Johnson wins silver and Hancock takes bronze at Zagreb Open, the first UWW Greco-Roman Ranking event

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Feb. 10, 2019, 12:31 p.m. (ET)
Xavier Johnson of the USA lifts and throws Irakli Dzmirstarishvili of Georgia during the 2019 Grand Prix Zagreb Open. UWW photo by Kadir Caliskan.

ZAGREB, Croatia – Xavier Johnson (Camp LeJeune, N.C./U.S. Marine Corps) claimed a silver medal at 63 kg/139 lbs. and two-time Senior World Team member G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) won a bronze medal bout at 97 kg/213.5 lbs. at the Grand Prix Zagreb Open, the first UWW Greco-Roman Ranking Tournament of 2019.

In the gold-medal round on Sunday evening, Johnson was defeated by Islomjon Bakhramov of Uzbekistan by techmical fall, 10-2 in the first period.

Bakhramov opened the scoring with a takedown, blocking a Johnson throw and landing on top, with Johnson getting a reversal. Officials scored it 2-1 in favor of Bakhramov, but the Uzbekistan corner challenged. After review, the score was changed to 4-2. They ruled Bakhramov got a takedown and a gutwrench turn, but Johnson scored exposure on his reversal for two points.

Bakhramov then scored a takedown and turn to extend his lead to 8-2. In the next exchange, Bakhramov got behind Johnson and drove him down for the winning takedown, sealing the technical fall at 10-2.

Bakhramov was third in the 2015 Junior World Championships, and added a bronze medal at the 2018 Asian Senior Championships.

Johnson, who is No. 3 on the Greco-Roman National Team, won three matches on Saturday to make the finals, including a 10-0 technical fall over Dawid Ersetic of Poland in the semifinals.

This is the second straight year that Johnson has won a medal in Zagreb, and claiming a bronze medal at 60 kg in 2018. Last year, this event was not a UWW Ranking Tournament.

“Johnson continues to impress me with his stoic mindset. He is the exemplification of a true warrior,” said National Greco-Roman Coach Matt Lindland. “Although Xavier came up short in the finals match, it was not for a lack of effort. He is taking the fight to his opponents and constantly looking to score points from every position possible. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with such talented and driven athletes.”

Earlier on Sunday, Hancock defeated Adam Varga of Hungary, 4-1 to win his bronze medal medal. He led after the first period, 1-0, when Varga was hit with a passivity penalty. In the second period, Varga was again penalized for passivity, making it 2-0, then Hancock turned him for two points with a powerful front headlock. Hancock held good position to hold off Varga as the period ended.

Hancock, a past Junior World bronze medalist, won his first two matches on Saturday, before falling to Ilia Borisov of Russia in the semifinals.

“Tracy Hancock had a solid performance and came back to win the bronze medal. Tracy is becoming a consistent performer on the international scene with big wins against the best athletes in the world. I was pleased with his efforts and combative spirit,” said Lindland.

Also, Travis Rice (Washington, Ill./Illinois RTC/NYAC) was defeated in a bronze-medal bout at 63 kg/139 lbs. by Firuz Tukhtaev of Uzbekistan, in a 9-0 technical fall. Rice placed fifth. Tukhtaev was leading 2-0 in the second period when Rice was hit with passivity to make it 3-0. Tukhtaev scored three turns from the top to close out the match.

Tukhtaev was 10th in the 2018 Senior World Championships. Rice competed on a Junior World Team and a U23 World Team for the USA and was recently second at the Dave Schultz Memorial International.

By making a medal match, Johnson, Hancock and Rice earned points towards the UWW Ranking Series, which will be used to determine the top four seeds at the 2019 World Championships in Kazakhstan.

As a silver medalist, Johnson secured six points towards the 2019 UWW Ranking Series standings. As a bronze medalist, Hancock earned four points, and Rice earned two points by placing fifth. None of these three U.S. athletes had any points going into the season, which were earned by those who placed in the top 10 of their weight class at the 2017 World Championships.

Three USA athletes were beaten in their repechage bouts on Sunday morning, Jon Stefanowicz (Camp LeJeune, N.C./U.S. Marine Corps) at 82 kg/180.5 lbs., Kevin Radford (Tempe, Ariz./Sunkist Kids) at 87 kg/191.5 lbs., and Nicholas Boykin (Murfreesboro, Tenn./Sunkist Kids) at 97 kg/213.5 lbs. The USA entered 13 athletes in the tournament.

“I am overall very happy with the way our guys competed in our first ranking tournament. We were continually looking for ways to win,” said Lindland. “We have two weeks in Europe to improve and make adjustments before the next event in Hungary. I can’t wait to see how we do in our next outing.”

The United States placed eighth in the team standings with 51 points, out of 23 nations. The top three nations were champion Turkey, runner-up Uzbekistan and third-place Croatia.

The event was broadcast live by FloWrestling, where archived footage is also available.

