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Russia Dominant Early, Azerbaijan Victorious at Greco-Roman World Cup

2017 Greco-Roman World Cup Round 1 results
Photo: UWW

All the eyes were going to be fixed on a Russia/Iran meeting at the 2017 Greco-Roman World Cup and while that meet is soon to materialize, the juggernaut from the Eastern Bloc already notched its first win of the event. Wrestling began at 9:00am local time in Abadan City, Iran and can be viewed live on

Taking on a depleted Kazakhstan roster comprised primarily of the nation’s number two and three athletes, Russia didn’t bring its big guns to the party but still proved victorious in all eight bouts. Most of the battles were close, however. At 80 kilograms, reigning World Military champ and 2014 Olympic silver medalist Evgeny Saleev (RUS, world no. 9) escaped by the skin of his teeth against Azamat Kustubayev (KAZ) in a tension-filled match decided by criteria. Saleev, an explosive character in par terre, was pressed early and often on the feet as Kustubayev went to work in the tie-ups, moving Saleev off his spot. Down 1-0 and with the situation increasingly in doubt, Saleev got a point back late to steal the win.

Russia, which had long ago locked up the team victory, received a spark at 130 kilos. Young Boris Vainshtein demonstrated an encouragingly high rate of activity under the spotlight. Vainshtein took it to Damir Kuzembayev repeatedly, setting the pace and picking up opportunistic points in a 5-1 win. 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Sergey Semenov (RUS, world no. 3) is expected to enter into the fray in the next round when Russia takes on the host country.

Iran did just fine in its tangle with fellow Group B team Germany. Saeid Abdvali (IRI, world no. 4) looked sharp at 75 kilos as he pecked and prodded his way through Florian Neiumaier 7-2. Hossein Nouri was similarly on his game, using a variety of stiff short-drags and choppy hand-fighting tactics to claw past Germany’s 85 kilogram understudy Ramsin Azizsir 2-1. Azizsir, if you remember, is in for 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Denis Kudla (world no. 3), who is being held out of the event by Germany in favor of the U23 European Championships.

Azerbaijan’s Nuriyev clinches team victory over Turkey with upset over Ildem

If Rovshan Baryamov (59 kg, AZE, world no. 6) doesn’t slip up, there would have been more breathing room.

Two-time Olympic silver Bayramov was shocked by Hammet Rustem (TUR) in the opening bout of the Azerbaijan/Turkey Group A dual via an arena-rattling fall. Rustem was not intimidated in the least and came right at Bayramov, upsetting the former World Champion’s rhythm. Rustem stepped over on a scramble to pick up two points, but Bayramov answered back with two of his own when he briefly exposed the Turkish wrestler. This had the look of a shootout right away, something Iranian fans can’t get enough of.

Bayramov got a little too eager and that is what led to his demise. He came in on Rustem with high double underhooks wanting to sag it back and arch over. Rustem, his body extending, coiled overhooks and went with the momentum, landing on top of Bayramov with a headlock and effortlessly held on for the pin. Unlike cumulative team scoring, which is common in American folkstyle, the pin was only good for one point for Turkey.

Turkey got wins at 66 kg and 80 kg by Atakan Yuksel and Aslan Atem (world no. 2, who defeated Rafik Husyenov), respectively, but Azerbaijan took the final three bouts to seal the deal, the biggest of which came at 98 kilograms. Orkhan Nuriyev (AZE) served Rio bronze medalist Cenk Ildem (world no. 4) his second upset loss in four months when he overcame the Turk 3-1 to clinch the win for Azerbaijan. American fans may remember that in November, G’Angelo Hancock (NYAC, world no. 18) also beat Ildem at the World Wrestling Clubs Cup.

Round 2 of group competition is about to begin. We will be back to recap the goings on of the first day at the 2017 Greco-Roman World Cup and provide further analysis when the event wraps up tomorrow. The action is streaming live today and tomorrow on

2017 Greco-Roman World Cup — Round 1

Group A


59 kgStepan Maryanyan (RUS) def. Zhanserik Sarsenbiyev (KAZ) 3-1
66 kg: Aleksai Kiiankin (RUS) def. Daniyar Kalenov (KAZ) 2-1
71 kg: Yuri Denisov (RUS) def. Demeu Zhadrayev (KAZ) 4-2
75 kg: Chingis Labazanov (RUS) def. Maxat Yerezhepov (KAZ) 5-1
80 kg: Adlan Akiev (RUS) def. Daulet Zhaxylykov (KAZ) 5-1
85 kg: Evegeny Saleev (RUS) def. Azamat Kustubayev (KAZ) 1-1 (criteria)
98 kg: Maksim Safarian (RUS) def. Alimkhan Syzdykov (KAZ) 8-1
130 kg: Boris Vainshtein (RUS) def. Damir Kuzembayev (KAZ) 5-1


59 kg: Mohesen Haji Pour (IRI) def. Christoph Kraemer (GER) 2-0
66 kg:
Mehdi Zeidvand (IRI) def. Erik Weiss (GER) 2-0
71 kg:
Mohammadali Geraei (IRI) def. Maxmillian Schwabe (GER) 7-0
75 kg:
Saied Abdvali (IRI) def. Florian Neumaier (GER) 7-2
80 kg:
Yousef Ghaderian (IRI) def. Pascal Eisele (GER) 11-2, TF
85 kg:
Hossein Nouri (IRI) def. Ramsin Azizsir (GER) 2-1
98 kg: 
Seyedmostafa Salehizadeh (IRI) def. Oliver Hassler (GER) 5-0
130 kg:
Eduard Popp (GER) def. Amir Ghasemi (IRI) 5-2

Group B


59 kg: Hammet Rustem (TUR) def. Rovshan Bayramov (AZE) via fall (6-3)
66 kg:
Atakan Yuksel (TUR) def. Kamran Mammadov (AZE) 5-2
71 kg:
Hasan Aliyev (AZE) def. Ilker Sonmez (TUR) 1-1 (criteria)
75 kg:
Elvin Mursaliyev (AZE) def. Emrah Kus (TUR) 3-1
80 kg:
Alan Atem (TUR) def. Rafik Huseynov (AZE) 4-2
85 kg:
Islam Abbasov (AZE) def. Metahan Basar (TUR) 7-1
98 kg:
Orkhan Nuriyev (AZE) def. Cenk Ildem (TUR) 3-1
130 kg:
Sabah Shariati (AZE) def. Ali Arslan (TUR) 2-0


59 kg: Zhora Abovian (UKR) def. Maksim Kazharski (BLR) 8-4
66 kg:
Parvis Naribov (UKR) def. Yaraslau Kardash (BLR) 3-2
71 kg: Pavel Liakh (BLR) def. Ruslan Israfilov (UKR) 2-0
75 kg: Mykola Daragan (UKR) def. Yahor Kasiankou via fall (9-1)
80 kg: Dmytro Pyshkov (UKR) def. Radzik Kuliyeu (BLR) 3-0
85 kg: Iurii Shkriuba (UKR) def. Mikalai Stadub (BLR) 2-1
98 kg: Volodymir Vasilyev (UKR) def. Yahor Yaskavets (BLR) 7-1
130 kg: Heorhi Chuhashvili (BLR) def. Oleksandr Chernetskyy (UKR) 4-4 (criteria)

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