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Kamal Bey wrestles Viktor Nemes (Serbia) at the 2022 Senior World Championships

USAWGreco-RomanInternational2023 World Championships Preview

Senior Worlds Preview: Greco-Roman upper weights (77kg, 82 kg, 87 kg, 97 kg, 130 kg)

by Savannah Asmann, USA Wrestling

The countdown to the 2023 Senior World Championships continues as anticipation builds. Wrapping up the previews as we enter the competition next week, let's dive into the back five Greco-Roman weight classes which will finish competition in Belgrade, Serbia.

Photo by: Justin Hoch
Kamal Bey, the U.S. representative at 77 kg, will compete Sept. 21-22 at the 2023 World Championships.

This Olympic weight class is loaded with experienced and talented wrestlers. The top seed in the 77 kg weight class was earned by Zoltan Levai of Hungary. Levai earned a silver medal at last year’s World Championships and a bronze at the 2023 European Championships. He has wrestled in two ranking series events this year, earning points with 12th and 13th place finishes. The No. 2 seed went to Yunus Emre Basar of Turkey, who won bronze at the 2022 World Championships and 2023 European Championships.

2022 Senior World Champion Akzhol Makhmudov of Kyrgyzstan is the No. 3 seed and returns to the mat in Serbia looking to defend his title. Makhmudov is also a 2020 Olympic silver medalist and has won Asian Championship gold medals in 2022 and 2023. The No. 4 seed is 2022 U23 World Champion and 2022 Senior World bronze medalist Malkhas Amoyan of Armenia. Amoyan adds two European Championships gold medals at the senior level and was also a 2021 Senior World Champion.

The fifth seed is Rui Liu of China, returning to the Senior World Championships after placing ninth at last year’s event. Viktor Nemes of Serbia is the No. 6 seed and is fresh off of earning a silver medal at the 2023 European Championships. Nemes placed fifth at the 2022 Senior World Championships.

Aik Mnatsakanian of Bulgaria, No. 7, carries the experience of Olympic competition after placing 12th at the 2020 Tokyo games. Mnatsakanian earned a bronze medal at 72 kg at the 2019 Senior World Championships. Rounding out the top seeds was Iuri Lomadze of Georgia, an experienced competitor looking to earn his first senior world medal.

The representative for the United States is Kamal Bey, a 2017 Junior World champion who was seventh at the 2018 Senior Worlds. Bey won a gold medal at the 2023 Pan American Championships and is seeking his first World Championships medal at the Senior level.

Preliminary Seeds

No. 1 - Zoltan Levai (Hungary)

No. 2 - Yunus Emre Basar (Turkey)

No. 3 - Akzhol Makhmudov (Kyrgyzstan)

No. 4 - Malkhas Amoyan (Armenia)

No. 5 - Rui Liu (China)

No. 6 - Viktor Nemes (Serbia)

No. 7 - Aik Mnatsakanian (Bulgaria)

No. 8 - Iuri Lomadze (Georgia)

Recent World and Olympic Results

77 kg/169.75 lbs. -  Gold - Azhol Magomedov (Kyrgyzstan); Silver - Zoltan Levai (Hungary); Bronze - Malkas Amoyan (Armenia); Bronze - Yunus Basar (Turkey); 5th - Viktor Nemes (Serbia); 5th - Hyeonwoo Kim (Korea); 7th - Aram Vardanyan (Uzbekistan); 8th - Tamerlan Shadukayev (Kazakhstan); 9th - Rui Liu (China); 10th - Yasaf Zeinalov (Ukraine)

77 kg/169.75 lbs. - Gold – Roman Vlasov (RWF); Silver – Sanan Suleymanov (Azerbaijan); Bronze – Mohammadali Geraei (Iran); Bronze – Roland Schwarz (Germany); 5th – Tsimur Berdyieu (Belarus); 5th – Tamas Levai (Hungary); 7th – Viktor Nemes (Serbia); 8th – Kodai Sakuraba (Japan); 9th – Dmytro Pyshkov (Ukraine); 10th – Daler Zade (Tajikistan)

