Day 2 wrap: Taylor, Arujau, Retherford win gold, Parris gets bronze, Dake qualifies for Monday’s finals

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

David Taylor (USA) with the American flag after World Championships win. He flashes four fingers, for three World golds and an Olympic gold. (Photo by Durwood Tenny)

BELGRADE, Serbia – The second day of the World Wrestling Championships was a big day for the United States.

All that Team USA did was win three individual World gold medals, claimed a World bronze, and placed another star in Monday’s night’s gold-medal finals. They increased the number of weights qualified for the Paris Olympic Games to three and led in the team standings after the first four weight classes.

Individual gold medalists on Sunday night were David Taylor (86 kg), Vitali Arujau (61 kg) and Zain Retherford (70 kg). It was a third career World title for Taylor, while Arujau and Retherford claimed their first.

Also competing in Group One was Mason Parris (125 kg), who claimed a bronze medal in his first Worlds appearance.

From Group Two, which started competing today, four-time World champion Kyle Dake (74 kg) won his semifinals to reach Monday night’s gold medal round.

The top five in each of the six Olympic weight classes in men’s freestyle wrestling qualify their nation for the 2024 Paris Olympics. (57 kg, 65 kg, 74 kg, 86 kg, 97 kg, 125 kg). Therefore, Taylor, Parris and Dake have qualified the USA for the Paris Olympics, with two other Olympic weight classes still yet to be contested.

Taylor won his rivalry match in the finals, pinning Olympic and World champion Hassan Yazdanicharati in the finals in 5:57. Taylor now has beaten Yazdani in five of their six meetings, with the only loss happening in the 2021 World finals. Taylor beat Yazdani in the last two World finals, as well as in the 2000 Olympic Games finals.

Taylor led 5-3 at the break after a big exchange that went his way in the first period. Leading 1-0, a Taylor shot ended up in a big scoring move. Officials initially gave the edge to Yazdani, but after a USA challenge, Taylor was given a four-point move in the exchange. Taylor added a takedown in the second period to lead 7-3, and when Yazdani tried to turn Taylor, it was the American who ended up on top and Taylor got the fall.

Taylor dominated his competition, scoring three pins and two technical falls in his five matches.

Arujau led early, with a step out, 1-0. The wrestlers got into a nice scramble where they both were able to score, and after a challenge, Arujau had a 7-4 lead. In the second period, Magomedov scored a takedown which was challenged and denied, tying the bout at 7-7 with Magomed holding criteria. Arujau answered with a takedown and a step out for a 10-7 lead. Arujau was twice hit with caution and one for fleeing at the end, but the final score was 10-9 for Arujau.

Arujau won a gold medal in his first Senior World Championships appearance, He follows in the footsteps of his father, Vougar Orudjev, who won two Senior World titles for the former Soviet Union before emigrating to the United States.

Retherford led 3-2 at the break with a takedown and a step out, while Yazdani scored a takedown. In the second period, Zain opened things up with a takedown, a step out and another takedown to lead 8-2. Yazdani was only able to add a takedown and a caution and one to close it at the end to the final score of 8-5.

Retherford was competing in the World finals for the second straight year, after placing second last year.

Parris rebounded from Saturday night’s close semifinals loss to three-time World champion Geno Petriashvili of Georgia with a dominant effort in the bronze-medal bout. Parris scored a 12-2 technical fall over Individual Neutral Athlete Abdulla Kurbanov, who is from Russia. In the first period, Parris scored a big four-point move to lead 6-1. Kurbanov closed it to 6-2 with a step out, but Parris added three straight takedowns to finish the technical fall.

Parris was competing in his first Senior World Championships. A 2023 Hodge Trophy winner and NCAA champion for Michigan, Parris was second in Final X to 2020 Olympic champion Gable Steveson, who did not compete in Belgrade. Parris took advantage of his opportunity and cashed in with a medal performance.

After the first four weight classes, the United States was in first place with 90 points, followed by Iran with 65 points. Georgia was in third with 35 points.

Also on Sunday, Group Two of men’s freestyle began with competition at 57 kg, 74 kg, 79 kg and 92 kg.

The Group Two semifinals were held prior to the Group One finals, and four-time World champion Kyle Dake earned his place in the World Championship finals for the fifth time in a row. Dake, also a 2020 Olympic bronze medalist, will battle 2020 Olympic champion and two-time World champion Zaurbek Sidakov, an Individual Neutral Athlete from Russia, in Monday’s gold-medal match.

Dake won four matches on Sunday, including a 4-1 decision over Georgios Kougioumtsidis of Greece in the semifinals. By reaching the finals, Dake also qualified the United States for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France. Dake was a bronze medalist in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The other four U.S. wrestlers from Group Two were defeated on Sunday morning. Zahid Valencia has qualified for Monday morning’s repechage round at 92 kg. He opened with a victory over two-time U23 World champion Amirali Azarpira of Iran in his opening bout, 12-9, but fell to Osman Nuramagomedov of Azerbaijan, 5-1. When Nuramagomedov qualified for the finals, Valencia was pulled back into repechage, where he will face Denys Sahaliuk of Ukraine on Monday morning.

Two U.S. wrestlers were eliminated when the athlete who beat them did not qualify for the gold-medal finals, Zane Richards at 57 kg and Chance Marsteller at 79 kg.

The final two men’s freestyle weight classes begin on Monday, with 2016 Olympic champion and three-time World champion Kyle Snyder competing at 97 kg and first-time World team member Nick Lee entered at 65 kg. The women’s freestyle tournament also begins on Monday.


At Belgrade, Serbia, September 17

Men’s Freestyle Group One Finals pairings

61 kg

Gold - Vitali Arujau (USA)

Silver - Abasgadzhi Magomedov (Individual Neutral Athlete)

Bronze - Shota Phartenadze (Georgia)

Bronze - Taiyrbek Zhumashbek Uulu (Kyrgyzstan)

5th - Kodei Ogawa (Japan)

5th -Valentyn Bliasketskyi (Ukraine)

7th - Jahongirmirza Turobov (Uzbekistan)

8th - Weiyu Li (China)

9th - Ossimzhan Dastanbek (Kazakhstan)

10th - Emrah Ormanoglu (Turkey)

Gold - Vitali Arujau (USA) dec. Abasgadzhi Magomedov (Individual Neutral Athlete), 10-9

Bronze - Taiyrbek Zhumashbek Uulu (Kyrgyzstan) dec. Kodei Ogawa (Japan), 2-1

Bronze - Shota Phartenadze (Georgia) dec. Valentyn Bliasketskyi (Ukraine), 5-5

70 kg

Gold - Zain Retherford (USA)

Silver - Amirmohammad Yazdanicherati (Iran)

Bronze - Ramazan Ramazanov (Bulgaria)

Bronze - Arman Andreasyan (Armenia)

5th - Emazar Akmataliev (Kyrgyzstan))

5th - Abhimanyou (UWW)

7th - Amr Hussein (Egypt)

8th - Yoshinosuke Aoyagi (Japan)

9th - Marc Dietsche (Switzerland)

10th - Daniel Antal (Hungary)

Gold - Zain Retherford (USA) dec. Amirmohammad Yazdanicherati (Iran), 8-5

Bronze - Ramazan Ramazanov (Bulgaria) dec. Emazar Akmataliev (Kyrgyzstan), 8-6

Bronze - Arman Andreasyan (Armenia) tech fall Abhimanyou (UWW), 12-0

86 kg

Gold - David Taylor (United States)

Silver - Hassan Yazdanicharati (Iran)

Bronze - Myles Amine (San Marino)

Bronze - Azamat Dauletbekov (Kazakhstan)

5th - Javrail Shapiev (Uzbekistan)

5th - Magomed Sharipov (Bahrain)

7th - Bat Erdene Byambasuren (Mongolia)

8th - Rakhim Magamadov (France)

9th - Benjamin Greil (Austria)

10th - Lin Zushen (China)

Gold - David Taylor (United States) pin Hassan Yazdanicharati (Iran), 5:57

Bronze - Myles Amine (San Marino) dec. Javrail Shapiev (Uzbekistan), 8-5

Bronze - Azamat Dauletbekov (Kazakhstan) dec. Magomed Sharipov (Bahrain), 5-3

86 kg Olympic Playoff – Javrail Shapiev (Uzbekistan) dec. Magomed Sharipov (Bahrain), 3-1

125 kg

Gold - Amir Zare (Iran)

Silver - Geno Petriashvili (Georgia)

Bronze - Taha Akgul (Turkey)

Bronze - Mason Parris (United States)

5th - Daniel Ligeti (Hungary)

5th - Abdulla Kurbanov (Individual Neutral Athlete)

7th - Robert Baran (Poland)

8th - Oleksandr Khotsianivskyi (Ukraine)

9th - Aiaal Lazarev (Kyrgyzstan)

10th - Deng Zhiwei (China)

Gold - Amir Zare (Iran) tech fall Geno Petriashvili (Georgia), 11-0

Bronze - Taha Akgul (Turkey) dec. Daniel Ligeti (Hungary), 5-0

Bronze - Mason Parris (United States) tech. fall Abdulla Kurbanov (Individual Neutral Athlete), 12-2

125 kg Olympic Playoff – Abdulla Kurbanov (Individual Neutral Athlete) dec. Daniel Ligeti (Hungary), 8-3

U.S. men’s freestyle Group One results

61 kg - Vitali Arujau (Titan Mercury WC/Spartan Combat RTC), Gold Medal

WIN Ossimzhan Dastanbek (Kazakhstan), tech. fall 10-0

WIN Stillyan Iliev (Bulgaria), tech fall, 10-0

WIN Kodei Ogawa (Japan), 8-2

WIN Taiyrbek Zhumashbek Uulu (Kyrgyzstan), tech fall 12-2

WIN Abasgadzhi Magomedov (Individual Neutral Athlete), 10-9

70 kg - Zain Retherford (Titan Mercury WC/Nittany Lion WC), Gold Medal

WIN Mustafo Akhmedov (Tajikistan), 4-0

WIN Abhimanyou (UWW), 9-2

WIN Arman Andreasyan (Armenia), 7-0

WIN Amirmohammad Yazdanicherati (Iran), 8-5

86 kg - David Taylor (Titan Mercury WC/Nittany Lion WC), Gold Medal

WIN Sofiane Padiou Belmir (Morocco), pin 0:15

WIN Benjamin Griel (Austria), tech fall 10-0

WIN Magomed Sharipov (Bahrain), tech fall 12-2

WIN Azamat Dauletbekov (Kazakhstan), pin 3:38

WIN Hassan Yazdanicharati (Iran), pin 5:57

125 kg – Mason Parris (Titan Mercury WC/Cliff Keen WC), Bronze Medal

WIN Yusup Batirmurzaev (Kazakhstan), tech. fall 11-0

WIN Abraham Conyedo Ruano (Italy), 3-0

WIN Zhiwei Deng (China), 8-4

LOSS Geno Petriashvili (Georgia), 8-6

WIN Abdulla Kurbanov (Individual Neutral Athlete), tech. fall 12-2

Top five nations after first four weights (61kg, 70kg, 86kg, 125kg)

1. United States, 90 points

2. Iran, 65 points

3. Georgia, 35 points

4. Kyrgyzstan, 29 points

5. Kazakhstan, 19 points

6. Uzbekistan, 18 points

7. Turkey, 17 points

8. (tie) Japan, Ukraine, 16 points

10. (tie) Armenia, Bulgaria, San Marino, 15 points

Men’s Freestyle Group Two Finals pairings

57 kg - Rei Higuchi (Japan) vs. Stevan Micic (Serbia)

74 kg - Zaurbek Sidakov (Individual Neutral Athlete) vs. Kyle Dake (United States)

79 kg - Akhmed Usmanov (Individual Neutral Athlete) vs. Vladimeri Gamkrelidze (Georgia)

92 kg - Rizabek Aitmukhan (Kazakhstan) vs. Osman Nurmagomedov (Azerbaijan)

Men’s Freestyle Group Two Semifinal results

57 kg

Rei Higuchi (Japan) tech. fall Meirambek Kartbay (Kazakhstan), 11-0

Stevan Micic (Serbia) dec. Zelimkhan Abakarov (Albania) , 6-2

74 kg

Zaurbek Sidakov (Individual Neutral Athlete) dec. Turan Bayramov (Azerbaijan), 5-1

Kyle Dake (United States) dec. Georgios Kougioumtsidis (Greece), 4-1

79 kg

Akhmed Usmanov (Individual Neutral Athlete) dec. Orkhan Abasov (Azerbaijan), 3-0

Vladimeri Gamkrelidze (Georgia) vs. Vasyl Mykhailov (Ukraine), 10-4

92 kg

Rizabek Aitmukhan (Kazakhstan) dec. Miriani Maisuradze (Georgia), 8-1

Osman Nurmagomedov (Azerbaijan) tech. fall Arash Yoshida (Japan), 10-0

U.S. men’s freestyle Group Two results

57 kg - Zane Richards (Titan Mercury WC/Illinois RTC), eliminated

LOSS Aliabbas Rzazade (Azerbaijan), 3-2

74 kg – Kyle Dake (Titan Mercury WC/Nittany Lion WC)

WIN Magomet Evloev (Tajikistan), tech. fall 12-2

WIN Nurkozha Kaipanov (Kazakhstan), 9-4

WIN Daichi Takatani (Japan), 6-4

WIN Georgios Kougioumtsidis (Greece), 4-1

Gold Medal – Vs. Zaurbek Sidakov (Individual Neutral Athlete)

79 kg – Chance Marsteller (Titan Mercury WC/NYC RTC), eliminated

WIN Chems Fetairia (Algeria), 7-2

LOSS Orkhan Abasov (Azerbaijan), 9-3

92 kg - Zahid Valencia (Sunkist Kids), in repechage

WIN Amirali Azarpira (Iran), 12-9

LOSS Osman Nuragomedov (Azerbaijan), 5-1

Repechage – Vs. Denys Sahaliuk (Ukraine)

U.S. men’s freestyle Group Three draw for Monday

65 kg – Nick Lee (Titan Mercury WC/Nittany Lion WC)

Vs, Kryzsztof Bienkowski (Poland), 2021 European silver medalist, 5th in 2021 World Championships

97 kg - Kyle Snyder (Titan Mercury WC/Nittany Lion WC)

Vs. Nishan Randhawa (Canada), 3rd in 2023 Pan American Championships, 2022 Commonwealth Games champion, 2019 Canada Cup champion