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Olympic Games preview at 86 kg in men’s freestyle: Iran’s Yazdanicharati and USA’s Taylor set for monster clash

by Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling

2018 World champion David Taylor with the American Flag.

Date of draw: Aug. 3
Date of competition: Aug. 4-5

Team USA entry: David Taylor (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)

This weight class features a highly anticipated potential rematch between the two favored athletes at the weight, Hassan Yazdanicharati of Iran and David Taylor of the United States.

No. 1 seed Yazdanicharati is a returning Olympic champion, winning gold at 74 kg at the 2016 Rio Games. In 2017, he bumped up to 86 kg, where he has remained throughout the quad, claiming World titles in 2017 and 2019. The one person who kept Yazdani from the crown in 2018 was Taylor. The two met up in the first round of the World Championships with the American emerging victorious with a decisive 11-6 win.

Taylor went on to win gold in his first and only World Championships appearance and was named UWW’s Men’s Freestyle Wrestler of the Year. In 2019, Taylor suffered a season-ending injury, which ultimately kept him out of the 2019 Worlds. Taylor’s comeback began in 2020 when he earned gold at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier to qualify the USA for the Tokyo Games. Taylor enters the Games unseeded, so we could see a matchup with Yazdani at any time.

The field features four athletes, who have earned a Senior World medal at 86 kg, including three from the 2019 World Championships.

2019 runner-up Deepak Punia has put together an already-impressive career at just 22 years old with Cadet and Junior World gold medals in addition to his Senior World silver. He’ll head to his first Olympic Games as the No. 2 seed.

Both 2019 bronze winners, Artur Naifonov of Russia and Stefan Reichmuth of Switzerland are expected to compete. Naifonov, who will be the No. 3 seed, is also a 2017 Junior World champion and 2018 U23 World silver medalist. Reichmuth’s 2019 medal performance earned Switzerland its first Olympic wrestling bid since 2012 and first men’s freestyle spot since 2008.

The other past 86 kg medalist is Boris Makoev, who represents Slovakia. Originally from Russia, Makoev has competed at the last three World Championships for Slovakia, with his best finish coming at the 2017 Worlds, where he collected silver. Makoev qualified for the Games with a runner-up finish at the World Olympic Qualifier in May.

Qualifiers Ali Shabanov of Belarus and Sohsuke Takatani of Japan have earned World medals weight classes other than 86 kg. Shabanov’s most recent medal was bronze at 79 kg from the 2018 World Championships. He also recorded bronze medals at 74 kg in 2013 and 2017 as well as at 70 kg in 2014. Sohsuke, who has competed at four different weight classes this quad, is a 2014 World silver medalist at 74 kg.

Holding the No. 4 seed is American-born Myles Amine, who will be the first Olympic wrestling representative for San Marino, a small country in Europe. Amine finished fifth at the 2019 World Championships to earn the Olympic bid for San Marino. A multiple-time All-American for the University of Michigan, Amine produced podium finishes at the European Championships, including silver in 2020 and bronze in 2021.

Others in the field are 2019 World fifth-place finisher Carlos Izquierdo Mendez of Colombia, Pan American Olympic Qualifier runner-up Pool Ambrocio Greifo of Peru, European Olympic Qualifier runner-up Osman Gocen of Turkey, Asian Olympic Qualifer champion and runner-up Javrail Shapiev of Uzbekistan and Zushen Lin of China and African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier champion and runner-up Ekerekeme Agiomor of Nigeria and Fateh Benferdjallah of Algeria.

The 86 kg men’s freestyle competition will take place Aug. 4-5. Fans can watch all the action on the Olympic Channel and follow along on USA Wrestling’s social media channels @USAWrestling.

86 kg/189 lbs. men’s freestyle entries

NO. 1 SEED - 2019 World champion – Iran (Hassan Yazdanicharati)

NO. 2 SEED - 2019 World silver medalist – India (Deepak Punia)

NO. 3 SEED - 2019 World fifth place – San Marino (Myles Amine)

NO. 4 SEED - 2019 World bronze medalist – Russia (Artur Naifonov)

2019 World bronze medalist – Switzerland (Stefan Reichmuth)

2019 World fifth place – Colombia (Carlos Izquierdo Mendez)

2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier champion – United States (David Taylor)

2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier runner-up – Peru (Pool Ambrocio Greifo)

