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Hafizov, Jones and Rau finish fifth at Matteo Pellicone

by Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling

Photo of Ildar Hafizov by Tony Rotundo,

ROME – Three American Greco-Roman wrestlers registered top-five finishes on Thursday at the Matteo Pellicone in Rome, Italy, including Ildar Hafizov, Sam Jones and Joe Rau.


At 60 kg, Ildar Hafizov lost his match against 2018 Grand Prix of Hungary champion and 2011 Junior World silver medalist Zhanserik Sarsenbayev from Kazakhstan. Trailing by four points in the waning seconds of the bout, Hafizov scored exposure from a front headlock and was awarded two points. USA challenged the call, looking for four points, but the challenge was lost, resulting in a point for Hafizov’s opponent and an 8-5 loss for Hafizov.

Competing at 63 kg, Sam Jones faced Neeraj Neeraj, who represented India at the 2019 Cadet World Championships. Jones led the entire bout until the last 30 seconds, when he attempted a throw near the edge but Neeraj landed on top, earning two points. USA challenged, but it failed, giving Neeraj another point and Jones only 20 seconds to score. Despite several attacks, Jones was unable to score, falling 6-4 to take fifth.

Joe Rau represented at 87 kg, facing 2018 Worlds fifth-place finisher Bekhan Ozdoev of Russia in the bronze-medal match. Ozdoev took control early in the bout with a step out, then he drew a passivity point from Rau, getting a chance on top in par terre, where he ended the bout with three gut wrenches for an 8-0 victory.

Wrestling continues tomorrow with the remaining Greco-Roman weights as well as the start of women’s freestyle competition. Action begins at 4:30 a.m. ET live on Flowrestling.


March 4-7, 2021 | Rome, Italy

U.S. Greco-Roman results
60 kg: Dylan Gregerson (Orem, Utah/Brunson UVRTC) - EIGHTH
LOSS Emin Sefershaev (Russia), 5-0
LOSS Zhanserik Sarsenbayev (Kazakhstan), 6-2

60 kg: Ildar Hafizov (Colorado Springs, Colo./US Army WCAP) – FIFTH
WIN Manish Manish (India), 11-3
LOSS Emin Sefershaev (Russia), 4-1
LOSS Zhanserik Sarsenbayev (Kazakhstan), 8-5

63 kg: Sam Jones (Orem, Utah/ Brunson UVRTC/New York AC) – FIFTH
WIN Giovanni Alessio (Italy), 11-3
LOSS Sultan Assetuly (Kazakhstan), 9-2
LOSS Neeraj Neeraj (India), 6-4

67 kg: Jamel Johnson (Camp LeJeune, N.C./Marines) - EIGHTH
WIN Julinho Correia Dju (Portugal), 12-0
LOSS Almat Kebispayev (Kazakhstan), 5-4

87 kg: Josef Rau (Chicago, Ill./Titan Mercury) – FIFTH
WIN Nursultan Tursynov (Kazakhstan), 3-0
LOSS David Losonczi (Hungary), 10-1
WIN Patrick Martinez (USA), forfeit
LOSS Bekkhan Ozdoev (Russia), 8-0

87 kg: John Stefanowicz (Camp LeJeune, N.C./Marines) - SEVENTH
WIN Dogan Goktas (Turkey), 1-1
LOSS Bekkhan Ozdoev (Russia), 8-0

97 kg: Daniel Miller (Camp LeJeune, N.C./Marines) - SEVENTH
WIN Deepanshu Deepanshu (India), 2-1
LOSS Erik Szilvassy (Hungary)
LOSS Ondrej Dadak (Czech Republic), 5-4

130 kg: Adam Coon (Ann Arbor, Michigan/Cliff Keen WC) - SEVENTH
WIN Cohlton Schultz (USA), 10-5
LOSS Zurabi Gedekhauri (Russia), 8-0

130 kg: Cohlton Schultz (Tempe, Ariz./Sunkist Kids) – NINTH
LOSS Adam Coon (USA), 10-5

130 kg: West Cathcart (Champaign, Ill./IRTC/New York AC) – 12th
LOSS Zurabi Gedekhauri (Russia), 9-0


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