Photo of G'Angelo Hancock at the Pan Am Games by Tony Rotundo/Wrestlers are Warriors
Dates of Competition: Sunday, September 15 and Monday, September 16
97 kg is another stacked weight class. Leading the pack is returning World champion Musa Evloev of Russia. Evloev has won every tournament he has competed in since last year’s World Championships, including the European Championships, the Grand Prix of Germany and the Nikola Petrov Tournament in Bulgaria. Evloev is a 2017 Senior World runner-up and a 2013 Junior World champion at 98 kg.
Kiril Milenov Milov of Bulgaria, last year’s runner-up, is also back in the brackets. He has had a solid 2019 campaign, winning the Ion Corneanu & Ladislau Simon Memorial in France, finishing runner-up at the European Championships and the Grand Prix of Zagreb in Croatia and taking seventh at the Nikola Petrov Tournament. 2018 was the first time Milov medaled at the World Championships at any level, but he is also a 2014 Youth Olympic Games silver medalist at 85 kg.
Iran will not be sending last year’s bronze medalist Mahdi Abbas Aliyarfeizabadi. Instead, they will be opting for 2018 U23 and Junior World champion at 87 kg Mohammadhadi Abdollah. The impressive upstart won the Vehbi Emre & Hamit Kaplan Tournament and the U23 Asian Championships at 87 kg. He then bumped to 97 kg, where he won the Tbilisi Tournament in Georgia.
Serbia’s Mihail Kajala, the other 2018 bronze medalist, will be back in the field. Kajala had never placed at the World Championships before last year. In 2019 he has finished third at the Nikola Petrov Tournament and the City of Sassari Tournament in Italy, eighth at the European Games, tenth at the Tbilisi Tournament and fourteenth at the European Championships.
The most credentialed wrestler in the bracket will be Artur Aleksanyan of Armenia. Aleksanyan placed fifth at last year’s World Championships. He forfeited his bronze medal match after losing to Evloev in the semifinals. Aleksanyan is a 2016 Olympic champion at 98 kg and a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist at 96 kg. He is also a three-time World champion, winning titles at 98 kg in 2014, 2015 and 2017, while finishing runner-up at 96 kg in 2013. Aleksanyan owns a 2010 Junior World gold medal and a 2009 Junior World bronze medal at 84 kg. This year, he won the European Championships, the only tournament he entered.
Another veteran competitor at this weight class is 2009 World champion at 96 kg Balasz Kiss of Hungary. Kiss finished fifth in 2018 and has not looked like a world-beater in 2019, placing third at the City of Sassari Tournament and 14th at the European Games and the Grand Prix of Germany. In addition to his World title, Kiss also took bronze at 96 kg in 2013 and at 98 kg in 2017. Kiss is a 2003 Junior World runner-up and a 1998 Cadet World champion.
An exciting prospect that will most likely make some noise at his first Senior World Championships is Gabriel Alejandro Rosillo Kindelan of Cuba. In 2019, Rosillo Kindelan won the Junior World Championships, the Pan American Games, the Pan American Championships (at the Junior and Senior level), the Cerro Pelado International in Cuba and the Takhti Cup in Iran. Despite his young age, Rosillio Kindelan could be a dark horse candidate to bring home a gold medal.
Representing the U.S. will be G’Angelo Hancock. This will be Hancock’s third Senior World Championships. Hancock has wrestled a tough international schedule this year and done very well. He won the Dave Schultz Memorial International and the Grand Prix of Hungary while finishing runner-up at the Pan American Games, the Pan American Championships and the City of Sassari Tournament. He also notched third place performances at the Thor Masters in Denmark and the Grand Prix of Zagreb.
Hancock has been untouchable domestically, winning the U.S. Open and earning the outstanding wrestler award after teching every opponent without allowing a point scored against him. He also won the U23 World Team Trials, teching all of his opponents, and will represent the U.S. at the U23 World Championships in November. Hancock is a 2016 Junior World bronze medalist at 96 kg. In a deep bracket with steep competition, Hancock has the talent to punch through and make the podium.
