The U.S. team poses with its medals at the conclusion of the CISM World Military Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.
John Stefanowicz

The U.S. team poses with its medals at the conclusion of the CISM World Military Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.


SPC Roberts, SPC Sancho and GySgt Stefanowicz secure bronze at CISM World Military Championships

by Richard Immel, USA Wrestling

BAKU, Azerbaijan – The U.S. concluded its trip to the 2023 CISM World Military Championships with bronze medal efforts in the Greco-Roman discipline from 2020 Olympians Alejandro Sancho and John Stefanowicz, and two-time U.S. World Team member Dalton Roberts.

Sancho was impressive in a 3-1 outing at 67 kg with wins over Julius Adekunle of Nigeria, Hutter Dorien of Switzerland and Steve Momilia of Italy. All three of his victories came by way of technical fall where he outscored his opponents 29-1 combined. Sancho’s lone defeat came in the semifinals to Ali Chobakzan of Iran, 6-1.

In addition to finishing in 10th place at the Tokyo Olympics, Sancho has represented the U.S. at the previous two Senior World Championships.

Up at 87 kg, Stefanowicz battled to a 2-1 record with decision wins against seasoned competitors—two-time Asian silver medalist Dias Kalen of Kazakhstan and Mirco Minguzzi, who has represented Italy at the last two Senior World Championships. He dropped a hard-fought 6-1 contest to reigning Asian champion Naser Alizadeh of Iran in the semifinals.

Stefanowicz made a return to the mat in 2023 after taking two years off post-Tokyo. He posted a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open and a third-place performance at the Senior World Team Trials Challenge Tournament this season. The Marine is a two-time Pan-American gold medalist for the U.S. and was on the Senior World Team in 2019.

Rounding out the U.S. Greco-Roman medalists is Roberts, who went 2-2 in a stacked 60 kg field on Saturday. He opened 1-1 in pool play with a win by disqualification over two-time World bronze medalist Aidos Sultangali Kazakhstan and an 8-0 loss to eventual silver medalist Milad Reza Nejad of Iran. Three-time age-group World medalist Nihad Guluzade of Azerbaijan took a five-point win over Roberts in the semifinal round. The American bounced back with a gritty 6-3 decision over three-time age-group World medalist Nihad Guluzade of Azerbaijan to cement bronze.

Roberts represented the U.S. at the 2021 and 2018 Senior World Championships. He was a Pan American champion, U.S. Open champion and Final X runner-up in 2023.

Stefanowicz holds the rank of Gunnery Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He is currently a Professor of Physical Sciences at the U.S. Naval Academy and a U.S. Marines Corps Senior Combatives Instructor. Sancho and Roberts hold the rank of Specialist in the U.S. Army.  

U.S. Army Specialist Britton Holmes was the fourth and final Greco-Roman entrant for the U.S. crew, going 2-2 to finish in fifth place at 77 kg. His wins included a 9-0 technical fall over Fazli Eryilmaz of Turkey, a World bronze medalist in freestyle, and a pin against Amro Abed Alfattah Jamal Sadeh of Jordan.

The U.S. finished with five medalists at the 2023 CISM World Military Championships, an impressive feat with only six wrestlers entered in the field. In addition to the trio of Greco-Roman medalists, PFC Tristan Kelly and SSG Morgan McIntosh of the U.S. Army earned gold medals on the freestyle side.

2023 CISM World Military Championships

At Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 1

Greco-Roman results

Team Ranking

1. Iran, 185

2. Azerbaijan, 183

3. Russia, 125

4. Turkey, 124

5. Algeria, 69

T-6. Italy, 55

T-6. United States, 55

8. Kazakhstan, 49

9. Romania, 38

10. Switzerland, 33

55 kg

Gold – Amangali Bekbolatov (Kazakhstan)

Silver – Ali Ahmadi Vafa (Iran)

Bronze – Farid Sadikhli (Azerbaijan)

60 kg

Gold – Nihad Guluzade (Azerbaijan)

Silver – Milad Reza Nejad (Iran)

Bronze – Dalton Roberts (United States)

63 kg

Gold – Ziya Babashov (Azerbaijan)

Silver – Sergey Emelin (Russia)

Bronze – Reza Mardi Gheshlaghi (Iran)

Bronze – Ayhan Karakus (Turkey)

67 kg

Gold – Maksim Skuratov (Russia)

Silver – Ali Chobakzan (Iran)

Bronze – Alejandro Sancho (United States)

Bronze – Furkan Yildiz (Turkey)

72 kg

Gold – Ulvi Ganizadeh (Azerbaijan)

Silver – Abdelmalek Merabet (Algeria)

Bronze – Aleksei Kiiankin (Russia)

Bronze – Enes Uslu (Turkey)

77 kg

Gold – Ali Osko (Iran)

Silver – Andrei Samets (Belarus)

Bronze – Kheireddine Ben Tlili (Tunisia)

Bronze – Kurban Kurbanov (Azerbaijan)

82 kg

Gold – Hasan Berk Kilinc (Turkey)

Silver – Yasin Yazdi (Iran)

Bronze – Azad Aliyev (Azerbaijan)

Bronze – Ouakali Abdelkrim (Algeria)

87 kg

Gold – Naser Alizadeh (Iran)

Silver – Lachin Valiyev (Azerbaijan)

Bronze – John Stefanowicz (United States)

Bronze – Damian Von Euw (Switzerland)

97 kg

Gold – Murad Ahmadiyev (Azerbaijan)

Silver – Simone Fidelbo (Italy)

Bronze – Mahdi Bali (Iran)

Bronze – Virgil Danut Gosa (Romania)

130 kg

Gold – Ali Akbar Yousefi (Iran)

Silver – Rouabeh Fadi (Algeria)

Bronze – Vitali Shchur (Russia)

Bronze – Ionita Florin Zorila Ionut (Romania)

U.S. Greco-Roman results

60 kg – Dalton Roberts (Fountain, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP), Bronze

LOSS Milad Reza Nejad (Iran), tech. fall, 8-0

WIN Aidos Sultangali (Kazakhstan), disqualification

LOSS Nihad Guluzade (Azerbaijan), 10-5

WIN Mert Ilbars (Turkey), 6-3

67 kg – Alejandro Sancho (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP), Bronze

WIN Julius Adekunle (Nigeria), tech. fall, 8-0

WIN Hutter Dorien (Switzerland), tech. fall, 9-0

LOSS Ali Chobakzan (Iran), 6-1

WIN Steve Momilia (Italy), tech. fall 12-1

77 kg – Britton Holmes (Peyton, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP), Fifth

WIN Fazli Eryilmaz (Turkey), tech. fall, 9-0

WIN Amro Abed Alfattah Jamal Sadeh (Jordan), fall

LOSS Andrei Samets (Belarus), tech. fall, 12-3

LOSS Kheireddine Ben Tlili (Tunisia), 2-1

87 kg – John Stefanowicz (New Park, Pa./Navy WC), Bronze

WIN Dias Kalen (Kazakhstan), 2-1

LOSS Naser Alizadeh (Iran), 3-1

WIN Mirco Minguzzi (Italy), 8-2

2023 CISM World Military Championships Brackets