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World championships: Discussion, prediction, preview thread

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I could maybe understand if this was 2015 and he was looking at focusing full bore on 2016 but I can't understand how not competing in the worlds 2 years out isn't going to help you for 2016. Unless he is focusing on getting bigger for 74kg. I don't know.

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just noticed that Kyrgyzstan isnt sending a team in any style to Uzebekistan. I assume that is mostly due to the current conflict between the two countries. its a shame, last year 6 Kyrgyz freestylers wrestled. 

 

i'm also wondering if the travel expense is keeping a lot of the south and central american teams away. next year should be much cheaper for western hemisphere teams, but then its half way around the world for all the asian countries. not much you can do about it i guess. 

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One thing that's interesting about the USA Team this year is that all of the new team members won the position by finishing ahead of the standing World Team members.  No one is filing the void left by retirement.  I know it's not the year following an Olympic year, but it's still good to see guys sticking around.  

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65KG, USA: I will start by saying I a a huge Brent Metcalf fan, have been since day 1. I don't think there is a wrestler out there that I want to see take home a medal more than Metcalf. I'd really like to see that medal be a gold one, but any medal for now would be great. I've always loved his passion and intensity and I am so glad he decided to stick around for another cycle. I read some posts where peoplle say "old man Metcalf" which I think is funny since he's like a year older than Burroughs and we say Burroughs is in his prime. Metcalf's mentor Tom Brands won Olympic gold at 28, and Terry won Olympic bronze at 32, I don't see any reason Metcalf can't medal this cycle.

 

Some point to his previous 2 trips to worlds as evidence he can't or won't get it done at this level. I totally disagree. First off I think he's 10 times the wrestler he was back in '10, and last year he caught a 2x world champ first round. Gadisov from Russia has yet to win a world or Olympic medal in the same number of trips as Metcalf and yet people consider him one of the best pound for pound on the planet and say it's not a matter of if but a matter of when he medals. I say Metcalf is in the same boat. He has beaten last years bronze medalist, he has made the finals of the Yargin, won the Golden Grand Prix, looked great at the World Cup, has greatly improved his freestyle game so much. Maybe I'm picking with my heart over my head but I say Metcalf medals, with a real shot at gold.

 

The field: I'm going to start with who isn't here. Where is Asgarov? What an incredible talent, burst onto the scene as an 18 year old, makes the world finals in '10, takes '11 off probably to bulk up to 60, then he's an Olympic champ at 60. He was off last year, I figured he was bulking up to 66 (65 now) and thought we'd see him, especially with Hasanov moving up. I guess he got beat at Euro's and aside from that hasn't wrestled much. He is the wrestler I was most worried about as far as a matchup goes with Metcalf.

 

For quite a few years this was considered the deepest and toughest weight in the world. It is still deep and tough but a lot of familiar names have moved up, moved on or just aren't around (Asgarov). 2x champ Taghavi is done, champ and Olympic silver medalist Kumar is reportedly moving up, Olympic champ and multiple time medalist from Japan is done, 2x medalist Hasanov is moving up, last years silver medalist Lopez moved up. I'm expecting 3 or 4 of this years medals to go to first time medal winners.

 

Last years champ from Armenia has been less than spectacular this year. I won't call winning a world title a fluke, but I will say maybe he just caught lightning in a bottle last year, had the day of his life and probably won't win it again this year. Lopez from Cuba won silver and we know he moved up. Kurbanilev from Russia won bronze and was ranked 1st in FILA rankings, but he was beat out by Romanov. Romanov is ranked pretty high too and a lot of people are picking him to win it all. If he doesn't win it I'd say he's a safe bet to medal. The other bronze was Ganzorig from Mongolia, he should be a medal threat again.

 

There are a few familiar names to American collegiate fans, Boris Novachkov representing Bulgaria and Franklin Gomez for Puerto Rico moving up from 60 where he was a 2011 silver medalist. Canada's Haslan Garcia is tough as nails, he and Metcalf have developed a nice little rivalry and I believe they are 2-2 all time. Iran's rep is not Taghavi for the first time in a while, it's Seyed Mohammadi. I'm not familiar with his resume but I know he is very good and a definite medal threat. Azerbijian's Muslimov had a 6-0 lead on Metcalf in the GGP finals and he looks pretty tough too. Japan's entry is the kid Pico beat 6-5 at junior worlds and it will be interesting to see how he does at this level too.