RECENT WORLD AND OLYMPIC RESULTS
2018 World Championships
97 kg/213.5 lbs. – Gold – Musa Evloev (Russia); Silver – Kiril Milenov Milov (Bulgaria); Bronze – Mihail Kajala (Serbia); Bronze – Mahdi Abbas Aliyarfeizabadi (Serbia); 5th – Balazs Kiss (Hungary); 5th - Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia); 7th – Revazi Nadareishvili (Georgia); 8th –Luillys Jose Perez Mora (Venezuela); 9th – Laokratis Kesidis (Greece); 10th – Melonin Noumonvi (France)
2017 World Championships
98 kg/215 lbs. - Gold - Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia); Silver - Musa Evloev (Russia); Bronze - Revazi Nadareishvili (Georgia); Bronze - Balazs Kiss (Hungary); 5th - Rustam Assakalov (Uzbekistan); 5th - Dimitriy Timchenko (Ukraine); 7th - Mélonin Noumonvi (France); 8th - Vilius Laurinaitis (Lithuania); 9th - Mikheil Kajaia (Serbia); 10th - Laokratis Kesidis (Greece)
2016 Olympic Games
98 kg/216 lbs. – Gold – Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia); Silver – Yasmany Lugo Cabrera (Cuba); Bronze – Cenk Ildem (Turkey); Bronze – Ghasem Rezaei (Iran); Fifth – Alin Alexuc Ciurariu (Romania); Fifth – Carl Schoen (Sweden); Seventh – Elis Guri (Bulgaria); Eighth – Islam Magomedov (Russia); Ninth – Balazs Kiss (Hungary); Tenth – Hamdy Abdelwahab (Egypt); Tenth – Revazi Nadareishvili (Georgia)
2015 World Championships
98 kg/216 lbs. – Gold – Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia); Silver – Ghasem Rezaei (Iran); Bronze – Islam Magomedov (Russia); Bronze – Dimitriy Timchenko (Ukraine); 5th – Elis Guri (Bulgaria); 5th – Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu (Romania); 7th – Di Xiao (China); 8th – Marthin Hamlet Nielsen (Norway); 9th – Peter Oehler (Germany); 10th – Vilius Laurinaitis (Lithuania)
2014 World Championships
98 kg/216 lbs. – Gold – Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia); Silver –Oliver Hassler (Germany); Bronze – Ghasem Rezaei (Iran); Bronze – Cenk Ildem (Turkey); 5th – Aliaksandr Hrabovik (Belarus); 5th – Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu (Romania); 7th – Miroslav Metoviev (Bulgaria); 8th – Ardo Arusaar (Estonia); 9th – Marthin Nielsen (Finland); 10th – Adam Varga (Hungary)
2013 World Championships
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Gold – Nikita Melnikov (Russia); Silver – Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia); Bronze – Balazs Kiss (Hungary); Bronze – Shalva Gadabadze (Azerbaijan); 5th – Mahdi Aliyarifeizagadi (Iran); 5th – Norikatsu Saikawa (Japan); 7th – Yerulan Iskakov (Kazakhstan); 8th – Timo Antero Kallio (Finland); 9th – Mélonin Noumonvi (France); 10th – Cenk Ildem (Turkey)
2012 Olympic Games
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Gold – Ghasem Rezaei (Iran); Silver – Rustam Totrov (Russia); Bronze – Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia); Bronze – Jimmy Lidberg (Sweden); 5th – Yunior Estrada Falcon (Cuba); 5th – Timofej Dzeynichenko (Belarus); 7th – Elis Guri (Bulgaria); 8th – Ardo Arusaar (Estonia); 9th – Hassine Ayari (Tunisia); 10th – Shalva Gadabadze (Azerbaijan)
UWW Rankings Series standings (for seeding)
1 Musa Evolev (Russia)
2 Kiril Milenov Milov (Bulgaria)
3 G’Angelo Hancock (USA)
4 Mahdi Abbas Aliyarifeizbdi (Iran)
5 Mihail Kajala (Serbia)
6 Luillys Jose Perez Mora (Venezuela)
7 Faith Baskoy (Turkey)
8 Balazs Kiss (Hungary)
9 Nikoloz Kakhelashvli (Italy)
10 Jahongir Turdiev (Uzbekistan)