10-0

61 kg: Joshua Saunders (St. Louis, Mo./Titan Mercury WC) - EIGHTH
WIN Nurahamed Mukhudzinau (Belarus), fall 3:29
LOSS Abasgadzhi Magomedov (Russia), 10-0
LOSS Kodai Ogawa (Japan), 3-0

65 kg: Domonick Demas (Dublin, Ohio/OKRTC) – NINTH
WIN Ikhtiyor Normurodov (Uzbekistan), inj. default, 10-4
LOSS Gegham Galstyan (Armenia), 8-4

70 kg: Brady Berge (Mantorville, Minn./Nittany Lion WC) - BRONZE
LOSS Razambek Zhamalov (Russia), 13-3
WIN Aleksander Kuryshta (Belarus), 13-2
WIN Arman Andreasyan (Armenia), 1-1

74 kg: Mekhi Lewis (Somerset, N.J./Southeast RTC) – GOLD
WIN Erik Reinbok (Estonia), 10-0
WIN Matthew Bartlett (South Africa), fall 1:04
WIN Bat-Erdene Byambasuren (Mongolia), 12-1
WIN Abubakr Abakarov (Azerbaijan), 5-1

79 kg: Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown, Md./USOTC) - SILVER
WIN Daniar Meldebek (Kazakhstan), 12-1
WIN Andrian Grosul (Moldova), 9-4
WIN Orhan Abasov (Azerbaijan), win by cautions
LOSS Hayato Ishiguro (Japan), 11-10

86 kg: Lou Deprez (Hilton, N.Y./Bearcat WC) - NINTH
WIN Mher Markosyan (Armenia), 7-0
LOSS Arif Ozen (Turkey), 6-1
LOSS Alik Shebzukhov (Russia), 9-5

92 kg: Jacob Warner (Washington, Ill./Hawkeye WC) – dnp/15th
LOSS Askhab Hamzatov (Azerbaijan), 6-6

97 kg: Zach Elam (Kansas City, Mo./Team Central WC) – SILVER
WIN Kunai Nurdavletov (Kyrgyzstan), fall 3:37
WIN Han Hyunsu (Korea), 13-2
WIN Serik Bakytkhanov (Kazakhstan), 12-1
LOSS Magomedkhan Magomedov (Russia), 11-0

125 kg: Gable Steveson (Apple Valley, Minn./Minnesota Storm)
WIN Lkhagvegerel Munkhtur (Mongolia), 7-4
WIN Haroon Abid (Pakistan), 13-2
LOSS Khasanboy Rakhimov (Uzbekistan), fall 1:18