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Burroughs, Oliver, Pirozhkova lead Team USA during exciting United 4 Wrestling event in Los Angeles
Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs celebrates his win in the United 4 Wrestling event on Sunday in Los Angeles. Tony Rotundo photo.
LOS ANGELES – An incredible day for wrestling was capped by an amazing performance from arguably the best pound-for-pound wrestler on the planet.
Olympic and World champion Jordan Burroughs put his immense talents on full display to put an exclamation point on the United 4 Wrestling event on Sunday afternoon before a boisterous crowd of 3,500 fans at the L.A. Sports Arena.
The powerful, dynamic Burroughs put on a clinic in dismantling Russia’s Saba Khubetzhty 14-3 in the day’s final freestyle match at 74 kg/163 lbs.
Burroughs came out firing with his lethal double-leg attacks and finished off the Russian with a series of leg laces as the crowd stood and cheered. He finished the match by technical fall with 32 seconds left in the first period.
“I was really amped,” Burroughs said. “I had a great time. I wrestled that guy on Wednesday in New York City and I didn’t do as well as I would’ve liked. I knew the crowd was into it. I just wanted to come out here and put on a good show. I hope the people liked it.”
Burroughs is now 54-0 on the Senior level and 1-0 under the new FILA rules which were implemented for the first time after being changed on Friday. Matches now consist of two three-minute periods with cumulative scoring. Burroughs now scores two points for a takedown instead of one under the new rules. Once a wrestler leads by 10 points they win by technical fall.
The event, featuring strong teams from the U.S., Russia and Canada, was held to support the fight to keep wrestling in the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee Executive Board recommended in February that wrestling be removed as a core sport beginning in 2020.
The U.S. men’s and women’s teams went a combined 7-4 in the dual.
Past Junior World medalist Jordan Oliver also turned in a superb performance, registering two impressive wins at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Oliver, just coming off his second NCAA title, powered in on a double-leg attack for a takedown late in the match to upend Russia’s Magomed Kurbanliev 7-6 in the dual’s first bout. Oliver then knocked off Olympian Haislan Garcia of Canada 5-2 in his second bout of the day.
“This was incredible,” Oliver said of the event. “It’s one of the biggest stages in wrestling. It was just an honor to come out and wrestle in such an event. We’re all here for a beautiful thing. It’s a good cause, and just pushing for that 2020 dream.”
Garcia earlier defeated Russia’s Soslan Ramonov 6-3.
Past World champion Elena Pirozhkova earned a gritty 4-2 win over past Junior World champion Danielle Lappage in women’s freestyle at 63 kg/138.75 lbs.
“This sport means a lot,” Pirozhkova said. “It’s really exciting to be a part of it. It means a lot to all of the wrestling countries. The environment here is amazing. I’m just blessed to be a part of it. There’s no way I’d miss out on this.
“Wrestling is the fastest growing sport for women in the country and this event was really important. If you promote women’s wrestling for the Olympics, you just have that many more competitors who are able to wrestle in the Olympics.”
World No.1 ranked Opan Sat of Russia won the much-anticipated battle with Olympic bronze medalist Coleman Scott at 60 kg/132 lbs. Sat finished strong in a 6-2 victory over Scott. Sat went 2-0 on the day.
The U.S. also received wins from men’s freestyle wrestlers Jon Reader (84 kg/185 lbs.) and Chris Pendleton (96 kg/211.5 lbs.), who both dominated opponents from Canada.
U.S. Open champion Brittney Roberts looked strong in downing Canada’s Justina DiStasio 7-2 at 72 kg/158.5 lbs.
“It was a lot of fun,” Roberts said. “We need to show the world what wrestling really is and put on a good show. I’m just totally stoked about the opportunity. It’s a great honor to be able to promote Olympic wrestling. When you go to a college tournament, you get family and friends out to watch. Here, it’s all the die-hard wrestling fans. And then you see people like Billy Baldwin and Buzz Aldrin. It’s so great.”
The Canadian women’s team received wins from Jasmine Mian and Genevieve Haley.
Russia’s Artas Sanaa downed Olympian Sam Hazewinkel 5-2 at 55 kg/121 lbs.
The event on Sunday capped a phenomenal week of international wrestling, following a successful Beat the Streets Rumble on the Rails dual on Wednesday at New York City’s Grand Central Station.
The event featured appearances by numerous celebrities and Olympic champions in L.A.
Actors Billy Baldwin and Tom Arnold appeared at the event along with Mixed Martial Arts stars Randy Couture, Chael Sonnen, Urijah Faber and Daniel Cormier.
Olympic gold medalists at the event included Burroughs, Dan Gable, John Smith, Bruce Baumgartner, Henry Cejudo, Tom Brands and Brandon Slay. Past World champion and Super Bowl champion Stephen Neal also spoke to the crowd along with World champions Clarissa Chun and Adeline Gray.
“I thought it was a lot better here, and the crowd was younger,” Burroughs said of the L.A. event. “It was awesome. It was electric. It’s cool to be a part of this. California is a very powerful state in wrestling. A lot of great wrestlers come from this area. A lot of important people in wrestling come from this area. It’s interesting. It always surprises me when I wrestle around the country to see that there are just as many wrestling fans, and fans of mine, from one place to the next.”
UNITED 4 WRESTLING
Sunday, May 19, L.A. Sports Arena, Los Angeles, Calif.
SENIOR FREESTYLE RESULTS
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Jordan Oliver (USA) dec. Magomed Kurbanliev (Russia), 7-6
60 kg/132 lbs. – Opan Sat (Russia) dec. John Pineda (Canada), 10-0
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Haislan Garcia (Canada) dec. Soslan Ramonov (Russia), 6-3
84 kg/185 lbs. – Jon Reader (USA) dec. Tamerlin Tagziev (Canada), 12-2
55 kg/121 lbs. – Artas Sanaa (Russia) dec. Sam Hazewinkel (USA), 5-2
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Chris Pendleton (USA) dec. Manjot Sandhu (Canada), 11-0
48 kg/105.5 lbs. – Jasmine Mian (Canada) dec. Victoria Anthony (USA), 4-2
51 kg/112.25 lbs. – Genevieve Haley (Canada) dec. Jessica Medina (USA), 11-5
63 kg/138.75 lbs. – Elena Pirozhkova (USA) dec. Danielle Lappage (Canada), 4-2
72 kg/158.5 lbs. – Brittney Roberts (USA) dec. Justina DiStasio (Canada), 7-2
60 kg/132 lbs. – Opan Sat (Russia) dec. Coleman Scott (USA), 6-2
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Jordan Oliver (USA) dec. Haislan Garcia (Canada), 5-2
74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs (USA) dec. Saba Khubetzhty (Russia), 14-3
60 lbs. – Patricia Arana pinned Viviana Garcia, 4:30
90 lbs. – Cade Olivas pinned Randon Miranda, 2:30
126 lbs. – Zander Wick dec. Jimmy Felix, 11-0
126 lbs. – Jaden Abas dec. Daniel Long, 6-4