Greco-Roman at the 2023 Asian Championships is taking place this week in Astana, Kazakhstan. From a team perspective, Iran is considered the far–and-away favorites (as has been the case on an annual basis) with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Japan following in lockstep with their own formidable rosters.
When it comes to individual athletes, there is certainly one upon whom most eyes will be fixed: ’12 Olympic/’13 World Champion Kim Hyeon-Woo (KOR). Kim, 33, has slowed down in terms of activity over the past three years. His most recent appearance was at the ’22 Worlds, where he placed fifth; prior to that, he wound up seventh in the ’22 Asian Championships. The pandemic stymied Kim in more ways than one. Just before the Asian Olympic Games Qualifier in ’21, virtually the entire Korean delegation was x’ed out due to positive COVID tests (Norway had a similar issue that spring entering the final phase of Tokyo qualifying).
But as Kim demonstrated in September, he may still have some steam left in the engine. At Belgrade ’22, he defeated Johnny Bur (FRA), two-time World bronze Mohammadali Geraei (IRI), and ’19 World silver Aram Vardanyan (UZB) to make the semifinal. Eventual champ Azkhol Makhmudov (KGZ) would prevail over him in the semifinal before Yunus Basar (TUR) dashed Kim’s hopes for a bronze with a 4-1 decision. Makhmudov is expected to rise above the field in Astana this week, and Vardanyan is entered, as well; but discounting Kim’s chances could prove to be an error, provided he is healthy.
Three European Championships Rosters
Later this month is the higher-profile (but oft less exciting) European Championships in Zagreb, Croatia (beginning on April 21). Most Euro nations have solidified their rosters but three in particular have publicly revealed who it is they will be sending to the event.
Senior results from World and European Championships included only. This is to bypass overloading credentials per athlete at the risk of obscuring what are otherwise outstanding achievements acquired elsewhere (e.g., Istvan Takacs won the U23 World Championships in October and was a U20 World Champion in ’19).
55 kg: Stefan Grigorov
60 kg: Edmond Nazaryan — ’22 World silver, ’20 European Championships gold, ’22 European Championships silver
63 kg: Abu-Muslim Amaev
67 kg: Ivo Iliev
72 kg: Deyvid Dimitrov
77 kg: Aik Mnatsakanyan — Two-time World bronze, two-time European Championships bronze
82 kg: Rosian Dermanski
87 kg: Semyon Novikov — ’20 European Championships gold
97 kg: Kiril Milov — Two-time World silver, ’22 European Championships gold, ’19 European Championships silver
55 kg: Fabian Schmitt — ’19 European Championships bronze
60 kg: Christopher Krämer
67 kg: Witalis Laszowski
72 kg: Michael Widmayer
77 kg: Samuel Bellscheidt
82 kg: Roland Schwarz — ’21 World bronze
87 kg: Hannes Wagner — 2X European Championships bronze
97 kg: Peter Oehler
130 kg: Franz Richter
60 kg: Erik Torba — ’20 European Championships bronze
63 kg: Krisztián Kecskeméti
67 kg: Ádám Pohilec
72 kg: Róbert Fritsch — ’22 European Championships gold, ’21 European Championships bronze
77 kg: Zoltán Lévai — ’22 World silver, ’20 European Championships silver
82 kg: Erik Szilvássy — ’19 European Championships bronze
87 kg: István Takács
97 kg: Tamás Lévai — — ’22 World bronze, ’21 U23 World Champion, ’18 U23 World bronze, ’22 European Championships bronze
130 kg: Dáriusz Vitek — ’22 European Championships bronze
As they wait with high anticipation to discover when and how their athletes might be able to return to sanctioned international competition, Russia is carrying on with the fourth edition of the Poddubny Wrestling League. Scheduled for April 26 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, a loaded card of Greco-Roman bouts is on the table headlined by multiple-time World/Olympic Champion Roman Vlasov (77 kg, RUS) versus the aforementioned Makhmudov.
A variety of foreigners are slated to appear, as well. Reigning World Champion Zholaman Sharshenbekov (60 kg, KGZ) is back with the PWL and will take on fellow recent PWL winner Dinislam Bammatov. Olympic champ Luis Orta Sanchez (67 kg, CUB), one more from outside of Russia to have competed (and triumphed) at the Poddubny Wrestling League, is set to square off against Aslan Visaitov.
The entire card is listed below. PWL 4 is available via pay-per-view and can be purchased at this link.
60 kg: Dinislam Bammatov (RUS) vs. Zholaman Sharshenbekov (KGZ)
67 kg: Aslan Visaitov (RUS) vs. Luis Orta Sanchez (CUB)
77 kg: Adlet Tyulyubaev (RUS) vs. Sanan Suleymanov (AZE)
77 kg: Malkhas Amoyan (ARM) vs. Sergey Stepanov (RUS)
77 kg: Sergey Kutuzov (RUS) vs. Aik Mnatsakanian (BUL)
Main Event — 77 kg: Roman Vlasov (RUS) vs. Azkhol Makhmudov (KGZ)
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