77 kg/169.75 lbs. - Gold - Tamas Lorincz (Hungary); Silver - Akzhol Makhmudov (Kyrgyzstan); Bronze - Shohei Yakibu (Japan); Bronze - Rafig Huseynov (Azerbaijan); 5th - Mohammadali Geraei (Iran); 5th - Karapet Chalyan (Armenia); 7th - Aleksandr Chekhirkin (ROC); 8th - Bozo Starcevic (Croatia); 9th - Demeu Zhadrayev (Kazakhstan); 10th - Yosvanys Pena Flores (Cuba)

Photo by: Justin Hoch
Spencer Woods, the U.S. representative at 82 kg, will compete Sept. 21-22 at the 2023 World Championships.

Leading the pack is Burhan Akbudak of Turkey, the No. 1 seed and defending World Champion. Akbudak's impressive resume includes a silver medal at the 2021 Senior World Championships, bronze medals at the 2022 Senior European Championships and 2018 U23 European Championships, and a gold at the 2017 U23 World Championships. The athlete that earned the No. 2 seed is Gela Bolkvadze of Georgia, a 2018 U23 World Champion and 2022 Senior World Champion fifth place finisher.

No. 3 seed Yaroslav Filchakov of Ukraine is another top competitor at 82 kg, earning a bronze medal at the 2022 Senior World Championships and aiming to stand higher on the podium in Belgrade, Serbia, this year. The No. 4 seed is Rafig Huseynov of Azerbaijan, and Olympic bronze medalist at the 2020 Tokyo Games and 2021 Senior World Champion. Huseynov finished fifth at the 2022 Senior World Championships.

Kazakhstan's Dias Kalen, the fifth-seeded wrestler, makes a return to the mat in Belgrade after a ninth place finish at the 2022 Senior World Championships. 2023 Asian Championship bronze medalist Alireza Mohmadipiani of Iran is the No. 6 seed and won two ranking events this year.

Mihail Bradu of Moldova is the No. 7 seed and Kristoffer Berg of Sweden is the No. 8 seed. Bradu placed fifth at both the 2022 and 2023 European Championships. Berg finished seventh at the 2021 Senior World Championships and earned a bronze at a ranking event in early 2023.

Spencer Woods is the 82 kg representative for the United States. Woods makes the trip to his second Senior World Championships after stepping up in 2022. He is a 2023 Pan American Champion and placed fifth at a ranking series event in early 2023.

Preliminary Seeds

No. 1 - Burhan Akbudak (Turkey)

No. 2 - Gela Bolkvadze (Georgia)

No. 3 - Yaroslav Filchakov (Ukraine)

No. 4 - Rafig Huseynov (Azerbaijan)

No. 5 - Dias Kalen (Kazakhstan)

No. 6 - Alireza Mohmadipiani (Iran)

No. 7 - Mihail Bradu (Moldova)

No. 8 – Kristoffer Berg (Sweden)

Recent World Results

82 kg/180.5 lbs. - Gold - Burhan Akbudak (Turkey); Silver - Jalgasbay Berdimuratov (Uzbekistan); Bronze - Yaroslav Flichakov (Ukraine); Bronze - Tamas Levai (Hungary); 5th - Gela Bolkvadze (Georgia); 5th - Rafig Huseynov (Azerbaijan); 7th - Chengwu Wang (China); 8th - Roland Schwarz (Germany); 9th - Dias Kalen (Kazakhstan); 10th - Yuya Okajima (Japan)

82 kg/180.5 lbs. - Gold – Rafig Huseynov (Azerbaijan); Silver – Burhan Akbudak (Turkey); Bronze – Adlan Akiev (RWF); Bronze – Pejman Poshtam (Iran); 5th – Alex Kessidis (Sweden); 5th – Laszlo Szabo (Hungary); 7th – Edgar Babayan (Poland); 8th – Ranet Kaljola (Estonia); 9th – Hannes Wagner (Germany); 10th – Tarek Abdelslam Sheble Mohamed (Bulgaria)

Note: 82 kg is a non-Olympic weight class, so there are no results from the 2020 Olympic Games held in Tokyo, Japan.

