Live Blog: Poland Open Ranking Series, Day One

By Eric Olanowski

Poland Open Ranking Series begins in Warsaw with five freestyle weight categories in action on Monday.



Tuesday's Final Matchups:
57kg: Makhmudjon SHAVKATOV (UZB) vs. Stevan Andria MICIC (SRB) (Round 3)
70kg: Alec PANTALEO (USA) vs. James GREEN (USA) 
79kg: Rashid KURBANOV (UZB) vs. Akhsarbek GULAEV (SVK) 
86kg: Sandro AMINASHVILI (GEO) vs. Zahid VALENCIA (USA) 
97kg:  Ali Khalil SHABANIBENGAR (IRI) vs. Mohammadhossein MOHAMMADIAN (IRI) 

13:22: That'll do it for the morning session. We'll see you back here at 18:00 (local time) for the Day One medal matches.

13:13: Aliyev scores five unanswered points in the second period, but Pantaleo's four-point move in the first period pushes him past the three-time world champ, 6-6. He'll wrestle the winner of James Malcolm GREEN (USA) and  Zurabi IAKOBISHVILI (GEO), who are wrestling now on Mat B. 

13:08: What a first period for Alec PANTALEO (USA). He scored a four-point move and a two-point takedown and leads three-time world champion Haji Aliyev, 6-1, after the first period. 

13:03: James GREEN (USA) and Iakobishvili are on the clock, too. They'll wrestle at 13:09 on Mat B.

12:57: We'll take a quick seven-minute break to give Aliyev some rest time. When the time is up, he'll take on Alec PANTALEO (USA) for a spot in tonight's 70kg finals. 

12:37: World champs Aliyev and Iakobishvili are wrestling right now on Mat A!

12:27: Mohammadian held on to win a close battle against Karimmachiani. He scored a takedown and gave up a pair of one-point moves in the second period but held the criteria advantage. He'll now take on Ali SHABANIBENGAR (IRI) in tonight's 97kg gold-medal match.

12:22: Mohammadian struck first with the matches only takedown. He leads, 2-0, after the first period.

12:20: HERE. WE. GO! MAT A: Alireza KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI) and Mohammadhossein MOHAMMADIAN (IRI) are wrestling now!

12:14: World champions  Haji Aliyev (AZE) and Zurabi IAKOBISHVILI (GEO) are up in three matches on Mat A.

11:56: With Alireza Mohammad KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI) and Mohammadhossein MOHAMMADIAN (IRI) wrestling in the 97kg semifinals, it's important to note that this plays a major role in who represents Iran at the Tokyo Olympic Games. I spoke with the Iranian Wrestling Federation, and they said, "We have a qualification cycle. This consists of the performances of each wrestler during the last 7 months (in training and competitions) and for sure Poland Rankings will be one part of this cycle."

11:52: Deepak PUNIA (IND) won't compete at the Poland Open. The Indian pulled out of the competition with an elbow injury. That pushes Zahid VALENCIA (USA) into the semifinals. He'll take on the winner of Tokyo Olympians Stefan REICHMUTH (SUI) and Myles AMINE (SMR). 

11:49: Karimmachiani just put on a show! He thumped Conyedo, 11-0, in just five minutes. He'll now take on Mohammadhossein MOHAMMADIAN (IRI). 

11:38: It feels like he just wrestled, but Conyedo is up again! He's wrestling two-time world silver medalist Alireza Mohammad KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI).

11:30: That was close, but Zahid VALENCIA (USA) got the job done. He hung on late to defeat Sebastian JEZIERZANSKI (POL), 6-5. He'll square off against '19 world silver medalist Deepak PUNIA (IND).

Abraham de Jesus CONYEDO RUANO (ITA) upset Olympic champion Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE), 2-2, in their opening-round meeting. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

11:21: We're not even one with our first cup of coffee and we already have a massive upset. Italy Abraham Conyedo scored the matches only takedown and upset Olympic champion Sharifov in their opening-round meet.

11:14: This should be a good one on Mat A. It's Olympic champion  Sharif SHARIFOV (AZE) and world bronze medalist Abraham de Jesus CONYEDO RUANO (ITA). They've both qualified their nation's for the Tokyo Olympic Games at 97kg. 

11:13: I spoke too soon! As I wrote Aliyev trailed, 2-1, he strung together seven unanswered points and won the match, 8-2. That win pushed him into his 70kg Round 2 match against Syrbaz TALGAT (KAZ). 

11:06: It's still early, but three-time world champion Haji ALIYEV (AZE) trails Sirojiddin KHASANOV (UZB), 2-1, with short time left in the first period. They are wrestling on Mat C.

11:00: Good morning, wrestling fans! For those asking about brackets: instead of releasing them all at once, they'll be released each morning after weigh-ins. 


Saravi Dominates #WrestleWarsaw to Claim Spot on Iran Olympic Team

By Vinay Siwach

WARSAW, Poland (June 13) --- After the 97kg Greco-Roman final, Mehdi BALIHAMZEHDEH (IRI) went up to the judge to seek answers. His actions were justified as he had not only lost the gold medal to compatriot Mohammadhadi SARAVI (IRI) but also the opportunity to represent Iran at the Tokyo Olympics.

