Photo of John Stefanowicz by Tony Rotundo/Wrestlers are Warriors.
Dates of competition: Saturday, September 14 and Sunday, September 15
Two-time World Champion Peter Bacsi of Hungary will not be returning to defend his 2018 title. Instead, Hungary will be sending Zoltan Levai, a four-time age group World medalist. Levai has placed third three times at the Junior World championships, twice at 74 kg in 2015 and 2016 and once at 66 kg in 2014. He also owns a Cadet World bronze medal at 46 kg from 2011. In 2019 Levai won the U23 European Championships. He also finished runner-up at the Grand Prix of Germany and the City of Sassari Tournament in Italy, competing at 77 kg for both tournaments.
Last year’s silver medalist Emrah Kus of Turkey is back and looking to move the podium to claim a title. Kus is currently the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the world and has finished runner-up at the Grand Prix of Zagreb in Croatia and the Oleg Karavev Memorial in Belarus and third at the European Championships. Kus’s other Senior World medal was a bronze at 74 kg in 2013.
2018 World bronze medalist Maksim Manukyan of Armenia will also be returning, and he is certainly a gold medal threat. Manukyan is a 2017 World champion at 80 kg. He also holds a Beach Wrestling World bronze at 80 kg from 2011. Manukyan wrestled the majority of 2019 at 87 kg. His only result at 82 kg is a third place finish at the Tbilisi Tournament in Georgia. At 87 kg he won the Nikola Petrov tournament in Bulgaria, finished runner-up at the Wladyslaw Pylasinski Cup in Poland, took seventh at the European Championships and ninth at the European Games.
The other 2018 World bronze medalist Viktor Sasunovski of Belarus will also be in the bracket. In 2019, Sasunovski has won the Vehbi Emre Tournament in Turkey and the Oleg Karavaev Memorial. He also finished seventh at the European Championships. Sasunovski is a 2015 World silver medalist at 80 kg as well.
2011 World champion at 66 kg Saed Mourad Abdvali will be motivated to get back on the podium after a fifth place finish last year. Abdvali is a two-time Olympian and took bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games at 75 kg. Abdvali also placed third at the 2017 World Championships at 75 kg and was a two-time Junior World Champion at 66 kg in 2008 and 2009. This year, Abdvali, is the Asian champion and finished third at the Vehbi Emre Tournament.
2019 European champion Rajbek Bisultanov of Denmark will look to place at the Senior World Championships for the first time. He is a 2018 U23 World silver medalist. This year he won the Thor Masters in Denmark, finished runner-up at the Grand Prix of Germany and 11th at the Grand Prix of Spain.
John Stefanowicz will be representing the U.S. After defaulting at the U.S Open to finish fifth, he has been rounding into form. He won the World Team Trials Challenge tournament and followed it up with two-straight victories to earn the spot at Final X: Rutgers. Internationally, he finished third at the Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Cup and ninth at the Grand Prix of Zagreb.
RECENT WORLD RESULTS
2018 World Championships
82 kg/180.5 lbs. - Gold – Peter Bacsi (Hungary); Silver – Emrah Kus (Turkey); Bronze – Viktar Sasunovski (Belarus); Bronze – Maksim Manukyan (Armenia); 5th - Atabek Azisbekov (Kyrgyzstan); 5th - Saeid Abdvali (Iran); 7th - Roland Schwarz (Germany); 8th - Maxat Yerezhepov (Kazakhstan); 9th – Luis Avendano Rojas (Venezuela) 10th – Zied Ait Ouagram (Morocco)
2017 World Championships
80 kg/176 lbs. - Gold – Maksim Manukyan (Armenia); Silver - Radik Kuliev (Belarus); Bronze –Pascual Eisele (Germany); Bronze – Elvin Mursaliev (Azerbaijan); 5th - Zurabi Datunashvili (Georgia); 5th - Daniel Aleksandrov (Bulgaria); 7th - Zied Ait Ouagram (Morocco); 8th - Michael Wagner (Austria); 9th - Alex Michel Bjurberg Kessidis (Sweden); 10th - Askhat Dilmukhamedov (Kazakhstan)
2016 World Championships
80 kg/176 lbs. – Gold – Ramazan Abacharaev (Russia); Silver – Aslan Atem (Turkey); Bronze – Jonibek Otabekov (Uzbekistan); Bronze – Laszlo Szabo (Hungary); Fifth – Nikoloz Kelasov (Georgia); Fifth – Askhat Dilmukhamedov (Kazakhstan); Seventh – Pascal Eisele (Germany); Eighth – Edgar Babayan (Poland); Ninth – Soh Sakabe (Japan); Tenth – Rafig Huseynov (Azerbaijan)
2015 World Championships
80 kg/176 lbs. – Gold – Seluck Cebi (Turkey); Silver – Viktar Sasunouski (Belarus); Bronze – Yousef Ghaderian (Iran); Bronze – Lasha Gobadze (Georgia); Fifth – Askhat Dilmukhamedov (Kazakhstan); Fifth – Samat Shirdakov (Kyrgyzstan); Seventh – Laszlo Szabo (Hungary); Eighth – Evgeny Saleev (Russia); Ninth – Jinhyeok Kim (Korea); Tenth – Pavel Powada (Czech Republic)
2014 World Championships
80 kg/176 lbs. – Gold – Peter Bacsi (Hungary); Silver – Evgeni Saleev (Russia); Bronze – Selcuk Cebi (Turkey); Bronze – Jim Pettersson (Sweden); Fifth – Bozo Starcevic (Croatia); Fifth – Tadeusz Michalik (Poland); Seventh – Habibollah Akhlaghi (Iran); Eighth – Pascal Eisele (Germany); Ninth – Jonas Bossert (Switzerland); Tenth – Aleksandr Kazakevic (Lithuania)
Current UWW Ranking Series standings (for seeding)
1 Emrah Kus (Turkey)
2 Viktar Sasunovski (Belarus)
3 Saed Morad Abdvali (Iran)
4 Rajbek Bisultanov (Denmark)