Photo by: Justin Hoch
Zac Braunagel, the U.S. representative at 87 kg, will compete Sept. 23-24 at the 2023 World Championships.

The field of competitors at 87 kg is slated to be highly competitive and a must watch for wrestling fans. Leading the charge is Ali Cengiz of Turkey, the No. 1-seeded wrestler, who won bronze at the 2022 Senior World Championships, silver at the 2023 European Championships and competed in two ranking events this year. The No. 2 seed is David Losonczi of Hungary, a 2021 U23 World silvers medalist and 2023 Senior World bronze medalist.

No. 3 seed Alex Kessidis of Sweden is a 2020 Olympian and earned a silver medal at the 2019 Senior World Championships. Kessidis looks to make a return to the podium in Belgrade after fifth place finishes at the 2021 and 2022 Senior World Championships. Three-time Asian Championships gold medalist (2021, 2022 and 2023) Naser Alizadeh of Iran is the No. 4 seed.

Seeded fifth in this weight class is Nursultan Tursynov of Kazakhstan, a 2020 Olympian and 2023 Asian Championships silver medalist. The No. 6 seed is Semen Novikov of Bulgaria, an experience competitor that won U23 World Championships in 2018 and 2019. Novikov won gold at the 2020 European Championships and bronze at the 2023 European Championships.

Jalgasbay Berdimuratov of Uzbekistan, the No. 7 seed, is familiar with podium finishes and has earned a gold medal at the 2021 Asian Championships, silver at the 2022 Asian Championships and 2022 World Championships and bronze at the 2019 World Championships. Berdimuratov also won the Zagreb Open, a ranking series event, earlier this year. The No. 8 seeded wrestler is Kumar Sunil of India, the 2020 Asian Championships gold medalist at 87 kg.

Zac Braunagel of the United States heads to his first Senior World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. Braunagel placed 10th at the 2019 Junior World Championships. Others to watch include 2019 World bronze medalist Haitao Qian of China and five-time African Champion and 2020 Olympian Bachir Sid Azara of Algeria.

Preliminary Seeds

No. 1 - Ali Cengiz (Turkey)

No. 2 - David Losonczi (Hungary)

No. 3 - Alex Kessidis (Sweden)

No. 4 - Naser Alizadeh (Iran)

No. 5 - Nursultan Tursynov (Kazakhstan)

No. 6 - Semen Sergeevich Novikov (Bulgaria)

No.  7 - Jalgasbay Berdimuratov (Uzbekistan)

No. 8 - Kumar Sunil (India)

Recent World and Olympic Championships

87 kg/191 lbs. -  Gold - Zurabi Datunashvili (Serbia); Silver - Turpal Bisultanov (Denmark); Bronze - David Losonczi (Hungary); Bronze - Ali Cengiz (Turkey); 5th - Alex Kessidis (Sweden); 5th - Naser Ghasem Alizadeh (Iran); 7th - Damian Von Euw (Switzerland); 8th - Nursultan Tursynov (Kazakhstan); 9th - A. Aziisbekov (Kyrgyzstan); 10th - Barthelemy Tshosha (Dem. Rep. of Congo)

87 kg/191 lbs. - Gold - Zurabi Datunashvili (Serbia); Silver - Kiryl Maskevich (Belarus); Bronze - Lasha Gobadze (Georgia); Bronze - Arkadiusz Marcin Kulynycz (Poland); 5th - Istvan Takacs (Hungary) ; 5th - Turpan Ali Bisultanov (Denmark); 7th - Kristoffer Zakarias Berg (Sweden); 8th - Metehan Basar (Turkey); 9th - Artur Shahinyan (Armenia); 10th - Nursultan Tursynov (Kazakhstan)

87 kg/191 lbs. - Gold – Zhan Beleniuk (Ukraine); Silver - Viktor Lorincz (Hungary); Bronze – Zurabi Datunashvili (Serbia); Bronze – Denis Kudla (Germany); 5th- Ivan Huklek (Croatia); 5th - Mohamed Metwally (Egypt); 7th – Bachir Sid Azara (Algeria), 8th – Rustam Assakalov (Uzbekistan); 9th – Daniel Hechevarria (Cuba); 10th – Atabek Azisbekov (Kyrgyzstan)

Photo by: Justin Hoch
Josef Rau, the U.S. representative at 97 kg, will compete Sept. 22-23 at the 2023 World Championships.