Iran, treating the Poland Open as the selection trial for Tokyo Games, had entered the two and on Sunday, they dominated the field and reached the final. This was the last category that was undecided for Iran after three freestyle and one Greco-Roman class finalized in Warsaw.


Poland Open

They had to wait till the end of the day as it was the final bout and then more as both Iran wrestlers had mistakenly wore opposite singlets. 50 seconds into the bout they changed the singlets and resumed the bout. Saravi got the advantage of Balihamzehdeh being passive in the first period and he got an exposure to lead 3-0.

Balihamzehdeh was hoping that Saravi will be warned for inactivity as well but that did not happen as the latter kept on the pressure throughout the period. It ended 3-0 in favour of Saravi, completing the Iran team for the upcoming Games.

His gold medal also pushes him to third position in the Tokyo seeding as he collected 16 points. His total of 52 points takes him ahead of Cenk ILDEM (TUR) who is now out of the seeding.

Tadeusz MICHALIK (POL) finished fifth in Warsaw and collected 10 points for a total of 42 to edge past Ildem by a point.

There was no other major shuffle in the Olympic seedings for the weight classes that were in action on Sunday.

At 87kg, veteran Uzbek wrestler Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB) won a bronze medal to collect 12 points but that doesn't change his third position in the seedings.


The gold medal was captured but he upcoming star and two-time U23 world champion Semen NAVIKOV (UKR). In the final, he defeated Istvan TAKACS (HUN) 2-1 with all points scored on referees call.

Takacs had earlier stopped Rio Olympic bronze medalist Assakalov's run in the tournament with a 2-1 win in the semifinal. The Uzbek then came back in the bronze medal bout against Arkadiusz KULYNYCZ (POL) with a big fall.

The next big thing in Ukrainian wrestling Navikov will not be at the Olympics as another star wrestler Zhan BELENIUK (UKR) is scheduled to wrestle in the Japanese capital city.

In the remaining three weight categories, hosts Poland captured two gold medals while the third went to Uzbekistan.

Michal TRACZ (POL) wrestled Ekrem OZTURK (TUR) in the 60kg final and held on for 3-2 win for his home country. In the nordic style bracket, he won two bouts to reach the semifinal in which he came out on top against Mukhammadkodir YUSUPOV (UZB) 3-2.

Ozturk had a back-and-forth semifinal against Olivier SKRZYPCZAK (POL) as the two scored 26 points in the stipulated six minutes. In the end, Ozturk won 15-11 to reach the final.

Gevorg SAHAKYAN (POL) won the second gold medal for Poland as he defeated Mirzobek RAKHMATOV (UZB) 4-3 in the 72kg final.

The Pole had some tough bouts throughout the day as he began with a 3-1 win against Krisztian VANCZA (HUN) 3-1 before pulling through a 1-1 win against compatriot Roman PACURKOWSKI (POL).

From the other side, Rakhmatov defeated Juan AAK (NOR) 9-0 in the qualification before clinching a 7-0 win over Mateusz BERNATEK (POL) in the quarterfinal. He had a tough one against Cengiz ARSLAN (TUR) in the semifinal but managed to pull off 5-4.

Uzbekistan did get it's gold medal on Sunday as five-time ranking series finalist Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) managed to hang on and defeat Ayata SUZUKI (JPN) 5-3 in the 63kg final. Suzuki was awarded a point for Bakhramov's passivity and he later got an exposure from par terre to lead 3-0. But Bakhramov reversed it and completed a head-pinch to make it 3-2.

In the second period, he got the point for Suzuki's inactivity and then exposed him from the par terre position to lead 5-3. The Japanese did try quite a few arm throws but failed to get any points.

From Japan, world champion Kenichiro FUMITA (JPN) was also scheduled to make the Poland trip but pulled out at the last moment due to unforeseen circumstances. Fumita has now not competed internationally since winning the gold medal at the Asian Championships in New Delhi in February, 2020.

Poland Open 63kg


GOLD: Michal TRACZ (POL) df Ekrem OZTURK (TUR), 3-2
BRONZE: Mukhammadkodir YUSUPOV (UZB) df Olivier SKRZYPCZAK (POL), 10-2

GOLD: Islomjon BAKHRAMOV (UZB) df. Ayata SUZUKI (JPN), 5-3
BRONZE: Christopher KRAEMER (GER) df. Artor HAGERUP (NOR), via fall
BRONZE: Krisztian KECSKEMETI (HUN) df. Mairbek SALIMOV (POL), 4-0

GOLD: Gevorg SAHAKYAN (POL) df. Mirzobek RAKHMATOV (UZB), 4-3
BRONZE: Cengiz ARSLAN (TUR) df. Juan AAK (NOR), 2-1
BRONZE: Krisztian VANCZA (HUN) df. Roman PACURKOWSKI (POL), 3-1

GOLD: Semen NOVIKOV (UKR) df. Istvan TAKACS (HUN), 2-1
BRONZE: Rustam ASSAKALOV (UZB) df. Arkadiusz KULYNYCZ (POL), via fall
BRONZE: Metehan BASAR (TUR) df. Bachir SID AZARA (ALG), 1-1

GOLD: Mohammadhadi SARAVI (IRI) df. Mehdi BALIHAMZEHDEH (IRI), 3-0
BRONZE: Islam ABBASOV (AZE) df. Gerard Cyprian KURNICZAK (POL), 4-0