USA edges out Japan, 6-4, for third at the 2019 World Cup

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | March 17, 2019, 4:29 a.m. (ET)

Photo: Zain Retherford at the 2017 World Championships in Paris. Photo by Tony Rotundo,  

YAKUTSK, Russia – The United States took third at the 2019 Men’s Freestyle World Cup, claiming a 6-4 win over Japan in the bronze-medal bout on Sunday in Yakutsk, Russia.

The whole dual was a back-and-forth battle with the USA prevailing in the end.

The U.S. won by forfeit at 57 kg, but Japan snagged the win at 61 kg as National Team member Nico Megaludis suffered his first loss of the tournament, falling to 2018 University World champion Yudai Fujita on criteria, 4-4.

At 65 kg, 2017 Senior World Team member and 2012 Cadet World champion Zain Retherford finished the weekend undefeated, producing a 10-0 tech fall against 2014 Junior World bronze medalist and 2011 Cadet World bronze medalist Daichi Takatani.

Japan evened up the team the score with a win at 70 kg as Final X runner-up Jason Chamberlain lost a 5-3 decision to 2018 Junior Asian bronze winner Kojiro Shiga.

The U.S. picked up the win at 74 kg with a 10-0 shutout from Final X runner-up and 2017 U23 World Team member Isaiah Martinez, who defeated 2015 Cadet Asian bronze medalist Yuto Miwa.

Japan won the next two bouts at 79 kg and 86 kg, but the Red, White and Blue finished strong, taking the final three matches.

At 92 kg, multiple-time freestyle and Greco-Roman National Team member Hayden Zillmer dominated 2018 Senior World bronze medalist Atsushi Matsumoto, registering four takedowns in the process.

Final X runner-up Kyven Gadson edged out Naoya Akaguma, 3-2, at 97 kg and National Team member Tony Nelson followed up with a 5-3 win over Nobuyoshi Arakida at 125 kg to clinch the dual and the third-place trophy.

The United States finished the weekend with a 3-1 record, defeating Georgia, Mongolia and Japan.

USA 6, Japan 4
57: Zach Sanders (USA) win by forfeit Yuki Takahashi (Japan)
61: Yudai Fujita (Japan) dec. Nico Megaludis (USA), 4-4
65: Zain Retherford (USA) TF Daichi Takatani (Japan), 10-0
70: Kojiro Shiga (Japan) dec. Jason Chamberlain (USA), 5-3
74: Isaiah Martinez (USA) TF Yuto Miwa (Japan), 10-0
79: Yuta Abe (Japan) dec. Thomas Gantt (USA), 3-2
86: Sohsuke Takatani (Japan) TF Sam Brooks (USA), 14-3
92: Hayden Zillmer (USA) TF Atsushi Matsumoto (Japan), 10-0
97: Kyven Gadson (USA) dec. Naoya Akaguma (Japan), 3-2
125: Tony Nelson (USA) dec. Nobuyoshi Arakida (Japan), 5-3