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Match of the Day: USA! USA! Jim Scherr beats Khadartsev in 1989 World Cup

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | July 04, 2020, 1:53 p.m. (ET)

In recognition of the Independence Day holiday on July 4, we think of great U.S. wrestling victories over legendary international opponents over the years.

This July 4, we bring you a memorable U.S. victory in 1989 at the World Cup in Toledo, Ohio. Let's set the stage. Toledo is where the World Cup was created, bringing the best men's freestyle teams in the world together for dual meet competition. No city hosted the World Cup more often than Toledo. This was an annual highlight of the wrestling year. The dominant team in most World Cups was the Soviet Union, who brought their best stars and had much success defeating its main rival, the United States of America.

The 1989 U.S. World Cup team was strong. A key battle in the championship dual came at 198 pounds (90 kg), where Soviet superstar Makharbek Khadartsev faced U.S. talent Jim Scherr. For the USA to win the dual, this match was a key.

Khadartsev was the 1988 Olympic champion and also had won the 1986 and 1987 Senior World Championships. Scherr won two Senior World medals, a bronze in 1986 and a silver in 1987, where he lost to Khadartsev in the finals. Scherr and Khadartsev had battled in the past, in close matches which were won by the Soviet star.

If you haven't seen this match, you need to. You see two great wrestlers in action, and can sense the excitement of the crowd. The final seconds of the bout are truly amazing and inspiring. You might find yourself chanting USA! USA! and waving the American flag while watching it.