Edited by MA_Wrestler

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70KG, USA: Nick Marable mans this weight for us. Like Kennedy, he was never a national champ in college and not nearly as high profile a name as many out there. Like Kennedy he has stuck around this level for a while and really taking his game to another level. I just assumed he would be the 4th or 5th guy on the ladder at 74, but low and behold this new weight comes along and Marable is the man. I wasn't sure he could make a hold this weight, but he hasn't seemed to have any trouble.

 

Marable is a house at this weight. He is next to impossible to score on, he has a great personal coach in Sammie Henson, and oh yea, he's the only man breathing that can say he beat Jordan Burroughs! I don't care who is in the field at 70, if you can beat Burroughs you can beat anyone. Marable is definitely a medal threat and definitely a gold threat.

 

The field: I can't say I'm familiar with many names here, even fewer than I was at 61. The first thing that comes to my mind at this weight is who is not in it. It's seems a couple superstars at 66 outgrew the weight, so I would have thought 70 would be the perfect weight for them. Instead they all seem to be going to 74. Guys like Hasanov, Lopez and maybe even Sushil Kumar have gone from 66 to 74. I would think all those guys would have a shot to win a title at 70, they wouldn't be giving up as much size and they wouldn't have Burroughs to contend with. Maybe it's because 70 isn't an Olympic weight and they have their sights on the larger prize?

 

I know the Iranian is ranked first and is a big favorite here. I also know he had a close 1-0 win over Marable. The Russian here is good too. It sounds like a broken record to say the Russian and Iranian are two of the top contenders in a weight, but it's usually true. The Russian here is pretty good. Azerbijian has a guy ranked 2nd but they are sending their guy ranked 15th. Armenia and Turkey have a couple highly ranked guys. Shabanov from Belarus is one name that definitely rings a bell, I think he gave Burroughs a relatively tough go and I believe was a medalist at 74 last year. I would consider him one of the favorites with Iran and USA.

Edited by MA_Wrestler

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74KG, USA: What else is there to say about Jordan Burroughs that hasn't been said a thousand times? What he has done is truly remarkable. In an era when most Americans who strike gold tend to go one and done, Burroughs seems to have changed the trend. Winning a gold medal didn't satisfy him, it made him want more. Not only does he have off the charts talent, but he has all the mental aspects required to be great. He has the intelligence, the desire and willingness to keep improving, the hunger to keep competing, the mental toughness to pull out close match after close match, etc etc. A guy I used to coach with once said how rare it is to find the combination all all the elements required to be really successful in one human being, and Burroughs has them all. Guys like this don't come around very often and we should all be enjoying every minute of it.

 

Obviously Burroughs is the 3x defending champ and is the favorite to win again. The nice thing about Burroughs is that after his upset loss to Marable he seems to have used it as motivate to get even better. Like he wasn't dominating before, now he's pinning guys left and right at the World Cup! Last year he wins this thing on a bum ankle, this year he is healthy and extra motivated, good luck world!

 

The field: Some people have said this weight isn't that strong when comparing pound-for-pound rankings. I disagree, I think there have been some outstanding wrestlers in this weight, they just can't touch Burroughs. Denis Tsargush is obviously the most decorated wrestler in the field. The Russian is a 2x champ himself before Burroughs came along, as well as an Olympic bronze medalist. He lost to Burroughs in razor thin matches in '11 and '12, seemed to take a few steps back for a while but looks to have regained form by winning Russian nationals. He is the only wrestler I see as a real threat to Burroughs simply for the fact that he has wrestled him close before, the Russians are crafty and well coached and will have a plan to try and stop Burroughs run.

 

Last years silver medalist was a young guy from Iran. Iran has a new representative in Azari. Ranked 3rd in FILA and beating out a silver medalist he is a top medal contender. Of the bronze medals last year, Shabanov has dropped to 70 but Kurbanov from Uzbekistan is back as one of the top dogs at this weight. Hasanov from Azerbijian is ranked 2nd (tho I think that is a little high), the 2x bronze medalist at 66 may be a bit undersized here, not a threat to Burroughs but a medal threat for sure. Turkey's Demitras is ranked pretty high. Lopez from Cuba won silver at 66 last year, got completely do instead by Burroughs at PanAm but I still see him as a medal threat as well. Overall a talented weight, lots of guys with potential to get on the podium but I only see 1 real threat to Burroughs and that's Tsargush.