The 97 kg weight class is loaded with accomplished wrestlers seeking more world medals. The No. 1 seed is Kiril Milov of Bulgaria, a 2020 Olympian who has earned gold at the 2022 European Championship, silver at the 2018 and 2022 Senior World Championships and 2019 and 2023 European Championships. The No. 2 seed Artur Aleksanyan of Armenia is a competitor with a long list of achievements at the international level. Aleksanyan is a four-time Senior World Champion (2014, 2015, 2017 and 2022) and has stood on the podium at the Olympic games three times: gold in 2016, silver in 2020 and bronze in 2012. 

Mohammadhadi Saravi of Iran is the No. 3 seed, and is a 2021 World Champion and 2022 World silver medalist. Savari also won two ranking series events this year. Following closely behind and seeded fourth is Nikoloz Kakhelashvili of Italy who has placed fifth at the 2021 and 2022 World Championships, seeking his first World medal at the senior level.

The fifth seed is Arif Niftullayev of Azerbaijan, a 2022 World bronze medalist. 2021 U23 World Champion Tamas Levai of Hungary is the No. 6 seed and has earned a bronze medal at the 2022 Senior World Championships.

Rounding out the top seeds are No. 7 Rustam Assakalov of Uzbekistan and No. 8 Felix Baldauf of Norway. Assakalov is a two-time Olympian and has been on the podium twice at the Senior World Championships. Baldauf is a 2017 European Champion aiming to earn his first World medal at the senior level.

Josef Rau is the representative for the United States. Rau is a three-time Pan American champion (2015, 2020 and 2023) and seeks to stand on the podium in Belgrade.

Preliminary Seeds

No. 1 - Kiril Milov (Bulgaria)

No. 2 - Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia)

No. 3 - Mohammadhadi Saravi (Iran)

No. 4 - Nikoloz Kakhelashvili (Italy)

No. 5 - Arif Niftullayev (Azerbaijan)

No. 6 - Tamas Levai (Hungary)

No. 7 - Rustam Assakalov (Uzbekistan)

No. 8 - Felix Baldauf (Norway)

Recent World and Olympic Championships

97 kg/213.5 lbs. - Gold - Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia); Silver - Kiril Milov (Bulgaria); Bronze - Mohammadhadi Saravi (Iran); Bronze - Arif Niftullayev (Azerbaijan); 5th - Metehan Basar (Turkey); 5th - Nikoloz Kakhelashvili (Italy); 7th - Rustam Assakalov (Uzbekistan); 8th - Giorgi Melia (Georgia); 9th - Beksultan Makhmudov (Kyrgyzstan); 10th - Braxton Amos (USA)

97 kg/213.5 lbs. - Gold – Mohammadhadi Saravi (Iran) ; Silver – Alex Szoke (Hungary); Bronze – G’Angelo Hancock (USA); Bronze – Artur Sargsian (RWF); 5th – Nikoloz Kakhelashvili (Italy); 5th – Peter Oehler (Germany); 7th – Giorgi Melia (Georgia); 8th – Yevhenii Saveta (Ukraine); 9th – Kiril Milov (Bulgaria); 10th – Vilius Laurinaitis (Lithuania)

97 kg/213.5 lbs. - Gold - Musa Evloev (ROC); Silver - Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia); Bronze - Mohammadhadi Saravi (Iran); Bronze -Tadeusz Michalik (Poland); 5th - Alex Szoke (Hungary); 5th - Arvi Martin Savolainen (Finland); 7th – G’Angelo Hancock (USA); 8th - Kiril Milenov (Bulgaria); 9th - Giorgi Melia (Georgia); 10th - Uzur Dzhuzupbekov (Kyrgyzstan)

Photo by: Justin Hoch
Cohlton Schultz, the U.S. representative at 130 kg, will compete Sept. 21-22 at the 2023 World Championships.

