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Velikov vs. Kudukhov is the new “Bout of the Week” on USA Wrestling Audio/Video website



USA Wrestling has updated its new "Bout of the Week" which has been posted as a video file on-line on TheMat.com Audio/Video website .

The featured match this week is the 2006 Radoslav Velikov vs. Besik Kudukhov gold medal finals at 55 kg/121 lbs. in men's freestyle nat the World Wrestling Championships in Guangzhou, China.

This match featured two of the best young wrestlers in the world. Velikov, who competes for Bulgaria, was the returning World silver medalist at the weight class. Kudukhov, a Junior World champion, was competing at his first World-level event on the Senior level.

Velikov came to Guangzhou as a proven international star. He came up through the international age-group competitions, wrestling on the Bulgarian team at European and World competitions as a Cadet and a Junior. However, in his major age-group events, Velikov had never been able to win a medal. His best World finish as a Junior was sixth at the 2001 Junior World Championships.

In 2004, Velikov established himself at the Senior level. He competed at an Olympic qualification tournament, claiming fourth place, and helping his country qualify for a spot at the 2004 Olympic Games. Bulgaria chose Velikov to compete in the 2004 Athens Olympics, and he placed a respectable ninth at 55 kg in his first World-level event.

The next year, Velikov made his step into prominence. He was second at the 2005 European Championships, then won the World silver medal at his division in Budapest, Hungary. He was defeated in the gold-medal finals by veteran Dilshod Mansurov of Uzbekistan, a two-time World champion.

Kudukhov rose quickly in the World standings, also making his first news on the age-group levels. In 2003, he won the European Cadet Championships. He followed that up with a gold medal at the 2005 Junior World Championships.

American fans got to know Kudukhov in his rivalry with young American star Henry Cejudo. Kudukhov beat Cejudo at the Junior World meet, and Cejudo returned the favor at the 2005 New York AC International Open. Kudukhov also beat Cejudo when they met in an international meet over in Russia.

Coming into the 2006 World meet in Guangzhou, Velikov came in with a silver medal at the Golden Grand Prix finals in Uzbekistan, while Kudukhov was a silver medalist at the European Championships in Sari, Iran.

Both of these athletes worked their way through the field in China with precision, and both had to beat former World champions to make the finals.

Velikov's early victims were Yi Quin of China, Nam O Song of North Korea and Adkham Achilov of Uzbekistan. In the semifinals, he drew 1998 World champion Sammie Henson of the United States, who he defeated 4-0, 7-1.

Kudukhov started with wins over Khang Pham Duc of Vietnam, Kumar Vinod of India and Kim Hyo Sub of Korea. In his semifinal victory, he stopped 2000 Olympic champion Namig Abdullaev of Azerbaijan.

In the finals at Guangzhou, it was Velikov who had the edge over Kudukhov, in an active and entertaining championship bout. You can expect both of these stars to be making more news in the years ahead.

This popular feature will be changed on a regular basis, allowing members to enjoy many of the greatest matches in wrestling history. Posted in the archive section of the Members Only web page was the Bill Zadick vs. Otari Tushishvili gold medal match at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. in men's freestyle at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Many other entertaining and historic matches are in the archive section for the Bout of the Week.
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