Reigning US World Team member Patrick Smith (72 kg, Minnesota Storm) would probably prefer to fight for a medal without having to be pulled back into a tournament, but he’ll never shy away from another opportunity to wrestle.
The famously hard-charging Smith found himself on the losing end of a 9-0 tech to Evrik Nikogosyan (FRA) earlier today at the 2018 Nikola Petrov Cup in Sofia, Bulgaria to start off. It wasn’t the typical Smith performance most US fans are used to. Something seemed out of sync throughout as Nikogosyan found success by catching Smith off balance a couple of times in the second period after running up a 5-0 lead in the first. The Storm wrestler never really found his rhythm but a chance at both redemption and a bronze medal awaits tomorrow.
In his first repechage bout Smith will be taking on two-time Asian Championships bronze Tomohiro Inoue (JPN), who also picked up a tournament win at the Dave Schultz Memorial back in November. An Olympian in 2016, Inoue is a pressure-first athlete with an arsenal that includes a nifty arm throw and walloping headlock, though neither of those were on display against Nikogosyan in the semis, as the Frenchman blew his doors off en-route to a tech fall.
Ryan Mango (63 kg, Army/WCAP) was stunningly impressive in his first match of the day. He and 2016 Junior World champ Dato Chkhartishvili (GEO) lit up the scoreboard with exciting throws before Mango ended the proceedings late in the second via fall. 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shinbu Ota (JPN, world no. 2) got the better of Mango in the quarterfinals to put the American’s tournament in limbo. With as hot as Ota has been lately, a reappearance by Mango tomorrow seemed likely just the same. Unfortunately for Mango and the US squad, Ota was blitzed in the semis by Bulgaria’s Nikolay Vichev.
The remaining tournament schedule can be found below. Action begins tomorrow morning at 10:00 am local time (4:00 am EST) with medal matches set for 5:00 pm (11:00 am EST). To watch live, hop on over to here.
Friday, March 23rd
10:00 am (elimination rounds): 87 kg, 97 kg, 130 kg; (repechage): 55 kg, 63 kg, 72 kg, 82 kg
4:00 pm (semifinals): 87 kg, 97 kg, 130 kg
5:00 pm (finals): 55 kg, 63 kg, 72 kg, 82 kg
Saturday, March 24th
10:00 am (elimination rounds): 60 kg, 67 kg, 77 kg; (repechage): 87 kg, 97 kg, 130 kg
4:00 pm (semifinals): 60 kg, 67 kg, 77 kg
5:00 pm (finals): 87 kg, 97 kg, 130 kg
Sunday, March 25th
10:00 am (repechage): 60 kg, 67 kg, 77 kg
3:00 pm (finals): 60 kg, 67 kg, 77 kg
2018 DAN KOLOV-NIKOLA PETROV CUP
MARCH 22-25 — SOFIA, BULGARIA
TEAM USA GRECO-ROMAN DAY 1 RESULTS
63 kg — Ryan Mango (Army/WCAP)
WIN Dato Chkhartishvili (GEO) via fall
LOSS Shinobu Ota (JPN) 12-2, TF
72 kg — Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm)
LOSS Evrik Nikogosyan (FRA) 9-0, TF