2019 World Championships preview at 70 kg/154 lbs. in men’s freestyle

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | Aug. 24, 2019, 9 p.m. (ET)

COMPETITION DATE: Sept. 20-21, 2019

With the Olympic year approaching, many competitors are scattering away from the non-Olympic weights for the 2019 World Championships. That includes 70 kg.

Based on the entries so far, there is only one returning World champion in the field, Zurabi Iakobishvili of Georgia, who won the World title at 70 kg in 2017, and last year, he finished with a World bronze.

This year, Iakobishvili has competed at four UWW events, recording two first-place finishes and two other finishes outside of the top-10.

While there is only one World champ in the field, there is no shortage of World medalists.

Littering the 70 kg field are six past Senior World medalists, including two-time World medal winners Mandakhnaran Ganzorig of Mongolia and James Green of the United States.

Ganzorig owns bronze medals from 2013 and 2014, while Green won bronze in 2015 and a World silver in 2017. This year will mark Green’s fifth-straight World Championships appearance for the USA.

Highlighting the other World medalists includes Adam Batirov of Bahrain, who won silver last year at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Previously competing for Russia, Batirov was a 2003 Junior World runner-up, as well.

Also formerly of Russia in the field is Magomedmurad Gadzhiev, who now wrestles for Poland. In 2018, Gadzhiev won a Senior World silver for Poland. In 2008, when he competed for Russia, Gadzhiev won a Junior World title.

Elaman Dogdurbek Uulu of Kyrgyzstan and Mihail Sava of Moldova make up the other Senior World medalists that are expected to compete.

Batirov enters the tournament with the No. 2 seed. Holding the No. 1 seed is Magomedrasul Gazimagomedov of Russia; however, Russia submitted David Baev as its representative for the World Championships. If Baev competes in Kazakhstan instead of Gazimagomedov, then Batirov will take the No. 1 seed.

Baev is accomplished at the age-group levels, winning a 2014 Cadet World gold, a 2017 Junior World gold and a 2018 U23 World silver. He is expected to make his Senior World debut next month.

Similarly, Iran is sending a talented athlete with age-group credentials at 70 kg—Yones Aliakbar Emamichoghaei, who has a 2013 Cadet World silver, a 2017 Junior World bronze and a 2017 U23 World bronze. Emamichoghaei currently holds the No. 5 seed.

It is likely that host country Kazakhstan will send Nurkozha Kaipanov to the tournament. Kaipanov, who enters with the No. 3 seed, won the 2019 Asian Championships earlier this year. There is also a possibility that Kazakhstan could send Meirzhan Ashirov, who won a 2016 University World title and 2012 Junior World bronze.

Other names to look out for 2019 European champion Mustafa Kaya of Turkey and 2012 University World silver medalist Semen Radulov of Ukraine.

Current UWW Ranking Series standings (used for seeding)
1. Magomedrasul GAZIMAGOMEDOV (Russia)
2. Adam BATIROV (Bahrain)
3. Nurkozha KAIPANOV (Kazakhstan)
4. Andriy KVYATKOVSKYY (Ukraine)
5. Yones Aliakbar EMAMICHOGHAEI (Iran)
6. Devid SAFARYAN (Armenia)
7. Batyr BORJAKOV (Turkmenistan)
8. Fares LAKEL (Algeria)
9. Zurabi IAKOBISHVILI (Georgia)
10. Franklin MAREN CASTILLO (Cuba)