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Batirov vs. Dutt 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 Mavlet Batirov vs. Yogeshwar Dutt bronze medal match at 55 kg/121 lbs. in men's freestyle at the World Wrestling Championships in Guangzhou, China.

Once an athlete is an Olympic champion in wrestling, he becomes a target for all of his competitors for the rest of his competitive career. Winning that gold medal is an amazing achievement, reserved only for a rare few special athletes. Staying on top after winning the Olympics becomes a whole new challenge, especially for a young star.

Mavlet Batirov of Russia reached the pinnacle of the sport in 2004, when he won the Olympic gold medal at 55 kg/121 lbs. in Athens, Greece. He defeated U.S. star Stephen Abas in the gold-medal match, with a dominant performance. Just 20 years old at the time, Batirov quickly became a star.

He is one of a pair of talented brothers, joined on Russia's national team by his younger brother Adam, who was a 2004 European silver medalist. The brothers compete in the same weight class. Both started their careers at 55 kg/121 lbs., and now both have moved up and wrestle at 60 kg/132 lbs.

Mavlet came up through the age-group programs, winning a silver medal at the Junior World Championships in 2001 and a gold medal at the Junior European Championships in 2002. His first Senior level achievement came in 2003, when he competed in the World Championships in New York City, placing 14th. He was defeated by American Abas in that tournament in an early round match.

Although his brother Adam competed at the European Championships in 2004, it was Mavlet who was selected to wrestle at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Wrestling with skill and passion, the young star tore through the field to capture the gold at 55 kg/121 lbs. in Athens, one of three Russian champions, along with Buvaisa Saitiev and Khadjimurad Gatsalov.

The next season, Batirov made the move up to 60 kg/132 lbs., facing a new set of talents within Russia for his spot on the team. Russia decided to go with Alan Dudaev at the 2005 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, and the move worked out well. Dudaev won the gold medal, one of four individual champions for Russia in the tournament.

Batirov's next major appearance for Russia was at the 2006 European Championships, where he won the gold medal. Dudaev had moved up in weight to 66 kg/145.5 lbs., and the weight class was claimed by Mavlet Batirov. He was Russia's entry for the 2006 World Championships in Guangzhou, China.

Batirov got onto a roll in Guangzhou, opening up the tournament with wins over Eerbol Isyaev of Kazakhstan and Tevfik Odabasi of Turkey. In the quarterfinals, he defeated 2004 Olympic champion Yandro Quintana of Cuba, the man that Dudaev beat in the 2005 World finals.

His semifinal opponent was Mike Zadick of the United States, who was competing in his first World Championships. The hard-driving Zadick edged Batirov in a tight 1-0, 1-0 decision, putting the Olympic champion Batirov back into the wrestlebacks.

Coming through the wrestlebacks to face Batirov in the bronze-medal match was Yogeshwar Dutt of India, a 23-year old who has gradually emerged on the international level. Dutt was a 1999 Cadet World champion for India, and later added an Asian Junior championship in 2002. His first major Senior-level events were the Olympic Qualification tournaments in 2004, and Dutt won a gold medal at one of them, helping qualify his nation for the Olympic Games at 55 kg. Dutt was in the field at the Athens Olympic Games. Dutt was in a pool which featured 2000 Olympic champion Namig Abdullayev of Azerbaijan and eventual bronze medalist Chikaba Tanabe of Japan, and he was eliminated.

Like Batirov, Dutt moved up to 60 kg in 2005. Dutt won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Championships and was fifth at the 2005 Asian Championships, but did not attend the World Championships. His appearance at the 2006 World Championships in Guangzhou gave Dutt his first chance at a World-level medal.

Dutt won his first two bouts in China, stipping Anatoli Guidea of Bulgaria and Chol Ko Jong of North Korea. In the quarterfinals, he was defeated by Zadick, 2-0, 1-0. When Zadick made the finals with his win over Batirov, Dutt was pulled back into the wrestleback rounds. A victory over Alexander Karnitski of Belarus placed Dutt into the bronze-medal round against Batirov.

Would the Olympic champion, fresh off an upset loss in the semifinals, bounce back to win the bronze? Or would the talented emerging athlete from an unheralded wrestling nation break through to win his first medal? Batirov's victory over Dutt gave him his first World Championships medal, a bronze to go alongside his Olympic gold.

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 2006 Sammie Henson vs. Adcham Achilov bronze medal match at 55 kg/121 lbs. in men's freestyle at the World Wrestling Championships in Guangzhou, China. Many other entertaining and historic matches are in the archive section for the Bout of the Week.

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