USA Greco

Johnson Downed by Armenia; USA Finishes 2023 World Championships

xavier johnson, repechage, poghosyan
Xavier Johnson -- Photo: Tony Rotundo

Only one American athlete suited up for the fourth and final day of Greco-Roman in Belgrade. Xavier Johnson (63 kg, Army/WCAP) had gone 1-1 on Saturday following a destructive victory over India’s Vikram Kurade and a defeat to recent World medalist Murad Mammadov (AZE). But because Mammadov advanced to the gold-medal match, Johnson was back in action this morning with a chance to, potentially, compete for bronze. Given his opposition in the opening repechage round, it was going to be a difficult challenge.

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Repechage on Day 4 of the 2023 World Championships began at 4:30pm local time from Belgrade, Serbia and aired live in the US on FLOWrestling.

Johnson needed to get past two-time U23 World bronze Hrachya Poghosyan but the bout quickly unraveled in the Armenian’s favor after an early takedown. Poghosyan was able to secure a lift that netted four points from the ensuing par terre and closed Johnson out with a gutwrench for two more. Poghosyan will face Georgi Tibilov (SRB) for bronze.

Johnson, 27, enjoyed a strong comeback season on the heels of a two-year absence in the wake of the All-Marine Team’s practical dissolution as a program, for whom he had previously competed. With still plenty of promise remaining in his wrestling aspirations, Johnson left the Marines in order to join Army/WCAP. An injury temporarily disrupted his return this year but a solid performance at the Nationals coupled with a triumph at the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament propelled him right back towards the top. Johnson then took two straight matches from multi-time National Champion Hayden Tuma (Suples) at Final X: Newark, which resulted in his making the Senior World Team for a first time.

Notes and other insights from the 2023 World Championships will be available in the forthcoming Monday Roundup. 

2023 WC DAY 1 RECAP 

2023 World Championships

September 21-24 — Belgrade, SRB


63 kg: Xavier Johnson (Army/WCAP)
LOSS Hrachya Poghosyan (ARM) 8-0, TF

*Placings will be updated as they become official

55 kg: Brady Koontz (TMWC/Dubuque RTC) — 10th
WON Jeon Hyeokjin (KOR) 7-3
LOSS Denis Mihai (ROU) 9-0, TF

60 kg: Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP) — 33rd
LOSS Mehdi Mohsen Nejad (IRI) 7-0

63 kg: Xavier Johnson (Army/WCAP) — 10th
WON Vikram Kurade (UWW) 10-0, TF
LOSS Murad Mammadov (AZE) 3-1
LOSS Hrachya Poghosyan (ARM) 8-0, TF

67 kg: Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP) — 12th
WON Valentin Petic (MDA) 5-1
WON Husiyuetu (CHN) 3-1
LOSS Slavik Galstyan (ARM) 9-0, TF

72 kg: Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) — 8th
WON Kamil Czarnecki (POL) via fall
LOSS Ibragim Magomedov (KAZ) 5-1

77 kg: Kamal Bey (Army/WCAP) — 10th
WON Fabio Dietsche (SUI) 4-1
LOSS Sanan Suleymanov (AZE) 8-0, TF
WON Jonni Sarkkinen (FIN) 7-3
LOSS Alexandrin Gutu (MDA) 3-3 (criteria)

82 kg: Spencer Woods (Army/WCAP) — 18th
LOSS Stanislaw Shafarenko (AIN) 5-3

87 kg: Zac Braunagel (IRTC)
WON Azym Annammedov (TKM) 8-3
LOSS Zhan Belenyuk (UKR) 5-1

97 kg: Joe Rau (TMWC) — 19th
WON Filip Smetko (CRO) 4-1
LOSS Artur Aleksanyan (ARM) 9-0, TF
LOSS Nicu Ojog (ROU) via fall

130 kg: Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist) — 10th
WON Marcel Albini (CZE) via fall
LOSS Romas Fridrikas (LTU) via fall

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Listen to “5PM55: Recapping Final X with Dennis Hall with words from Koontz, Braunagel and Hafizov” on Spreaker.

Listen to “5PM54: WCAP’s Ryan Epps and a Final X Greco-Roman Preview” on Spreaker.

Listen to “5PM53: Northern Michigan assistant Parker Betts and USMC Captain Jamel Johnson” on Spreaker.

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