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Retherford, Burroughs, Taylor reach finals in men’s freestyle at World Championships

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

David Taylor (USA) takes shot in World semifinals.
David Taylor photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors

BELGRADE, Serbia – Three U.S. stars have advanced to gold-medal matches in their weight classes on the first day of men’s freestyle at the World Wrestling Championships in Stark Arena on Thursday.

Advancing to the finals after semifinal wins were Zain Retherford at 70 kg, Jordan Burroughs at 79 kg and David Taylor at 86 kg.

Burroughs was in control throughout his 9-2 win over Ali Pasha Umarpashaev of Bulgaria. Burroughs led 4-1 at the break with two step outs and a takedown. In the second period, Burroughs scored on a takedown, a turn and a step out, only giving up a penalty point. Umarpashaev was ninth in the 2019 and 2021 World Championships.

Burroughs will face Mohammad Nokhodilarimi of Iran, who Burroughs beat in the 2021 World Championship finals in Oslo, Norway.

Burorughs is a five-time World champion and 2012 Olympic champion. He is attempting to set the U.S. record for most combined World and Olympic golds. Burroughs was a two-time NCAA champion for Nebraska.

Taylor earned a spot in the finals, where he will face his top rival, 2016 Olympic champion and three-time World champion Hassan Yazdani Charati of Iran. Taylor beat Yazdani in the 2020 Olympic finals, but Yazdani stopped Taylor in the 2021 World Championship finals.

To reach the finals, Taylor scored an impressive 12-0 technical fall over 2022 Asian champion Azamat Dauletbekov of Kazakhstan. Taylor led 1-0 at the break, on a point from Dauletbekov going on the shot clock and not scoring. In the second period, Taylor took over from his feet with five straight takedowns. Dauletbekov challenged the last takedown, which was denied.

Taylor was a 2020 Olympic champion and 2018 World champion. He also won a 2021 World silver medal. He won two NCAA titles for Penn State.

Zain Retherford defeated 2017 World champion Zurabi Iakobishvili of Georgia with an impressive 7-0 shutout win. Retherford led at the break, 3-0, with two step outs and a point from the shot clock. Retherford was in control in the second period with two takedowns and a step out point.

Retherford will face 2022 Asian champion Taishi Narikuni of Japan in the finals. Retherford, who is competing in his third Senior World Championships, won three NCAA titles for Penn State.

Hayden Zillmer, in his first Senior Worlds appearance, was eliminated from the tournament when Geno Petriashvili of Georgia, a three-time World champion and two-time Olympic medalist, was defeated in the semifinals by Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur of Mongolia,

The United States, which is among the favorites to win the men’s freestyle team title, clinched 60 points from Group 1, based upon the results from the semifinals. The team expected to battle the U.S. for team supremacy is Iran, put two athletes into the finals.


At Belgrade, Serbia, September 15, 2022

Men’s freestyle finals pairings

70 kg - Taishi Narikuni (Japan) vs. Zain Retherford (USA)

79 kg - Jordan Burroughs (USA) vs. Mohammad Nokhodilarimi (Iran)

86 kg - Hassan Yazdani Charati (Iran) vs. David Taylor (USA)

125 kg - Taha Akgul (Turkey) vs. Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur (Mongolia)

Men’s freestyle semifinal results

70 kg

Taishi Narikuni (Japan) dec. Ernazar Akmataliev (Kyrgyzstan), 11-10

Zain Retherford (USA) dec. Zurabi Iakobishvili (Georgia), 7-0

79 kg

Jordan Burroughs (USA) dec. Ali Pasha Umarpashaev (Bulgaria), 9-2

Mohammad Nokhodilarimi (Iran) dec. Vasyl Mykhailov (Ukraine), 5-4

86 kg

Hassan Yazdani Charati (Iran) tech fall Boris Makoev (Slovakia), 10-0

David Taylor (USA) tech. fall Azamat Dauletbekov (Kazakhstan), 12-0

125 kg

Taha Akgul (Turkey) dec. Amir Hossein Abbas Zare (Iran), 4-2

Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur (Mongolia) dec. Geno Petriashvili (Georgia), 4-2

U.S. men’s freestyle Group 1 results

70 kg: Zain Retherford (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC) - FINALIST

WIN Kevin Henkel (Germany), 10-0

WIN Marc Dietsche (Switzerland), fall 1:11

WIN Arman Andreasyan (Armenia), 5-0

WIN Zurabi Iakobishvili (Georgia), 7-0

Gold Medal Match – Vs. Taishi Narikuni (Japan)

79 kg: Jordan Burroughs (Philadelphia, Pa./Pennsylvania RTC/Sunkist Kids) - FINALIST

WIN Sahergeldi Saparmyradov (Turkmenistan), 12-1

WIN Dejan Mitrov (North Macedonia), 12-1

WIN Arsalan Budazhapov (Kyrgyzstan), 10-0

WIN Ali Umarpashaev (Bulgaria), 9-2

Gold Medal Match – Vs. Mohammad Nokhodilarimi (Iran)

86 kg: David Taylor (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC) – FINALIST

WIN Aron Caneva (Italy), 10-0

WIN Ethan Ramos (Puerto Rico), 11-0

WIN Azamat Dauletbekov (Kazakhstan), 12-0

Gold Medal Match – Vs. Hassan Yazdani Charati (Iran)

125 kg: Hayden Zillmer (Minneapolis, Minn./Gopher WC RTC) - eliminated

WIN Zyyamuhammet Saparov (Turkmenistan), 15-4

WIN Robert Baran (Poland), 3-2

LOSS Geno Petriashvili (Georgia), 9-4