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Gwiazdowski and Diakomihalis advance to the Poland Open finals, while three Americans will wrestle for bronze

by Joe Wedra, Special to

Two American men’s freestylers made the finals of the Poland Open on Wednesday morning, as Yianni Diakomihalis (65kg) and Nick Gwiazdowski (125kg) punched their tickets to the finals after the opening session in Warsaw, Poland. 

Three others – Joey McKenna (65kg), J’den Cox (92kg) and Nate Jackson (92kg) will be wrestling for third. The medal match session begins at 12:00 p.m. EST.

Diakomihalis began his day in round robin action with a 9-3 win over Poland’s Eduard Grigorev, who took third at the European championships in April. After the win, Diakomihalis dropped a 7-6 bout to Hungary’s Iszmail Muszukajev (the 2019 world bronze medalist), in his second round robin match. The Cornell standout worked back from a 7-1 deficit, but could not find a turn as time expired. Diakomihalis advanced through his third match due to injury default, securing his spot in the semis.

Joey McKenna went 1-1 in his round robin action, including a win over Ukraine’s Andrii Svyryd to advance to the semifinals against Diakomihalis. 

In the all-USA semifinal, Diakomihalis grabbed early momentum with a takedown and four more quick exposure points to take a 6-0 lead in the first minute. The match went into the break 9-4 after McKenna was able to tighten the gap, but Diakomihalis quickly found a score to advance his lead and hit a four-point throw at the edge to wrap up a 15-4 semifinal win.

In the finals, Diakomihalis is set to have a rematch against Poland’s Grigorev. McKenna will face Ukraine's Vasyl Shuptar in the third place match. Shuptar, a 2015 World bronze medalist, defeated McKenna, 6-4, in the round robin.

Gwiazdowski’s path to the 125kg finals was a bit more clear-cut. In his first match against Kazakhstan’s Yusup Batirmurzaev, the 2020 Asian champion and 2019 U23 World bronze medalist, the Wolfpack RTC heavyweight traded scores early and took a 3-2 lead into the break. Gwiazdowski was able to work three single leg scores in the third, advancing him to the semifinals.

There, he saw Egypt’s Youssif Hemida, a two-time All-American for the University of Maryland. Gwiazdowski scored early and rolled right into a lace, picking up momentum that carried him to a 10-0 first-period win. 

Gwiazdowski will face Amir Zare of Iran in this afternoon’s finals. Zare won the 2020 Matteo Pellicone and was the 2019 Junior World champion. 

Both Cox and Jackson will wrestle for bronze after going 1-1 this morning. Cox opened the day with a 4-2 win over Germany’s Ilja Matuhin, but fell in the semifinals to Ukraine’s Illia Archaia, in a one-takedown, 2-1 match. Jackson defeated his opponent from Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals before dropping his semis bout to Poland’s Zbigniew Baranowski. Jackson led 7-2 in the second period, but Baranowski used a four-point throw to work back into the match and scored late to make the finals with an 8-7 win.

Jason Nolf wrestled Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Kaisanov, winner of the last two Asian Championships at 74kg and the third-place finisher at the last two Matteo Pellicone tournaments. Nolf scored first and held a 2-0 lead for much of the bout, but Kaisanov was able to score a takedown in a scramble late to take a lead. The USA corner did challenge the call, but the takedown stood and Kaisanov finished with a 4-2 win.

Nathan Tomasello competed at 61kg but did not advance following the round robin competition.

Today’s action resumes at 12:00 p.m. EST and will be streamed live on FloWrestling.

2021 Poland Open

Warsaw, Poland

U.S. Men’s Freestyle Results

61 kg: Nathan Tomasello (OKRTC/TMWC)

LOSS – Adian Askarov (Kazakhstan), 9-0 

LOSS – Gulomjon Abdullaev (Uzbekistan), 12-1

LOSS – Kumar Ravi (India), 9-5

65 kg: Yianni Diakomihalis (Spartan Combat RTC/TMWC)

WIN – Eduard Grigorev (Poland), 9-3

LOSS – Iszmail Muszukajev (Hungary), 7-6

WIN – Krzystof Bienkowski (Poland), INJURY

WIN – Joey McKenna (USA), 15-4

65 kg: Joey McKenna (Pennsylvania RTC/TMWC)

WIN – Andrii Svyryd (Ukraine), 8-0

LOSS – Vasyl Shuptar (Ukraine), 6-4

LOSS – Yianni Diakomihalis (USA), 15-4

74 kg: Jason Nolf (Nittany Lion WC/TMWC)

LOSS – Daniyar Kaisanov (Kazakhstan), 4-2

92 kg: J’den Cox (USOPTC/NJRTC/TMWC)

WIN –  Ilja Matuhin (Germany), 4-2

LOSS – Illia Archaia (Ukraine), 2-1

92 kg: Nate Jackson (NJRTC)

WIN – Ajiniyaz Saparniyazov (Uzbekistan), 10-0

LOSS – Zbigniew Baranowski (Poland), 8-7

125 kg: Nick Gwiazdowski (Wolfpack RTC/TMWC)

WIN – Yusup Batirmurzaev (Kazakhstan), 9-2

WIN – Youssif Hemida (Egypt), 10-0