2021 European Olympic Qualifier champion – Belarus (Ali Shabanov)

2021 European Olympic Qualifier runner-up – Turkey (Osman Gocen)

2021 African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier champion – Nigeria (Ekerekeme Agiomor)

2021 African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier runner-up – Algeria (Fateh Benferdjallah)

2021 Asian Olympic Qualifier champion – Uzbekistan (Javrail Shapiev)

2021 Asian Olympic Qualifier runner-up – China (Zushen Lin)

2021 World Olympic Games Qualifier champion – Japan (Sohsuke Takatani)

2021 World Olympic Games Qualifier runner-up – Slovakia (Boris Makoev)


2019 World Championships

86 kg/189 lbs. – Gold – Hassan Yazdanicharati (Iran); Silver – Deepak Punia (India); Bronze – Stefan Reichmuth (Switzerland); Bronze – Artur Naifanov (Russia); Fifth – Carlos Izquierdo Mendez (Colombia); Fifth – Myles Amine (San Marino); Seventh – Ahmed Dudarov (Germany); Eighth – Taimuraz Friev Naskidaeva (Spain); Ninth – Patrick Downey (United States); 10th – Sohsuke Takatani (Japan)

2018 World Championships

86 kg/189 lbs. – Gold – David Taylor (United States); Silver – Fatih Erden (Turkey); Bronze – Taimuraz Friev Naskidaeva (Spain); Bronze – Hassan Yazdanicharati (Iran); Fifth – Gwanuk Kim (South Korea); Fifth – Dauren Kurugliev (Russia); Seventh – Ville Heino (Finland); Eighth – Boris Makoev (Slovakia); Ninth – Zbigniew Baranowski (Poland); 10th – Yurieski Torreblanca Queralta (Cuba)

2017 World Championships

86 kg/189 lbs. - Gold - Hassan Yazdani Charati (Iran); Silver - Boris Makoev (Slovakia); Bronze –Vladislav Valiev (Russia) ; Bronze – J’den Cox (United States); 5th - Aleksander Gostiev (Azerbaijan); 5th - Mihail Ganev (Bulgaria); 7th - Selim Yasar (Turkey); 8th - Yurieski Torreblanca Queralta (Cuba); 9th - Zbigniew Baranowski (Poland); 10th - Piotr Ianulov (Moldova)

2016 Olympic Games

86 kg/189 lbs. – Gold – Abdulrashid Sadulaev (Russia); Silver – Selim Yasar (Turkey); Bronze – Sharif Sharifov (Azerbaijan); Bronze – J’den Cox (United States); 5th – Pedro Ceballos Fuentes (Venezuela); 5th – Reineris Salas Perez (Cuba); 7th – Alireza Mohammad Karimimachiani (Iran); 8th – Mihail Ganev (Bulgaria); 9th – Amarhajy Mahamedau (Belarus); 10th – Zbigniew Baranowski (Poland)

2015 World Championships

86 kg/189 lbs. – Gold – Abdulrashid Sadulaev (Russia); Silver – Selim Yasar (Turkey); Bronze – Sandro Aminashvili (Georgia); Bronze – Alireza Karimimachiani (Iran); 5th – Magomedgadzhi Khatiyev (Azerbaijan); 5th – Mihail Ganev (Bulgaria); 7th – Ibragim Aldatov (Ukraine); 8th – Uitumen Orgodol (Mongolia); 9th – Armands Zvirbulis (Latvia); 10th – Pedro Francisco Ceballos Fuentes (Venezuela)

2014 World Championships

86 kg/189 lbs. – Gold – Abdulrashid Sadulaev (Russia); Silver – Reineris Salas (Cuba); Bronze – Mohammadhossein Mohammadian (Iran); Bronze – Selim Yasar (Turkey); 5th – Gamzat Osmanov (Azerbaijan); 5th – Aslan Kakhidze (Kazakhstan); 7th – Naresh Kumar (India); 8th – Michail Ganev (Bulgaria); 9th – Dato Marsagishvili (Georgia); 10th – Pedro Ceballas Fuentes (Venezuela)

2013 World Championships

84 kg/185 lbs. – Gold – Ibragim Aldatov (Ukraine); Silver – Reineris Salas Perez (Cuba); Bronze – Istvan Vereb (Hungary); Bronze – Ehsan Lashgari (Iran); 5th – Murad Gaidarov (Belarus); 5th – Talmuraz Naskidaeva (Spain); 7th - Georg Seregelyi (Germany); 8th - Uitumen Orgodol (Mongolia); 9th - Serdar Boke (Turkey); 10th - Dato Marsagishvili (Georgia)

2012 Olympics

84 kg/185 lbs. - Gold – Sharif Sharifov (Azerbaijan); Silver – Jaime Espinal (Puerto Rico); Bronze – Dato Marsagishvili (Georgia); Bronze – Ehsan Lashgari (Iran); 5th – Soslan Gattsiev (Belarus); 5th – Ibrahim Bolukbasi (Turkey); 7th – Jake Herbert (USA); 8th – Anzor Urishev (Russia); 9th – Ibragim Aldatov (Ukraine); 10th – Armands Zvirbulis (Latvia)