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Hancock falls in quarterfinals, Hafizov drops repechage bout in Olympic Games Greco-Roman action

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

G'Angelo Hancock (USA) hits a gut wrench on Mihail Kajaia (SRB) during Olympic Games in Tokyo. Photo by Larry Slater.

MAKUHARI, Chiba, Japan – G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) had a 1-1 record at 97 kg this morning in Greco-Roman at the Olympic Games held at Makuhari Messe Hall A, losing a close quarterfinals bout.

Hancock opened up with confidence and power, defeating 2018 World bronze medalist Mihail Kajaia of Serbia, 5-1. Hancock got his first point when Kajaia was hit with passivity, and followed with two gut wrench turns for a 5-0 lead at the break. In the second period, when Hancock got the passivity penalty to give up one point, Kajaia was not able to turn Hancock in par terre.

Hancock dropped a razor close 4-3 decision in the quarterfinals to No. 4 seed Tadeusz Michalik of Poland, who was fifth in the 2015 and 2019 Senior Worlds.

The first point of the match went to Hancock, when Michalik was hit for passivity. Hancock was unable to turn him from the top position, and the 1-0 lead held through the break. In the second period, Hancock was hit for passivity, knotting the score at 1-1. Hancock defended and got to his feet, then Michalik forced a step out on a scramble on the edge to make it 2-1. The USA corner challenged the call, but it was denied, giving Michalik a 3-1 lead. Hancock forced a step out, closing it to 3-2, but Michalik responded with a stepout point of his own to stretch it to 4-2. Late in the period, Hancock forced a stepout to make it 4-3, but was not able to get another score before time ran out.

Michalik advances to Monday night’s semifinals to face No. 1 seed and World champion Musa Evloev of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC). Michalik must defeat Evloev in order for Hancock to be pulled back into Tuesday’s repechage.

Hancock competed on the 2017, 2018 and 2019 U.S. Senior World Team. Three different seasons, he was on more than one U.S. World Team. In 2017, he was on the Senior, U23 and Junior World Teams. In 2018 and 2019, he was on both the Senior and U23 World Teams. Hancock was a 2016 Junior World bronze medalist. He is a native of Colorado Springs, Colo., where he still lives and trains.

Completing his Olympic competition this morning was two-time Olympian Ildar Hafizov (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) at 60 kg, who finished with an 0-2 record.

Hafizov dropped a 7-1 decision to 2018 World champion Sergey Emelin of ROC in the repechage match at 60 kg. Hafizov led 1-0 at the break, after Emelin was hit for a passivity point. Hafizov was unable to turn Emelin in par terre. In the second period, after Hafizov was penalized a passivity point, Emelin was able to execute three gut wrench turns to secure his seven points. Hafizov could not score on his feet in the final portion of the bout. Emelin will face Victor Ciobanu of Moldova in a bronze-medal match.

Hafizov had lost in his opening match to Pan American champion Luis Orta Sanchez of Cuba, but was drawn into repechage after Sanchez powered his way into the gold-medal finals.

Hafizov competed for Team USA at the 2017 and 2019 Senior World Championships, and he was also second at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Before emigrating to the United States, Hafizov wrestled on three Senior World Teams for Uzbekistan, along with his 11th place finish at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. A member of the Army World Class Athlete Program stationed at Fort Carson, Colo., Hafizov is a resident of Colorado Springs, Colo.

There will be no U.S. Greco-Roman wrestlers competing in Monday night’s session.

There are two weight classes in Greco-Roman held during today’s competition in which the United States did not qualify a competitor, 130 kg and 77 kg. The 130 kg weight class concludes this evening, while today is the first day of the 77 kg weight class.


At Makuhari, Chiba, Japan, August 2

U.S. Greco-Roman performances

60 kg – Ildar Hafizov (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP)

LOSS Luis Orta Sanchez (Cuba), 5-0

LOSS Sergey Emelin (ROC), 7-1

97 kg – G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids)

WIN Mihail Kajaia (Serbia), 7-1

LOSS Tadeusz Michalik (Poland), 4-3

Semifinals pairings for Monday

77 kg

Tamas Lorincz (Hungary) vs. Mohammadali Geraei (Iran)

Karapet Chalyan (Armenia) vs. Akzhol Makhmudov (Kyrgyzstan)

97 kg

Musa Evloev (ROC) vs. Tadeusz Michalik (Poland)

Mohammadhadi Saravi (Iran) vs. Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia)