Bey, Hafizov advance to Greco-Roman finals at Pan American Games; U.S. women Miracle, Chavez enter bronze medal bouts
by Richard Immel
SANTIAGO, Chile – The third day of wrestling at the Pan American Games saw the talented U.S. Greco-Roman duo of Kamal Bey and Ildar Hafizov storm right out of the gates, going two-for-two on finals berths. Plus, the women’s freestyle side sent two athletes to the bronze medal round.
Bey looked mighty in his three victories on Friday morning at Centro de Entrenamiento Olímpico. The U20 World champion and three-time U.S. World Team member won two of his bouts with ease—eight-point technical falls against Guatemala’s David Choc Huoc and Chile’s Eduardo Bernal Molina.
In the 77 kg quarterfinals, Bey collected a signature, come-from-behind decision over 2020 Olympian and five-time Pan American medalist Yosvanys Pena Flores of Cuba. Bey trailed by two entering the second period. After failing to convert from forced par terre, Bey changed tactics for the later stages of the match. He drove through Pena Flores multiple times, capturing the critical step out point in the final moments to win, 4-3. The two wrestled in the finals of the Pan American Championships last May with Bey also winning by a point.
Five-time Pan American medalist Joilson De Brito Ramos Junior of Brazil collected two nice wins on the opposite side of the 77 kg bracket and will see Bey in the gold medal match.
Two-time Olympian and Pan American Games bronze medalist Hafizov walked into the 60 finals thanks to a quarterfinal forfeit by Samuel Gurria Vigueras of Mexico and an 8-0 thumping of 2023 Pan American silver medalist Jeremy Peralta Gonzalez of Ecuador.
Cuba’s Kevin De Armas Rodriguez is Hafizov’s opponent in the gold medal match. The young Cuban finished with a bronze medal at this year’s Pan American Championships and has competed twice at the Worlds with no medal to show for it.
Hafizov’s 2020 Olympic teammate Kayla Miracle dropped an unexpected 8-2 loss to Lais Nunes De Oliveira of Brazil in the 62 kg women’s freestyle semifinals. The Brazilian is a longtime veteran with two Olympic appearances and nine World Championships to her credit, but hasn’t medaled at either event, something Miracle has done on multiple occasions.
The two-time World finalist from the U.S. will seek a rebound performance against another savvy veteran, Nathaly Griman Herrera of Venezuela, in tonight’s bronze medal match.
Also scoring a spot in a bronze medal match was Samara Chavez at 53 kg. Her only match of the morning was a difficult result to stomach. Shortly into her quarterfinal contest against 2020 Olympian and three-time U20 Pan American champion Laura Herin Avila of Cuba, Chavez blasted through a double leg, was rolled through to her back and pinned in 1:38.
She will get a second chance at a medal now that Herin Avila edged her way into the gold medal match, pulling Chavez back in the tournament. The upstart American will take on Betzabeth Arguello Villegas of Venezuela in the bronze medal match.
It was a tough outing for 2021 U20 World champion and three-time age-group World medalist Kylie Welker at 76 kg. She dropped her opener to Ecuador’s Genesis Reasco Valdez, 9-7. It was a back-and-forth contest that saw both women nearly get pinned. Welker ran out of steam in the second period while attempting to hold a 7-3 lead. Reasco Valdez dropped her next match, which eliminated Welker from medal contention.
The third day of wrestling competition at the Pan American Games will resume at 4 p.m. (ET) with the next set of medal matches. The Panam Sports Channel is broadcasting the event live at panamsportschannel.org. Brackets and updated results from this event can be found at arena.uww.org.
2023 Pan American Games Day Three Prelims
2023 Pan American Games, At Santiago, Chile, Nov. 3
Women’s freestyle medal matches
Gold – Laura Herin Avila (Cuba) vs. Lucia Yepez Guzman (Ecuador)
Bronze – Samara Chavez (United States) vs. Betzabeth Arguello Villegas (Venezuela)
Bronze – Thalia Mallqui Peche (Peru) vs Antonia Valdes Arriagada (Chile)
Gold – Lais Nunes De Oliveira (Brazil) vs. Maria Santana Garcia (Cuba)
Bronze – Kayla Miracle (United States) vs. Nathaly Griman Herrera (Venezuela)
Bronze – Javiera Roco Pardo (Chile) vs. Katherine Renteria Cuero (Colombia)
Gold – Tatiana Renteria (Colombia) vs. Milaimys Marin Potrille (Cuba)
Bronze – Genesis Reasco Valdez (Ecuador) vs. Atzimba Landaverde Moreno (Mexico)
Bronze – Maria Acosta (Venezuela) vs. Shauna Kuebeck (Canada)
Greco-Roman medal matches
Gold – Ildar Hafizov (United States) vs. Kevin De Armas Rodriguez (Cuba)
Bronze – Jeremy Peralta Gonzalez (Ecuador) vs. Samuel Gurria Vigueras (Mexico)
Bronze – Raiber Rodriguez Orozco (Venezuela) vs. Cristobal Torres Nunez (Chile)
Gold – Kamal Bey (United States) vs. Joilson De Brito Ramos Junior (Brazil)
Bronze – Yosvanys Pena Flores (Cuba) vs. Eduardo Bernal Molina (Chile)
Bronze – Emmanuel Benitez Castro (Mexico) vs. Wuileixix Rivas Espinoza (Venezuela)
U.S. women’s freestyle results
53 kg – Samara Chavez (Arlington, Texas/Team Tornado WC)
LOSS Laura Herin Avila (Cuba), fall, 1:38
BRONZE Betzabeth Arguello Villegas (Venezuela)
62 kg – Kayla Miracle (Tempe, Arizona/Sunkist Kids WC)
WIN Leonela Ayovi Parraga (Ecuador), fall, 4:02
LOSS Lais Nunes De Oliveira (Brazil), 6-2
BRONZE Nathaly Griman Herrera (Venezuela)
76 kg – Kylie Welker (Franksville, Wisconsin/Titan Mercury WC/Iowa Women’s WC), Eliminated
LOSS Genesis Reasco Valdez (Ecuador), 9-7
U.S. Greco-Roman results
60 kg – Ildar Hafizov (Colorado Springs, Colorado/U.S. Army WCAP)
WIN Samuel Gurria Vigueras (Mexico), Forfeit
WIN Jeremy Peralta Gonzalez (Ecuador), tech. fall, 8-0
GOLD Kevin De Armas Rodriguez (Cuba)
77 kg – Kamal Bey (Colorado Springs, Colorado/U.S. Army WCAP)
WIN David Choc Huoc (Guatemala), tech. fall, 9-1
WIN Yosvanys Pena Flores (Cuba), 4-3
WIN Eduardo Bernal Molina (Chile), tech. fall, 9-0
GOLD Joilson De Brito Ramos Junior (Brazil)