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Cassioppi earns spot in the men’s freestyle semifinals at 2021 U23 World Championships

by Joe Wedra, USA Wrestling

BELGRADE, Serbia – Anthony Cassioppi won a pair of matches on Saturday morning to advance to the semifinals of the 2021 U23 World Championships at 125 kg.
Two other U.S. athletes, Chris Cannon (61 kg) and Nino Bonaccorsi (92 kg), will await results from tonight’s semifinal round to see if they will be pulled back into the tournament and compete in tomorrow’s repechage round.
Cassioppi’s day began in wild fashion, as he defeated Armenia’s Martin Simonyan via fall (5:55) to open up the tournament. The match was a wild one, filled with back-and-forth action throughout. After trailing 8-2 at the break, Simonyan stormed back and had a lead on criteria late in the match. However, the Iowa standout used tough upper-body wrestling late to ultimately score multiple takedowns as time winded down, eventually working Simonyan to his back for the fall.
In the quarterfinals, Cassioppi was dominant against Albania’s Paris Karepri, working a convincing 7-0 win to punch his ticket to the semifinals. In the semis, the Iowa standout will wrestle Russia’s Saipudin Magomedov.

Cannon began his day with a dominant win against India’s Suraj Kokate. Cannon scored a takedown early in the first period and locked up a tight gut wrench for two more. Then, he transitioned to a lace, scored another turn and then tossed Kokate for four in the same sequence to end the match in abrupt fashion. It was good for a 10-0 win, advancing the Northwestern standout to the next round.
Cannon kept the winning ways rolling in the next round with a 9-5 victory over Taiyrbek Zhumashbek Uulu of Kyrgyzstan. That win set him up for a quarterfinal bout against Russia’s Artur Chebodaev. There, Cannon wrestled a fast-paced match and controlled much of the action. However, Chebodaev’s counter scores proved to be the difference in the 7-0 match.
Chebodaev will need to win his semifinals match against Narankhuu Narmandakh of Mongolia for Cannon to be pulled back into the tournament.

At 92 kg, Nino Bonaccorsi lost a tough 12-6 match to Turkey’s Erhan Yaylaci in his first bout. The University of Pittsburgh wrestler had a 6-3 lead in the second period, but Yaylaci was able to score multiple times late – including one four-point move at the edge of the mat that was challenged unsuccessfully by the U.S. corner – to take the win.
Yaylaci won in the quarters against his opponent from Belarus. If he wins his semifinal match against Azamat Zakuev of Russia, Bonaccorsi will be pulled back into the tournament.
Peyton Robb (74 kg) opened up the day with a dominant 10-0 win over Hassan Alharthi of Saudi Arabia in just 51 seconds. The win was keyed by a highlight-reel takedown in the first period that Robb powered through to go up 4-0 and set the pace for the quick win.
In the Round of 16, Robb dropped a last-second match to Moldova’s Vasile Diacon. Robb was down 4-0 in the match and scored twice to lead on criteria, controlling most of the second period. But, with under 15 seconds left, Diacon took a strong shot to Robb’s leg, finishing the takedown as time expired to wrap up a 6-4 win.
Diacon dropped his match in the quarterfinals, which means Robb will not be pulled back into the tournament in tomorrow’s repechage round, officially eliminating him from the competition.
Myles Wilson (86 kg) kicked off his tournament with a 7-0 win against Poland’s Cezary Sadowski. After leading 3-0 at the break in the opening-round match, Wilson got to a leg, worked a takedown and then used a leg lace to jump out to the seven-point lead, good enough to advance through the first round.
In the second round, Wilson lost a 7-4 match to Armenia’s Mher Markosyan. Near the halfway mark of the second period, Wilson converted on a takedown, worked Markosyan to his back and appeared to have the fall. However, the call was never confirmed – with the U.S. out of challenges after a previous lost attempt, the call stayed at two points. Markosyan held on, picking up the win to advance.
Markosyan lost in the semifinals, which means Wilson is not eligible for tomorrow’s repechage, officially ending his tournament.
Jake Marsh (79 kg), a late addition to the Team USA roster, dropped his morning repechage bout to Georgia’s Goga Mamiauri, a hard-fought 8-4 match. Marsh was added to the roster just days before the event in Belgrade – his competition this week was his first appearance on a U.S. age-group World team.
At 97 kg, Jay Aiello learned his opponent for tonight’s bronze medal bout. He will wrestle Vasil Pauliuchenka of Belarus. Pauliuchenka took seventh at the 2018 Junior Worlds.
Today’s semifinal session begins at 4:45 p.m. local time in Belgrade, which is 11:45 a.m. eastern time. All matches can be watched live on FloWrestling.
Tonight, in the Group One medal match session, Aiello will wrestle for a bronze medal for Team USA. That session begins at 6:00 p.m. local time.


