#WrestleTirana Wednesday Session II Live Blog: Jimenez, Blades in semifinals; Hardy, Zapf, Trumble in medal matches

by Savannah Asmann, USA Wrestling


The United States has won the U23 men's freestyle team title for the first time in its history. With four World champions and two bronze medalists, it's the USA a top the podium!



Isaac Trumble controls the final match against Moldova's Radu Lefter, winning by 12-2 technical fall. The United States has it's fourth World Champion of the tournament!


70 kg - Kanan Heybatov (Azerbaijan) dec. Doug Zapf (United States), 9-2

Zapf fell in a close bronze medal match at 70 kg. Heybatov picked up a 1-0 lead on a step out, adding two takedowns in the second period. Zapf fired back with a takedown, but Heybatov fended off his attacks and won the match.



Brock Hardy (65 kg) is heading home with a World bronze medal. Hardy defeated Georgia's Goga Otinashvili in a rough 8-5 decision. The Georgian was first on the board with a throw that scored four. Hardy fired back with a takedown but there was debate about Otinashvili's knee to the mat, so the United States challenged the call. The officials ruled in favor of Georgia, and it was a 5-2 match. Hardy responded with three gritty takedowns to capture the bronze.


76 kg - Kennedy Blades (United States) tech. fall Kamile Gaucaite (Lithuania), 10-0

You'll have to pay close attention if you want to see Kennedy Blades wrestle. She picks up another technical fall in just 28 seconds, moving to the finals at 76 kg. Blades scored two off the whistle and added three turns, running out of room to end it in 14 seconds. Another quick takedown and she sealed the deal.

50 kg - Audrey Jimenez (United States) dec. Elnura Mammadova (Azerbaijan), 7-4

Jimenez powered through a 4-1 deficit for the win that guarantees here a U23 World medal and a spot in the finals. Mammadova had the lead after two second period takedowns, but Jimenez closed the gap and added another last second takedown to capture the spot in the finals. She will face Japan's Umi Ito tomorrow night.


Audrey Jimenez's semifinal match will be the opener for the session on Mat B. Kennedy Blades will be the last semifinal match on Mat A. Follow along to our social media and the live blog for updates.


We're 30 minutes out from the start of session two here in Tirana. Audrey Jimenez (50 kg) faces Elnura Mammadova (Azerbaijan) and Kennedy Blades matches up against Kamile Gaucaite (Lithuania) in the women's freestyle semifinals.

Men's freestyle medal matches will follow as Brock Hardy (65 kg) takes on Goga Otinashvili (Georgia) for bronze. Doug Zapf (70 kg) will see Kanan Heybatov (Azerbaijan) in the bronze medal match. Isaac Trumble (97 kg) meets Radu Lefter (Moldova) in the finals.

Action is slated to begin with the semifinals at 4:45 p.m. local time, and 6 p.m. local time for the medal matches.

Kennedy Blades (76 kg) at the 2023 U23 World Championships. (Photo by Ulug Bugra Han Degirmenci, United World Wrestling)
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