Riza Kayaalp of Turkey stands out as the athlete to watch at the 2023 Senior World Championships. Kayaalp has been one of the most dominant Greco-Roman wrestlers in recent years. He is a five-time Senior World Champion (2011, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2022), four-time Olympian (2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020) and twelve-time European Champion, among other high-level world achievements.

The No. 2 seed is Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu of Romania, a three-time Olympian and 2022 World bronze medalist. 2021 U23 World Champion, 2020 Olympian, 2022 Senior World silver medalist and two-time Asian Champion (2020 and 2023) Amin Mirzazadeh of Iran is the No. 3 seed in this highly competitive weight class.

Iakobi Kajaia of Georgia is the No. 4 seed. Kajaia is a 2020 Olympic silver medalist, 2019 and 2021 World bronze medalist and a proven tough competitor. The No. 5 seed, Lingzhe Meng, looks to make an impact at this year’s World Championships after placing high at three ranking series events in 2023.

Seeded sixth is Dariusz Vitek of Hungary, a two-time U23 World bronze medalist, making a jump for his second trip to the Senior World Championships following a ninth place finish in 2022. The No. 7 seed is Oscar Pino Hinds of Cuba, an experienced athlete in both Greco-Roman and freestyle. Pino Hinds is a five-time Pan American Champion in Greco-Roman (2016, 2017, 2018, 2022 and 2023) and three-time Senior World medalist (bronze in 2017 and 2018, silver in 2019).

Closing out the top seeds at 130 kg is No. 8 Oskar Marvik of Norway. Marvik is a 2021 World bronze medalist and 2023 European bronze medalist. The United States representative is Cohlton Schultz, a 2017 U17 World Champion, 2018 U20 World bronze medalist and 2019 U20 World silver medalist. The trip will be the third to a Senior World Championships for Schultz.

Preliminary Seeds

No. 1 - Riza Kayaalp (Turkey)

No. 2 - Alin Alexuc Ciurariu (Romania)

No. 3 - Amin Mirzazadeh (Iran)

No. 4 - Iakobi Kajaia (Georgia)

No. 5 - Lingzhe Meng (China)

No. 6 - Dariusz Vitek (Hungary)

No. 7 - Oscar Pino Hinds (Cuba)

No. 8 - Oskar Marvik (Norway)

Recent World and Olympic Results

130 kg/286 lbs. - Gold - Riza Kayaalp (Turkey); Silver - Amin Mirzazadeh (Iran); Bronze - Mantas Knystautas (Lithuania); Bronze - Alin Alexuc Ciurariu (Romania); 5th - Iakobi Kajaia (Georgia); 5th - Muminjon Abdullaev (Uzbekistan); 7th - Sabah Saleh Shariati (Azerbaijan); 8th - Danila Sotnikov (Italy); 9th - Dariusz Attila Vitek (Hungary); 10th - Eduard Soghomonyan (Brazil)

130 kg/286 lbs. - Gold – Aliakbar Yousofiahmadchali (Iran); Silver – Zurabi Gedekhauri (RWF); Bronze – Iakobi Kajaia (Georgia); Bronze – Oskar Marvik (Norway); 5th – Yasmani Acosta Fernandez (Chile); 5th – Osman Yildirim (Turkey); 7th – Alin Ciurariu (Romania); 8th – Beka Kandelaki (Azerbaijan); 9th – Radoslav Georgiev (Bulgaria); 10th – Mykola Kuchmii (Ukraine)

130 kg/286 lbs. - Gold - Mijian Lopez Nunez (Cuba); Silver - Iakobi Kajaia (Georgia); Bronze - Riza Kayaalp (Turkey); Bronze - Sergei Semenov (ROC); 5th - Yasmani Acosta Fernandez (Chile); 5th - Amin Mirzazadeh (Iran); 7th - Muminjon Abdullaev (Uzbekistan); 8th - Eduard Popp (Germany); 9th - Abdellatif Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed (Egypt); 10th - Mantas Knystautas (Lithuania)

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