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I think the Armenian at 65 had 3 last second wins in last years worlds . No fluke- he was one if the favorites going in- but everything went right for him.

 

I'm shocked how many guys would rather face Burroughs and Tsargush than drop to 70. It's bizarre. I just hope Tsargush is in top form. I've mad fun of the guys style for years, but instil don't want to see him go out early.

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When the Olympics forced wrestling to cut back to six weights in men's freestyle and Greco, there were lots of fans (me included) who advocated for the "non Olympic" weight classes to continue to be contested in off-Olympic years. I still think that's the right thing to do, but it seems as if at least some wrestlers don't feel the same way?

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A lot of people want to stay comfortable at 74, since it is the Olympic weight.  Gonna have to wrestle Burroughs at the Olympics anyways, so.  4 kilos isn't chum weight to cut either when you're already cutting a lot.

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86KG, USA: Another of our newcomers, fresh out of college and making his first world team, Ed Ruth. We've literally seen this guy improves leaps and bounds between every competition. He looked good at the US Open but looked like he might still be a year away from beating the seasoned freestyle guys. Couple months later, he's winning the WTT. We all know how incredibly talented Ruth is, how athletically gifted he is and how great his training situation is, so obviously the sky is the limit. Like Ramos in the lower weights, Ruth in the upper weights couldn't ask for a better training situation with Cael as his mentor and workout partners like Varner, Taylor and more.

 

Ruth still needs to become more polished in freestyle. Things he could get away with in folkstyle he can't do in freestyle. These guys will expose any little mistake he makes if he's not careful. I really don't know what to expect from Ruth but Jo result would surprise me. I could see him being 1-and-done and I could see him making the finals. The draw could play a part in it but I expect to see him let it fly right from the first whistle. Whatever happens, it will be exciting to watch.

 

The field: This is a wide open and talented field. According to the entry list Aldatov will not be in the field this year so we will have a new champ this year. Sadulaev looks like the guy to beat. He looks like he could be the next big Russian superstar. He's won everything this year and he certainly passes the eye test. Time will tell. Salas from Cuba won silver last year and would appear to be the top challenger. Salas is experienced, powerful and athletic, have to think he is a serious gold medal threat.

 

Vereb from Hungary won bronze last year and is back, should be a medal threat again. The other bronze went to Lashgari from Iran but he has been beaten out by Mohammadian. Would have to figure Mohammadian is a medal threat too. Georgia has Dato Maragishvili who if I remember correctly went into last years worlds ranked first in FILA rankings but had a disappointing tournament, I expect him to be looking to avenge last years disappointment. Gadirov from Belarus is another top ranked wrestler who had a good battle with Sadulaev. Bulgaria's Ganev was a silver medalist a few years ago I believe (medaled for sure, almost positive it was silver). We can't forget about Olympic runner up Espinal from Puerto Rico. Alex Dolly wrestled collegiately in the states and will be there representing Ireland.

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Gaidarov will be at 74.  The Iranian is a big dude.  Looks like a 97kger.  The double bronze makes a lot of people threats.  Get rid of it.

My mistake, I do see Gaidarov at 74, I also left off Hatos from Hungary at 74, two more serious medal threats.

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96KG, USA: It is great to see Jake Varner back at it again. I mentioned before how a lot of Americans win 1 and are no longer hungry to compete. It looked like Varner was in that boat too, but after taking some time off he decided to get back after it. I'm glad he is sticking around for another cycle, mainly because I don't think we have another legitimate international threat at this weight. Snyder will be. But he is a few years away, Varner can and should own this weight domestically thru the next Olympics. Varner looked impressive at the WTT, them he got manhandled by Gazyumov.

 

I really want to see Varner win a couple more medals, mostly to shut up all the clowns who call his Olympic gold a fluke or a lucky draw. They conveniently forget that he won bronze in '11 in what was considered the toughest weight in the tournament. Sure Yazdani was injured at the Olympics, but Gadisov and Gazyumov were perfectly healthy, and Jake came out on top, end of story. Varner is the 4th best in this weight right now, so he very well could win a medal. In a perfect world he won't end up with 2 of the big 3 on the same side of his bracket. He has also shown that he steps up at the big show, so who knows!

