Two-time US National Champion Nick Boykin (97 kg, Sunkist) fought as hard as he could but the end result did not go his way, and an American Greco-Roman squad is exiting another U23 Worlds the same way all the rest of them have: without a medal-winning performance.
The third and final day of Greco-Roman at the 2022 U23 World Championships in Pontevedra, Spain began at 10:30am local time (4:30am ET) and streamed live in the US on FLOWrestling.
After Boykin fell in Tuesday’s qualification round to Alex Szoke (HUN), he was given a new lease on life in the repechage round this morning. That is because Szoke — a Senior World silver in ’21 — advanced straight through to the final round that was scheduled for today (and eventually prevailed). The road to a potential bronze for Boykin thus required three victories. He would have needed two just to make it to the bronze match, where Brazil’s Igor Alves de Queiroz was already lying in wait.
Boykin’s opposition on Wednesday morning was Luka Katic (SRB), and soon after the bout began action was abruptly halted. Katic’s head had crashed into the left eye of Boykin, who needed a few moments to clear the mechanism. Wrestling resumed with Katic not doing much other than digging at the wrists, but it was enough for the officials to select him as the beneficiary of the first passivity call. At the whistle, Boykin nearly reversed after bounding up and off of his hips — but the narrow window disappeared quickly, and Katic re-settled in top position before turning Boykin thrice with a gutwrench. A nifty reach-around from Boykin resulted in a takedown that trimmed his deficit to 7-2, which is where the score remained heading into the break.
Katic was then dinged for passive early in the second period. Boykin chose to swim around front for a reverse lock, though Katic stayed pasted to the tarp on the subsequent attempt. Time had become a factor with Serbia holding a 7-3 lead. Boykin did not panic; instead, he diligently worked inside and soon sliced Katic with a left-side underhook that he used to generate an opportunity for points towards the boundary. A most brief scramble it was, but good for a step-out point as less than :60 hung on the clock. Down by three, Boykin hunted for tie-ups he liked, including a front-headlock hold that compelled the official to deliver a warning. Katic’s only job at this stage was to avoid a big mistake, which he did to the tune of a 7-4 decision victory.
Boykin, originally of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, has become one of the United States’ most prolific and successful young athletes. In addition to his two Senior National titles, Boykin was a runner-up at the ’21 World Team Trials, a Junior World Team member in ’19, and a U23 World representative last year. He is currently enrolled at Ohio State University.
’22 U23 World Championships Notes:
- The ’22 US U23 World Team accumulated five earned victories in Pontevedra. Last year, Team USA accounted for the same number at the U23 Worlds, except two wins were the result of forfeits. The other three came from Taylor LaMont, who won two matches en-route to finishing fifth, and Boykin.
- Of the Americans’ five combined wins in ’22, two were stoppages. Peyton Omania (67 kg, NYAC/CYC) recorded a pin and Cohlton Schultz (130 kg, Sunkist) won via VSU.
- Two US athletes fell to eventual medalists: Omania (Kyotaro Sogabe, JPN, bronze); and of course, Boykin, who was defeated by champ Szoke.
2022 U23 World Championships
October 17-19 — Pontevedra, Spain
55 kg: Camden Russell (MWC) — 8th
WON Abduvali Rahimbayev (TKM) 11-5
LOSS Ken Matsui (JPN) 8-2
60 kg: Phillip Moomey (TMWC/Spartan RTC) — 9th
WON Georgios Scarpello (GER) 7-5
LOSS Nurmukhammet Abdullaev (KGZ) 8-0, TF
63 kg: Mason Hartshorn (West Coast Greco RTC) — 15th
LOSS Ahmed Hussein Baghdouda (EGY) 6-0
67 kg: Peyton Omania (NYAC/CYC) — 7th
WON Aleksander Mielewczyk (POL) via fall
WON Abdelrahman Mohamed Omar (EGY) 7-0
LOSS Kyotaro Sogabe (JPN) 13-4, TF
72 kg: Benji Peak (Sunkist/NTS) — 23rd
LOSS Irfan Mirzoiev (UKR) 9-0, TF
77 kg: Britton Holmes (Army/WCAP) — 16th
LOSS Lamjed Maafi (TUN) 10-1, TF
82 kg: Ty Cunningham (MWC) — 18th
LOSS Semion Brekkeli (MDA) 9-1, TF
87 kg: Michial Foy (Minnesota Storm) — 18th
LOSS Filip Smetko (CRO) 4-0
97 kg: Nick Boykin (Sunkist/Ohio RTC) — 12th
LOSS Alex Szoke (HUN) 9-0, TF
LOSS Luka Katic (SRB) 7-4
130 kg: Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist) — 7th
WON Jonovan Smith (PUR) 9-0, TF
LOSS Sarkhan Mammadov (AZE) 5-1
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