LIVE BLOG: European C'ships (Day Two)

By Eric Olanowski

WARSAW, Poland (April 20) --- We're live from Warsaw, Poland with the second day of freestyle action. 

Tuesday's Schedule:
11:30 - Qualification round
16: 45 - Semifinals
18:00 - Finals

WATCH: European Championships 

Returning freestyle champs in action Tuesday:
74kg - Frank CHAMIZO MARQUEZ (ITA) (Lost in 1/8 final)
86kg - Artur NAIFONOV (RUS) (Made it to the 86kg finals)
125kg - Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) (Lost in qualification round)

17:45: That's a wrap for the semifinal session. The medal matches kick off at 18:00 (local time). We'll see you back here in 15 minutes, wrestling fans. 

17:26: What a thriller! Sandro AMINASHVILI (GEO) scored a takedown with 8 seconds left to upset Ali SHABANAU (BLR), 3-2. 

17:17: For a second consecutive match, Tajmuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK) erased a five-point deficit. In the quarterfinals, he upset '18 world silver medalist Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO), then just shocked Razambek ZHAMALOV (RUS), 6-5. In addition to those two wins, he also scored a massive win over two-time world champion Frank CHAMIZO (ITA). 

Semifinal Results:
GOLD - Andrii DZHELEP (UKR) vs. Abasgadzhi MAGOMEDOV (RUS)
SEMIFINAL - Abasgadzhi MAGOMEDOV (RUS) df. Eduard GRIGOREV (POL), 4-2

GOLD - Tajmuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK) vs. Miroslav Stefanov KIROV (BUL)
SEMIFINAL - Miroslav Stefanov KIROV (BUL) df. Valentin BORZIN (MDA), 5-0



GOLD - Taha AKGUL (TUR) vs. Sergei KOZYREV (RUS)

SEMIFINAL - Sergei KOZYREV (RUS) df. Daniel LIGETI (HUN), 10-0

14: 50: The freestyle semifinals are set! We'll take a break until 16:45 and come back for the start of semifinal action. Then, we'll roll right into the Day 2 finals, which are expected to start at 18:00. 

14:33: What a comeback! Salkazanov erased a five-point deficit against Kentchazde and moved into the 74kg semifinals. 

14:19: Individual World Cup champion Razambek ZHAMALOV (RUS) is coming up in two matches on Mat C.

14:10: Can Salkazanov keep his hot streak alive? He's coming off a massive win over two-time world champion Frank Chamizo and will take on '18 world silver medalist Avtandil Kentchazde next on Mat A. 

13:53: Had to take a short break to get some photos up on Instagram, but we're back at it again. The quarterfinals are underway on Mat A & B. Mat C has two more 1/8 final matches and then will roll right into the quarterfinals. 

13:32: That was short-lived! Naifonov scored nine unanswered points and moved into the quarterfinals with a 10-2 win over Magmedsaidov. 

13:27: There's an upset brewing over on Mat B. Gadzhimurad MAGOMEDSAIDOV (AZE) leads two-time European champion Artur NAIFONOV (RUS), 2-1, with short time left in the first period. 

13:14: Tajmuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK) ends Chamizo's bid for a third straight European title. The Slovakian trailed 2-2 with 15 seconds left when he scored a takedown and a left-sided trap arm gut wrench to win, 6-2.

13:11: We have a close one going on on Mat B. Frank Chamizo trailed Tajmuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK) but scored a takedown and leads 2-2 on criteria.

13:08: One of the three returning European champions that are in action today, Artur NAIFONOV (RUS), is coming up next on Mat B.

12:59: In his Serbian debut, Hetik CABOLOV (SRB) (formally known as Khetig TSABOLOV (RUS)) falls to world runner-up Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO), 10-7. Cabolov, the '14 world champion and '17 world runner-up, transferred after falling to Razambek ZHAMALOV (RUS) in the '20 Russian National finals. 

12:53: '19 world champion Beka LOMTADZE (GEO) is coming up on shortly on Mat A. 

12:48: Four-time world medalist Ali SHABANAU (BLR) will take on Dzhemal ALI (BUL) in two matches on Mat A. 

12:42: Gocen upsets world bronze medlaist Reichmuth, 5-4, and moves into the 86kg 1/8 round. 

12:34: Swiss Olympian Stefan REICHMUTH (SUI) is taking on Osman GOCEN (TUR) on Mat B.

12:30:  Daniel SARTAKOV (GER) found himself on the inactivity clock twice. On two separate occasions, he was in deep on a single let against Chamizo but was unable to finish. The Italian moves on with a 4-0 win. 

12:26: Two-time world champion Frank Chamizo is wrestling now on Mat B.

12:14: It's going to take some time to get my feet back under me! I was so excited for that match that I lost focus on what else was going on! 

12:09: Akgul back peddles and gives up the one point for fleeing the hold. That doesn't matter to him as he still commanded the five-point advantage. The Olympic champ hung on to win, 6-1. 

12:08: Akgul stops another Petriashvili shot and leads 6-0. The reigning three-time world champion is starting to get frustrated.

12:07: Taha is on FIRE! He scored two first-period takedowns and heads into the second period leading 4-0. 

12:06: Geno and Taha are up on Mat A! 

11:54: We're still a while out, but Chamizo will be up in six matches on Mat B. He's the defending two-time European champion and is looking for his fifth overall continental gold.

11:30: All eyes will be on Mat A / Bout 70 as Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) and Taha AKGUL (TUR) will clash for what feels like the 100th time. Between the two, they've won every world or Olympic title since the ’14 World Championships and every continental gold medal since the ’12 European Championships.


