U.S. Greco-Roman wrestlers get draw at first UWW ranking event, the Grand Prix Zagreb Open in Croatia

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Feb. 08, 2019, 2:15 p.m. (ET)
Kamal Bey of the United States launches an opponent during the 2018 World Championships. Bey is one of 13 USA athletes competing in Croatia this weekend. Photo by Robbert Wijtman, CSC Photography.

A team of 13 U.S. talented Greco-Roman athletes have received their draws at the Grand Prix Zagreb Open in Zagreb, Croatia, which is the first UWW Ranking Tournament of the new season.

The U.S. team is led by six past Senior World Team members: Ildar Hafizov (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) at 60 kg, Dalton Roberts (Fowlerville, Mich./NYAC) at 60 kg, Kamal Bey (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 77 kg, RaVaughn Perkins (Colorado Springs, Colo./NYAC) at 77 kg, Patrick Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo./NYAC) at 87 kg and G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 97 kg.

Hafizov, a 2107 World Team member, ovens against Hungarian Senior World Team member Jozsef Andrasi.

Roberts, a member of the 2018 World Team, drew 2015 European Games champion Virgil Munteanu of Romania.

Bey, who was seventh at the 2018 Senior Worlds and was a 2017 Junior World champion, will face Riccardo Abbrescia of Italy, who was fifth in the 2017 U23 World Championships.

Perkins, a 2018 World Team member, will battle 2018 Junior World bronze medalist Per Anders Kure of Norway.

Martinez, a three-time World Team member, drew 2016 Asian silver medalist Muhammadali Shamsiddinov of Uzbekistan.

Hancock, a two-time World Team member, opens with young Abolfazi Seyedmahdavi of Iran.

The USA has one of the largest delegations in the event. All 13 American wrestlers will compete on Saturday, as the competition will advance through the semifinals in all 10 weight classes. Only wrestlers who have reached the finals, or are competing in the repechage, will wrestle on Sunday.

This is the first of the UWW Greco-Roman Ranking Tournaments for this year. The current UWW Greco-Roman Ranking Series standings includes points scored during the 2018 Senior World Championships. Currently, two U.S. Greco-Roman wrestlers have scored points in the Ranking Series standings, 2018 World silver medalist Adam Coon, who is No. 2 at 130 kg, and Kamal Bey, who is No. 7 at 77 kg.

UWW Ranking Tournament points from the Grand Prix Zagreb Open will be: Gold (8 points), Silver (6 points), Bronze (4 points) and Fifth (2 points). The UWW Ranking Series will determine the top four seeded wrestlers in each weight class at the 2019 World Championships in Kazakhstan.

“The ranking tournaments are becoming really important. You can just see from the wrestlers who did get the rankings in all of the styles — freestyle, Greco, and women’s freestyle. Ranked athletes pretty much moved their way through the brackets (at the Worlds). I think it’s a big gauge for us to see where we’re at,” said National Greco-Roman Coach Matt Lindland to FivePointMove.com.

The Grand Prix Zagreb Open, as well as all of the UWW Ranking Tournaments, will be broadcast on FloWrestling.

Zagreb is six hours ahead of the U.S. Eastern time zone.

UWW Greco-Roman Ranking Tournament
at Zagreb, Croatia, Feb., 9-10

U.S. first round draw

60 kg/132 lbs. – Dalton Roberts (Fowlerville, Mich./NYAC)
Vs. Virgil Munteanu (Romania), 5th in 2009 World Championships, 2015 European Games champion, 2008 Olympian

60 kg/132 lbs. – Ildar Hafizov (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP)
Vs. Jozsef Andrasi (Hungary), 2018 Senior World Team member, 2014-15 Junior World Team member,

63 kg/139 lbs. – Xavier Johnson (Camp LeJeune, N.C./U.S. Marine Corps)
Vs. Luka Prihistal (Croatia), 3rd in 2017 Balkans Cadet Championships, 2017 and 2018 Cadet World Team member

63 kg/139 lbs. – Travis Rice (Washington, Ill./Illinois RTC/NYAC)
Vs. Islomjon Bakhramov (Uzbekistan), 2018 Asian bronze medalist, 3rd in 2015 Junior Worlds, 5th in 2018 Asian Games, 5th in 2018 U23 Worlds,

77 kg/169.5 lbs. – RaVaughn Perkins (Colorado Springs, Colo./NYAC)
Vs. Per Anders Kure (Norway), 3rd in 2018 Junior Worlds, 5th in 2018 Nordic Championships

77 kg/169.5 lbs. – Peyton Walsh (Camp LeJeune, N.C./Marines)
Vs. Furkan Bayrak (Turkey), 2014 Junior World champion, 2nd in 2015 European Juniors, 3rd in 2017 University Worlds,

77 kg/169.5 lbs. – Kamal Bey (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids)
Vs. Riccardo Abbrescia (Italy), 5th in 2017 U23 Worlds, 3x Senior World Team member,2018 U23 World Team member,

82 kg/180.5 lbs. – John Stefanowicz (Camp LeJeune, N.C./U.S. Marine Corps)
Vs. Rajbek Bisultanov (Denmark), 2nd in 2018 U23 Worlds, 2017 and 2018 Senior World Team member

87 kg/191.5 lbs. – Patrick Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo./NYAC)
Vs. Muhammadali Shamsiddinov (Uzbekistan), 2nd in 2016 Asian Championships, 5th in 2017 Asian Championships

87 kg/191.5 lbs. – Kevin Radford Jr. (Tempe, Ariz./Sunkist Kids)
Vs. Kristoffer Zakarias Berg (Sweden), 2016 Olympian, 3rd in 2015 Junior Worlds, 2x Senior World Team member

97 kg/213.5 lbs. – G’Angelo Hancock, (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids)
Vs. Abolfazi Seyedmahdavi (Iran), 8th in 2018 Takhti Cup (Iran)

97 kg/213.5 lbs. – Nicholas Boykin (Murfreesboro, Tenn./Sunkist Kids)
Vs. Seungjun Kim (Korea), 2nd in 2017 Asian Championships, 2nd in 2014 Junior Worlds

97 kg/213.5 lbs. – Daniel Miller (Camp LeJeune, N.C./Marines)
Vs. Jahongir Turdiev (Uzbekistan), 5th in 2018 Asian Games, 2015 Senior World Team member, 3rd in 2011 Junior Worlds

Schedule (six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time zone)

Saturday, Feb. 9
10:30 a.m. – Qualifications and elimination rounds

Sunday, Feb. 10
10:30 a.m. – Repechage bouts and bronze-medal matches
5:30 p.m. – Opening Ceremony and final matches