Photo by Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com.
COMPETITION DATE: Sept. 21-22, 2019
With defending World champion David Taylor of USA not in the mix in this year’s 86 kg men’s freestyle field of the World Championships, there will be a new champ atop the 2019 podium.
Leading the pack is 2016 Olympic champion Hassan Yazdani Charati of Iran, who is also a 2015 and 2017 World champion.
Last October, Yazdani Charati produced a third-place finish at the 2018 World Championships and has only competed once since then, winning gold at the Dan Kolov Tournament in Ukraine.
At last year’s Worlds, Yazdani Charati lost in the first round to eventual World champion Taylor, and it was his first loss at an individual tournament since early 2016.
His international career started in 2011 as a Cadet, and in the eight years since, Yazdani Charati has medaled at every international tournament he’s competed in. He also owns a Junior World gold and a Cadet World silver.
The Iranian will not be seeded in Kazakhstan.
Holding the No. 1 seed at 86 kg is Fatih Erdin of Turkey, who was the 2018 World runner-up.
Erdin was active during the 2019 season, taking silver at the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix and fifth at the Kolov, both UWW Ranking Series events. Erdin was also third at European Championships in April.
Since Taylor was the No. 2 seed and will not be competing, Artur Naifonov of Russia will be positioned opposite of Erdin as the second seed. Naifonov is a 2018 U23 World silver medalist and 2017 Junior World medalist.
Moving up to the 3-seed is Sandro Aminashvili from Georgia, who won a World bronze medal in 2015, and the No. 4 seed will be 2019 Pan American Games champion Yurieski Torreblanca Queralta of Cuba.
There are several other past World medalists scattered across the field, including three-time World bronze medalist Ali Shabanau of Belarus. His most recent World medal was bronze in 2018. This season, Shabanau finished with silver at the 2019 European Games.
Other World medalists expected to compete are 2017 World silver Boris Makoev of Slovakia, 2014 World silver Sohsuke Takatani of Japan and 2013 World bronze Istvan Vereb of Hugary.
Competing for the USA at 86 kg is 2012 Junior World silver medalist Patrick Downey. Kazakhstan will mark his Senior World debut. Earlier this summer, Downey represented the United States at the 2019 Pan Am Games, where he secured a bronze medal.
Additional names to look out for are 2012 Olympic silver medalist Jamie Espinal Fajardo of Puerto and 2019 Junior World champion Deepak Punia of India.
Current UWW Ranking Series standings (used for seeding)
1. Fatih ERDIN (TUR)
2. David TAYLOR III (USA)
3. Artur NAIFONOV (RUS)
4. Sandro AMINASHVILI (GEO)
5. Yurieski TORREBLANCA QUERALTA (CUB)