Saravi Dominates #WrestleWarsaw to Claim Spot on Iran Olympic Team

By Vinay Siwach

WARSAW, Poland (June 13) --- After the 97kg Greco-Roman final, Mehdi BALIHAMZEHDEH (IRI) went up to the judge to seek answers. His actions were justified as he had not only lost the gold medal to compatriot Mohammadhadi SARAVI (IRI) but also the opportunity to represent Iran at the Tokyo Olympics.

Iran, treating the Poland Open as the selection trial for Tokyo Games, had entered the two and on Sunday, they dominated the field and reached the final. This was the last category that was undecided for Iran after three freestyle and one Greco-Roman class finalized in Warsaw.


Poland Open

They had to wait till the end of the day as it was the final bout and then more as both Iran wrestlers had mistakenly wore opposite singlets. 50 seconds into the bout they changed the singlets and resumed the bout. Saravi got the advantage of Balihamzehdeh being passive in the first period and he got an exposure to lead 3-0.

Balihamzehdeh was hoping that Saravi will be warned for inactivity as well but that did not happen as the latter kept on the pressure throughout the period. It ended 3-0 in favour of Saravi, completing the Iran team for the upcoming Games.

His gold medal also pushes him to third position in the Tokyo seeding as he collected 16 points. His total of 52 points takes him ahead of Cenk ILDEM (TUR) who is now out of the seeding.

Tadeusz MICHALIK (POL) finished fifth in Warsaw and collected 10 points for a total of 42 to edge past Ildem by a point.

There was no other major shuffle in the Olympic seedings for the weight classes that were in action on Sunday.

At 87kg, veteran Uzbek wrestler Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB) won a bronze medal to collect 12 points but that doesn't change his third position in the seedings.


The gold medal was captured but he upcoming star and two-time U23 world champion Semen NAVIKOV (UKR). In the final, he defeated Istvan TAKACS (HUN) 2-1 with all points scored on referees call.

Takacs had earlier stopped Rio Olympic bronze medalist Assakalov's run in the tournament with a 2-1 win in the semifinal. The Uzbek then came back in the bronze medal bout against Arkadiusz KULYNYCZ (POL) with a big fall.

The next big thing in Ukrainian wrestling Navikov will not be at the Olympics as another star wrestler Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) is scheduled to wrestle in the Japanese capital city.

In the remaining three weight categories, hosts Poland captured two gold medals while the third went to Uzbekistan.

Michal TRACZ (POL) wrestled Ekrem OZTURK (TUR) in the 60kg final and held on for 3-2 win for his home country. In the nordic style bracket, he won two bouts to reach the semifinal in which he came out on top against Mukhammadkodir YUSUPOV (UZB) 3-2.

Ozturk had a back-and-forth semifinal against Olivier SKRZYPCZAK (POL) as the two scored 26 points in the stipulated six minutes. In the end, Ozturk won 15-11 to reach the final.

Gevorg SAHAKYAN (POL) won the second gold medal for Poland as he defeated Mirzobek RAKHMATOV (UZB) 4-3 in the 72kg final.

The Pole had some tough bouts throughout the day as he began with a 3-1 win against Krisztian VANCZA (HUN) 3-1 before pulling through a 1-1 win against compatriot Roman PACURKOWSKI (POL).

From the other side, Rakhmatov defeated Juan AAK (NOR) 9-0 in the qualification before clinching a 7-0 win over Mateusz BERNATEK (POL) in the quarterfinal. He had a tough one against Cengiz ARSLAN (TUR) in the semifinal but managed to pull off 5-4.

Uzbekistan did get it's gold medal on Sunday as five-time ranking series finalist Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) managed to hang on and defeat Ayata SUZUKI (JPN) 5-3 in the 63kg final. Suzuki was awarded a point for Bakhramov's passivity and he later got an exposure from par terre to lead 3-0. But Bakhramov reversed it and completed a head-pinch to make it 3-2.

In the second period, he got the point for Suzuki's inactivity and then exposed him from the par terre position to lead 5-3. The Japanese did try quite a few arm throws but failed to get any points.

From Japan, world champion Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) was also scheduled to make the Poland trip but pulled out at the last moment due to unforeseen circumstances. Fumita has now not competed internationally since winning the gold medal at the Asian Championships in New Delhi in February, 2020.

Poland Open 63kg


GOLD: Michal TRACZ (POL) df Ekrem OZTURK (TUR), 3-2
BRONZE: Mukhammadkodir YUSUPOV (UZB) df Olivier SKRZYPCZAK (POL), 10-2

GOLD: Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) df. Ayata SUZUKI (JPN), 5-3
BRONZE: Christopher KRAEMER (GER) df. Artor HAGERUP (NOR), via fall
BRONZE: Krisztian KECSKEMETI (HUN) df. Mairbek SALIMOV (POL), 4-0

GOLD: Gevorg SAHAKYAN (POL) df. Mirzobek RAKHMATOV (UZB), 4-3
BRONZE: Cengiz ARSLAN (TUR) df. Juan AAK (NOR), 2-1
BRONZE: Krisztian VANCZA (HUN) df. Roman PACURKOWSKI (POL), 3-1

GOLD: Semen NOVIKOV (UKR) df. Istvan TAKACS (HUN), 2-1
BRONZE: Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB) df. Arkadiusz KULYNYCZ (POL), via fall
BRONZE: Metehan BASAR (TUR) df. Bachir SID AZARA (ALG), 1-1

GOLD: Mohammadhadi SARAVI (IRI) df. Mehdi BALIHAMZEHDEH (IRI), 3-0
BRONZE: Islam ABBASOV (AZE) df. Gerard Cyprian KURNICZAK (POL), 4-0