At Belgrade, Serbia, November 6

Men’s freestyle Group Two semifinal pairings
61 kg
Assyl Aitakyn (Kazakhstan) vs. Arsen Harutyunyan (Armenia)
Narankhuu Narmandakh (Mongolia) vs. Artur Chebodaev (Russia)
74 kg
Temuri Beruashvili (Georgia) vs. Chermen Valiev (Russia)
Mohmmadsadegh Firouzpourbandpei (Iran) vs. Hrayr Alikhanyan (Armenia)
86 kg
Mukhammed Aliiev (Ukraine) vs. Zagid Karimov (Russia)
Ivars Samusonoks (Latvia) vs. Sajjad Gholami (Iran)
92 kg
Osman Nurmagomedov (Azerbaijan) vs. Amirhossein Firouzpourbandpei (Iran)
Azamat Zakuev (Russia) vs. Erhan Yaylaci (Turkey)
125 kg
Anthony Cassioppi (USA) vs. Saipudin Magomedov (Russia)
Azamat Khosonov (Greece) vs. Seyedmehdi Hashemijouybari (Iran)
U.S. men’s freestyle Group Two results
61 kg: Chris Cannon (Oceanport, N.J./Wildcat WC)
WIN Suraj Kokate (India), 10-0
WIN Taiyrbek Zhumashbek Uulu (Kyrgyzstan), 9-5
LOSS Artur Chebodaev (Russia), 7-0
74 kg: Peyton Robb (Owatonna, Minn./Nebraska Wrestling Training Center)
WIN Hassan Alharthi (Saudi Arabia), 10-0
LOSS Vasile Diacon (MDA), 6-4
86 kg: Myles Wilson (Junction, Colo./Hawkeye WC)
WIN Cezary Sadowski (Poland), 7-0
LOSS Mher Markosyan (Armenia), 7-4
92 kg: Nino Bonaccorsi (Bethel Park, Pa./Pittsburgh WC)
LOSS Erhan Yaylaci (Turkey), 12-6
125 kg: Anthony Cassioppi (Roscoe, Ill./Hawkeye WC)
WIN Martin Simonyan (Armenia), fall 5:55
WIN Paris Karepri (Albania), 7-0
Semifinals vs. Saipudin Magomedov (Russia)
U.S. men’s freestyle Group One results
57 kg: Pat Glory (Randolph, N.J./New Jersey RTC)
LOSS Ahmad Mohammadnezhadjavan (Iran), 11-11
65 kg: Dom Demas (Columbus, Ohio/Oklahoma RTC)
WIN Abdelwahad Badri (Morocco), forfeit
LOSS Ziraddin Bayramov (Azerbaijan), 6-3
70 kg: Brock Mauller (Columbia, Mo./Tiger Style WC)
LOSS Cuneyt Budak (Turkey), 10-4
79 kg: Jake Marsh (New Jersey RTC)
LOSS Ramazan Sari (Turkey), 10-0
LOSS Goga Mamiauri (Georgia), 8-4
97 kg: Jay Aiello (Chantilly, Va./Cavalier WC)
WIN Feyzullah Akturk (Turkey), 5-3
WIN Shamil Ghadzhialiev (Russia), 3-3
LOSS Amirali Azarpira (Iran), 9-0
Bronze medal match vs. Vasil Pauliuchenka (Belarus)