Exauce Mukubu (82 kg, NOR) will leave Bucharest with a silver medal. Although the hardware represents a significant achievement at this stage of his career, it is doubtful that he is pleased with how his performance ended.
The final round on Day 2 of the 2023 U23 European Championships began at 6:00pm local time from Bucharest, Romania and aired live in the US on FLOWrestling.
’22 U23 World champ Mukubu wasted no time delivering heavy pressure on Jonni Sarkkinen‘s (FIN) head as the match got underway. One quick snap ole’d Sarkkinen, whose feet had no choice but to scamper forward. Another snap from Mukubu led to him lassoing Sarkkinen’s head with his right arm whilst grasping an underhook with his left. The referee felt that the position was static, so he ordered a reset. The whistle blew to resume action and, immediately, Mukubu quickly assumed the same hold. This time, he was able to upgrade to a front headlock, but Sarkkinen eventually wriggled free. Soon both athletes were walking the tightrope near the edge with Mukubu appearing to have scored a step-out point; but after a challenge from Finland, the point was wiped away and given to Sarkkinen.
The complexion of the match changed following the next restart. As Mukubu was in hot pursuit towards the boundary, Sarkkinen laced an arm throw in response that garnered four points.
The second period unfolded with Mukubu closing in with a two-on-one. He then briefly worked the position again after Sarkkinen managed to divert into a different tie-up. Before long, they were mired in a flurry at the boundary and — similar to the first-period step-out sequence — Mukubu looked like he would be the one to nab the point but instead it was Sarkkinen who benefited. That put the Norwegian athlete’s deficit at 6-0, and there was no further scoring in the contest.
Over the past nine months, Mukubu’s ledger has been outstanding. Prior to this week’s U23 European Championships, he had earned a medal in seven of eight events, with four golds. Seven of those eight performances occurred at the Senior level. The only one that was not happened to be the U23 Worlds from October, where he emerged as the champion. With the silver from today’s U23 European Championship final, it is now eight of nine events in which he has medaled since last June and his fifth gold-medal match.
2023 U23 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
March 13-15 — Bucharest, ROU
Marcel Hein (DEN) — 12th
LOSS Branko Kovacevic (SRB) 7-1
Exauce Mukubu (NOR) — SILVER
WON Ismayil Rzayev (AZE) 9-0, TF
WON Adam Gardziola (POL) 9-1, TF
WON Ilias Pagkalidis (GRE) 8-0, TF
LOSS Jonni Sarkkinen (FIN) 6-0
Turpal Bisultanov (DEN) — SILVER
WON Patrik Gordan (ROU) 8-0, TF
WON Hovhannes Harutyunyan (ARM) 7-0
WON Gabriel Lupasco (MDA) 9-0, TF
LOSS David Losonczi (HUN) 4-3
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