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


55 kg
Gold - Pouya Dad Marz (Iran)
Silver - Ekrem Ozturk (Turkey)
Bronze - Alexandru Botez (Romania)

60 kg
Gold –Kerem Kamal (Turkey)
Silver - Milad Ali Reznezhad (Iran)
Bronze – Ivan Lizatovic (Croatia)
Bronze – Eric Torba (Hungary)

63 kg
Gold – Islomjon Bakhramov (Uzbekistan)
Silver - Xavier Johnson (USA)
Bronze – Firuz Tukhtaev (Uzbekistan)
Bronze – Dawid Ersetic (Poland)

67 kg
Gold – Elmurat Tasmuradov (Uzbekistan)
Silver - Mihai Mihut (Romania)
Bronze – Ignacio San Filippo (Italy)
Bronze – Morton Thoresen (Norway)

72 kg
Gold –Robert Frisch (Hungary)
Silver - Ramaz Zoidze (Georgia)
Bronze – Mateusz Bernatek (Poland)
Bronze – Aik Mnatsakanian (Bulgaria)

77 kg
Gold – Bozo Starcevic (Croatia)
Silver - Yunus Basar (Turkey)
Bronze – Kim Hyeonwoo (Korea)
Bronze – Mohammad Aziz Naghousi (Iran)

82 kg
Gold – Daniel Aleksandrov (Bulgaria)
Silver - Emrah Kus (Turkey)
Bronze – Karlo Kodric (Croatia)
Bronze – Burhan Akbudak (Turkey)

87 kg
Gold – Viktor Lorincz (Hungary)
Silver - Kristoffer Zakarias Berg (Sweden)
Bronze – Arkadiusz Kulnycz (Poland)
Bronze –Tadeusz Michalik (Poland)

97 kg
Gold – Ilia Borisov (Russia)
Silver - Kiril Milov (Bulgaria)
Bronze – G’Angelo Hancock (USA)
Bronze – Jahongir Turdiev (Uzbekistan)

130 kg
Gold – Oskar Marvik (Norway)
Silver - Muminjon Abdullaev (Uzbekistan)
Bronze – Miloslav Metodiev (Bulgaria)
Bronze – Yasmani Acosta Fernandez (Chile)

U.S. Greco-Roman performances

60 kg/132 lbs. – Dalton Roberts (Fowlerville, Mich./NYAC), dnp/13th
LOSS Virgil Munteanu (Romania), tech. fall 10-1

60 kg/132 lbs. – Ildar Hafizov (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP), 8th place
WIN Jozsef Andrasi (Hungary), tech. fall 10-0
LOSS Ivan Lizatovic (Croatia), 2-1

63 kg/139 lbs. – Xavier Johnson (Camp LeJeune, N.C./U.S. Marine Corps), silver medal
WIN Irakli Dzmirstarishvili (Georgia), pin 2:02
WIN Luka Prihistal (Croatia), forfeit
WIN Dawid Ersetic (Poland), tech. fall 10-0
LOSS Islomjon Bakhramov (Uzbekistan), tech fall 10-2

63 kg/139 lbs. – Travis Rice (Washington, Ill./Illinois RTC/NYAC), 5th place
LOSS Islomjon Bakhramov (Uzbekistan), 9-0 tech. fall
LOSS Firuz Tukhtaev (Uzbekistan), 9-0 tech. fall

77 kg/169.5 lbs. – RaVaughn Perkins (Colorado Springs, Colo./NYAC), 9th place
LOSS Per Anders Kure (Norway), 7-5

77 kg/169.5 lbs. – Peyton Walsh (Camp LeJeune, N.C./Marines), dnp/14th
LOSS Furkan Bayrak (Turkey), tech. fall, 9-0

77 kg/169.5 lbs. – Kamal Bey (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids), dnp/disq.
WIN Riccardo Abbrescia (Italy), 7-3
LOSS Rafael Iunusov (Russia), disqualification 5:55

82 kg/180.5 lbs. – Jon Stefanowicz (Camp LeJeune, N.C./U.S. Marine Corps), 8th place
WIN Rajbek Bisultanov (Denmark), 4-4
LOSS Emrah Kus (Turkey), 9-0 tech fall
LOSS Jalgasbay Berdimuratov (Uzbekistan), 6-5

87 kg/191.5 lbs. – Patrick Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo./NYAC), dnp/12th
LOSS Muhammadali Shamsiddinov (Uzbekistan), 7-5

87 kg/191.5 lbs. – Kevin Radford Jr. (Tempe, Ariz./Sunkist Kids), dnp/21st
LOSS Kristoffer Zakarias Berg (Sweden), tech. fall 8-0
LOSS Dogan Goktas (Turkey) tech. fall 10-0

97 kg/213.5 lbs. – G’Angelo Hancock, (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids), bronze medal
WIN Abolfazi Seyedmahdavi (Iran), pin 1:32
WIN Seyeol Lee (Korea), 5-1
LOSS Ilia Borisov (Russia), pin 2:34
WIN Adam Varga (Hungary), 4-1

97 kg/213.5 lbs. – Nicholas Boykin (Murfreesboro, Tenn./Sunkist Kids), 7th place
WIN Seungjun Kim (Korea), pin 5:20
LOSS Ilia Borisov (Russia), tech. fall 9-0
LOSS Adam Varga (Hungary), tech. fall 8-0

97 kg/213.5 lbs. – Daniel Miller (Camp LeJeune, N.C./Marines), 10th place
LOSS Jahongir Turdiev (Uzbekistan), 6-4

Team Standings
1 Turkey 132
2 Uzbekistan 101
3 Croatia 91
4 Bulgaria 85
5 Hungary 83
6 Iran 74
7 Romania 61
8 United States 51
9 Poland 45
10 Norway 41
(of 23 nations)