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2019 World Championships preview at 74 kg/163 lbs. in men’s freestyle

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | Aug. 27, 2019, 6:43 p.m. (ET)


The 74 kg weight class in men’s freestyle will be one to keep an eye on with some explosive names in the mix at the 2019 World Championships.

All four of last year’s 74 kg medalists return to the field this year, including 2018 World champion Zaurbek Sidakov from Russia. In his 2018 run, the then-22-year-old took out big names such as Jordan Burroughs and Frank Chamizo.

Sidakov, a 2015 Junior World bronze medalist, has had a successful season since winning his first World title. He won the prestigious Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix in Russia in January and claimed gold at the European Games in June. He also helped Russia to another World Cup team title.

Due to not being at many of this year’s UWW Rankings Series events, Sidakov will enter the World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, as the No. 3 seed.

The Nos. 1 and 2 seeds belong to past World champions Chamizo of Italy and Burroughs of USA, respectively.

Chamizo earned the No. 1 seed with podium finishes at three of the four major ranking events, winning gold at the City of Sassari Tournament in Italy, silver at the Yasar Dogu in Turkey and bronze at the Dan Kolov International in Ukraine. He did not compete at the Yarygin.

Formerly of Cuba, Chamizo is a two-time World champion for Italy, winning at 65 kg in 2015 and 70 kg in 2017. He also claimed a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics at 65 kg. In 2010, Chamizo won a World bronze, competing for Cuba.

Making the move up to 74 kg last year, the Italian took fifth at the 2018 World Championships, losing to Burroughs in the bronze-medal bout.

USA’s Burroughs is perhaps one of the most decorated athletes in the freestyle field, owning a 2012 Olympic gold, four World titles (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017) and a pair of World bronze medals from 2014 and 2018.

He heads to his seventh-straight World Championships and enters as the No. 2 seed, thanks to gold medals at the Dan Kolov International and the Yasar Dogu. (Chamizo forfeited to Burroughs in the Yasar Dogu finals).

Burroughs bounced back from his 2018 third-place World finish by winning every event he competed in this season. In addition to gold medals at the Kolov and Dogu, Burroughs won the Pan American Championships in April and navigated a tough field to win gold at the Pan American Games in August.

En route to his Pan Am Games title, Burroughs had to go through four-time World medalist Geandry Garzon Caballero of Cuba and 2011 World silver medalist Franklin Gomez Matos of Puerto Rico. Both are expected to be in the 2019 Worlds field.

Burroughs and Sidakov will be on the same side of the bracket with the potential of meeting up in the semifinals as the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds.

The No. 4 seed in September will be 2018 World silver medalist Avtandil Kentchadze from Georgia.

Last year marked Kentchadze’s first Senior World medal. Just one month later, he competed at the U23 World Championships, where he won gold.

Though Kentchadze did not compete at any Rankings Series events, he still put together a successful season with bronze medals at the European Championships and the European Games as well as a gold medal at the International Ukrainian Tournament.

The other bronze medalist from the 2018 Worlds was Bekzod Abdurakhmanov from Uzbekistan, who also owns a 2014 World bronze medal.

This year, he competed internationally only twice, winning Alexander Medved Prizes earlier this month and scoring silver at the Kolov International.

Finishing fifth last year at 74 kg was Soner Demirtas of Turkey, who is a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and 2017 World bronze medalist. He will represent Turkey once again this year.

There are several other names to look out for, including two-time Olympic medalist and 2010 World champion Sushil Kumar from India as well as 2016 world silver medalist Nurlan Bekzhanov of Kazakhstan.

Current UWW Ranking Series standings (used for seeding)
1. Frank CHAMIZO (Italy)
3. Zaurbek SIDAKOV (Russia)
4. Avtandil KENTCHADZE (Georgia)
5. Bekzod ABDURAKHMANOV (Uzbekistan)
6. Azamat NURYKAU (Belarus)
7. Yakup GOR (Turkey)
8. Daniyar KAISANOV (Kazakhstan)
9. Amit DHANKHAR (India)
10. Timur BIZHOEV (Russia)