 

The field: I don't know how deep the weight is, but it's certainly top heavy. You have 2x champ Yazdani from Iran, the only wrestler who ever seems to be mentioned with Burroughs in the pound for pound discussions. Then you have 1x champ 5x medalist and last years runner up Gayzumov from Azerbijian. It's my understanding that they will seller ate returning finalist so those two will be on opposite sides. Gadisov is the Russian stud, probably the best wrestler in the world without a world medal. We know he passes all the eye tests, size, strength, speed, skill, and now he seems to have turned the corner mentally and maturity wise. If that's the case the field in this weight could be in trouble for some time to come. I know he has beaten Gayzumov and I'm not sure if he has beaten Yazdani or not?

 

In a perfect world, some combination of Yazdani, Gayzumov, Gadisov and Varner will meet in the semis. That probably won't happen, but my biggest hope is that 2 of them are on one side of the bracket and 2 on the other. I'd hate to see Varner vs Gadisov in the round of 16 with the winner getting Yazdani in the quarters.

 

Not to be forgotten in this weight is 2012 Olympic silver medalist Andritisev. Last year the Ukraine sent Olynik and he won bronze, so they have some depth here. I can't say I'm familiar with too many other names in this bracket. The big names in this weight should provide plenty of entertainment.

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130KG, USA: The elder statesmen of our team, Tervel Delagnev is on his 5th team in the last 6 years. A 2009 bronze medalist, and a loser in the bronze match the last 3. He has more wins over world and Olympic champions than just about anyone who is not a world champ himself. He's beaten everybody, he just can't seem to beat them all in the same tournament. It seems like when he gets over one tough hurdle, he hits another roadblock. In 2011 he beats the legend Taymazov, then loses to Shemarov from Belarus who goes on to be the world champ. At the Olympics he beats the defending champ, only to lose to Taymazov on his way to another title. Last year he beat Gatsalov prior to the worlds, then at worlds he finally beats Ghasemi from Iran whom I believe he was 0-3 against tat the time, but then he drops he next two to settle for 5th, again.

 

Dlagnev seems as good as ever, appears healthy and motivated to get over the top. He has great low level leg attacks and the new format is great for him. With the shot clock he doesn't have to worry about larger heavy's just blocking off and going to ball grabs. This weight has a lot of talent domestically and Dlagnev still looks dominant here. Aside from Metcalf, Dlagnev is the next wrestler I'm rooting hard for to ring home a medal, hopefully gold!

 

The field: Looking at the entry list here, this is a deeper weight than I realized. First we have the returning champ and Russian legend Gatsalov. Gatsalov was a 5x champ at 96, couldn't make the Russian team at 96 so he bumps up to heavy, and all he does is win another world title, incredible. However he isn't getting any younger and he does give up size so repeating won't be easy. A lot of people think the top contender is bronze medalist from Turkey Akgul. I believe Akgul is ranked first by FILA. The silver and other bronze medal went to very young wrestlers from Ukraine and Georgia, and the entry list has 2 different wrestler from those countries entered. Sakandelidze from Georgia and Khoysianivski from the Ukraine, these two met in the finals of the Golden Grand Prix (sorry, forgot who won), both these guys have to be considered threats since they beat out reigning medalist to make the team.

 

Iran lists Hadi on the entry list but it's been posted on here that they are actually sending 2x medalist Ghasemi. Either is a top contender. 2011 world champ Shemanov from Belarus is competing and should be considered a threat to medal. If I'm not mistaken, the Greek entry Arzoumanidis beat Dlagnev for bronze one year, so there's yet another past medalist to watch out for. Not a past medalist but Kurbanov from Uzbekistan is the home town boy, competing in his back yard and carrying the heavyweight torch passed on from the legend Taymazov. Azerbijian's Magomedov is ranked somewhere by FILA, top 10 maybe? Heavy is the only weight I haven't seen Azerbijian win a medal in. I'm surprised they don't try moving Gayzumov up to 130 so they can get 2x champ Sharifov in at 97. Anyway this weight seems to have depth and parity, it will be all about who is most well prepared and firing on all cylinders when it's go time!

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