USA Wrestling 2018 World Champions...

2018 World Championships preview at 70 kg/154 lbs. in men’s freestyle

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | Sept. 28, 2018, 3:15 p.m. (ET)

Dates of competition: Monday, October 22 and Tuesday, October 23


With 70 kg being a non-Olympic weight, the quality of the competitors expected in Budapest is very high. At least for this year, top competitors are willing to compete at this weight class and seek World medals, before selecting an Olympic weight class for the Tokyo qualifying events that start in 2019.


The highest placing World medalist returning from 70 kg last year in Paris is silver medalist James Green of the USA, who was also a World bronze medalist at this weight class in 2015 in Las Vegas. Green decided to drop down to 65 kg for the 2016 Olympic year, which did not work out well for him. Green is very comfortable at this weight class. He won the 2017 and 2018 Pan American Championships and competed well at the World Cup in Iowa City. Green has all the tools needed to be World champion, and would love to add a gold in Budapest to his silver and bronze from previous Worlds.


There are three past World champions in the expected field in Budapest, but only one who has won gold at this weight class, 2015 World champion Magomedrasul Gazimagomedov of Russia. A 2018 Russian Nationals champion, he was also second in the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix in Russia this year.


The 2017 World champion at 65 kg, Zurabi Iakobishvili of Georgia, has moved up in weight. He has been exclusively at 70 kg this year, winning gold medals at the Kartozia and Balavadze International in Georgia and the Ziolkowski Memorial in Poland, plus a bronze medal at the European Championships. He was also a 2016 Olympian.


The 2013 World champion at 65 kg, David Safaryan of Armenia, has competed in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. He did not compete at the World level in 2017, but returned for two events at 70 kg this year, including a silver medal at the Stepan Sargsyan International in Armenia just a few weeks ago.


A talented multiple-medalist in the draw is Ikhtiyor Navruzov of Uzbekistan, a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist at 65 kg, who also won a World bronze medal at 65 kg in Las Vegas in 2015. Navruzov won the 2018 Asian Championships at 70 kg. He placed 10th in the 2017 World Championships at this weight class. His first Senior World Championship appearance was back in 2007.


One other past World medalist is expected to compete at this weight class, 2014 World bronze medalist Mihail Sava of Moldova. Starting in the 2016 World Championships, he has wrestled exclusively at 70 kg. His last international medal came in the 2017 Ziolkowski Memorial in Poland, where he captured a bronze medal. He has won two World University Championships medals in the past.


Expected from Azerbaijan is 2010 and 2016 World Military champion Aghahuseyn Mustafayev of Azerbaijan. He was ninth in the 2017 World Championships down at 65 kg. His most recent appearance was up at 70 kg, where he won a bronze medal at the Yasar Dogu International in Turkey. Mustafayev won a Junior World silver medal in 2009.


2013 and 2017 Pan American champion Franklin Maren Castillo of Cuba has made the move up to 70 kg after competing at 65 kg or 66 kg in past seasons. He won a gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean Championships this year at 70 kg.


Three-time Olympian Haislan Garcia of Canada has placed as high as fifth in the World Championships, when he made the medal rounds at the 2010 Worlds. His entire career has been at the 66 kg or 65 kg weight class, but he is also moving up in weight this year. He has won five Pan American medals in the past. Garcia also coached in the USA at Arizona State.


Another veteran in the mix is two-time Olympian Andrey Kviatkovski of Ukraine, who focused on 70 kg this past season. Included in his medal haul at the weight in 2018 was a silver at the Yasar Dogu in Turkey, and bronze medals at the Ivan Yarygin Memorial in Russia and the Alexander Medved International in Belarus.


Iran is projected to enter 2017 U23 World bronze medalist Younes Emamichougheui at the Worlds this year. A 2017 Junior World bronze medalist, he won a bronze at the 2018 Kartozia and Balavadze International in Georgia, and was fifth at both the Asian Championships and the Yasar Dogu in Turkey this season. He also boasts a 2013 Cadet World silver medal.


Amandyk Bakeyev of Kazakhstan won a silver medal at the Ziolkowski Memorial in Poland this summer, a top tune-up event for the Worlds. Seung-Bong Lee of Korea was second at the 2018 Asian Championships. Others to watch include Keisuke Otoguro of Japan, Mihail Georgiev of Bulgaria and Victor Serada of Belarus.


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




2017 World Championships

70 kg/154 lbs.  - Gold - Frank Chamizo Marquez (Italy); Silver - James Green (United States); Bronze –Yuhi Fujinami (Japan) ; Bronze – Akzurek Tanatarov (Kazakhstan); 5th - Zurabi Erbotsonashvili (Georgia); 5th - Yakup Gor (Turkey); 7th - Magomedkhabib Kadimagomedov (Russia); 8th - Mostafa Hosseinkhani (Iran); 9th - Adrian Ionut Moise (Romania); 10th - Ikhtiyor Navruzov (Uzbekistan)


2016 World Championships

70 kg/154 lbs. – Gold – Magomed Kurbanaliev (Russia); Silver – Nurlan Bekzahanov (Kazakhstan); Bronze – Mostafa Hosseinkhani (Iran); Bronze – Elaman Dogdurbek Uulu (Kyrgyzstan); 5th – Rashid Kurbanov (Uzbekistan); 5th – Nobuyoshi Takojima (Japan); 7th – James Green (United States); 8th – Miroslav Kirov (Bulgaria); 9th – Mihail Sava (Moldova); 10th – Zsombor Gulyas (Hungary)


2015 World Championships

70 kg/154 lbs. – Gold – Magomedrasul Gazimagomedov (Russia); Silver – Hassan Yazdanicharati (Iran); Bronze – James Green (United States); Bronze – Yakup Gor (Turkey); 5th – Azamat Nurykau (Belarus); 5th – Miroslav Kirov (Bulgaria); 7th – Davit Tlashadze (Georgia); 8th – Nurlan Bekzhanov (Uzbekistan); 9th – Bekzod Abdurakhmonov (Uzbekistan); 10th – Haiwei Ling (China)


2014 World Championships

70 kg/154 lbs. – Gold – Khetik Tsabolov (Russia); Silver – Yakup Gor (Turkey); Bronze – Ali Shabanau (Belarus); Bronze – Bekzod Abdurakhmanov (Uzbekistan); 5th – Cleopas Ncube (Canada); 5th – Zalimkhan Yusuopv (Tajikistan); 7th – Yoan Blanco (Ecuador); 8th – Nick Marable (USA); 9th – Kim Dai-Sung (Korea); 10th – Evgheni Nedealco (Moldova)


Current UWW Ranking Series standings (for seeding)

1 Andriy Kvyatkovskyy (Ukraine)

2 Magomed Kurbanaliev (Russia)

3 Zurabi Iakobishvili (Georgia)

4 Murtazali Muslimov (Azerbaijan)

5 Taimuraz Salkazanov (Slovakia)

6 Aghahuseyn Mustafayev (Azerbaijan)

7 Mustafa Kaya (Turkey)

8 Magomedmurad Gadzhiev (Poland)

9 Ogbonna Emmanuel John (Nigeria)

10 Ikhtiyor Navruzov (Uzbekistan)