USA Greco

HWT FLEX: Attao Attains JR World Bronze; Jacobson Ends Trip on High Note

aden attao 2022 u20 world bronze medalist
Aden Attao -- Photo: Kostadin Andonov

Aden Attao (130 kg, Suples) is now a U20 World bronze medalist. Headlocks and other avenues of scoring helped his cause but there was more to what was a sterling performance than offensive gusto. Attao was also motivated, confident, and though his first three bouts didn’t require it, in the type of physical condition high-level competition tends to demand.

The medal round on Day 2 of the 2022 U20 World Championships began at 6:00pm local time from Sofia, Bulgaria and aired live in the US on FLOWrestling.

not all roads lead to gold, jim gruenwald

The key for Attao against Fekry Mohamed Eissa (EGY) was not complicated: stay patient and wait for openings to hit the big moves that drew so much attention the day prior. Nimbleness played a role, as well.

It was Eissa who nearly took command once the match got underway. He had used a two-on-one targeting Attao’s left arm and slithered behind, in the process coming close to securing a takedown. But before that could happen, Attao swiftly stepped over and found himself with the chance for a front headlock. One adjusting snap and misdirection later, Eissa was yanked head-over-heels to provide Attao with four points — though the Egyptian did earn two for exposure after scrambling free. They re-engaged following the reset, with both athletes pawing at what were mainly quickly disappearing tie-ups. The next big action occurred soon enough. Eissa had plodded into double underhooks; Attao feigned a pause, negotiated proper leverage, and whammed a headlock that incited a reaction from the crowd. The booming score also put him up comfortably by a score of 8-2.

attao front headlock

Aden Attao (blue, bottom) used a tight front headlock to race ahead 4-0 against Fekry Mohamed Eissa (EGY) on Saturday and eventually prevailed 11-3 to earn U20 World bronze at 130 kilograms. (Photo: Kostadin Andonov)

Midway through the second period, Eissa bumped Attao off the boundary to trim his deficit to five. It was not a sign that the American was slowing down, however. A reset, and then Attao was energetically back in the trenches gunning for potential attacks. With under a minute to go, double under’s allowed for a second-effort step-out point, which caused Eissa to shake his head in frustration. Another restart, and high double underhooks for Attao compelled Eissa to respond with a desperation headlock attempt. The try was loose and snuffed out immediately by Attao, who covered for a takedown that both ended the match and earned him U20 World bronze.

The bronze for Attao gives the United States their 13th Junior World medal at heavyweight as well as their fifth in nine years. The most recent string of heavyweight medal-winners started with Sam Stoll’s bronze in ’13; it continued with Adam Coon (bronze, ’14); then a three-year break before Cohlton Schultz (bronze, ’18; silver, ’19).

attao bronze

Attao (second from right) on the 2022 U20 World Championships podium with his bronze medal. (Photo: UWW)

Jacobson Goes 1-1 in Repechage

US National Team member Payton Jacobson (77 kg, Sunkist/NTS) had a rough go of it on Day 1, falling to eventual World silver Yueksel Saricicek (TUR). But because Saricicek advanced all the way to the final, that meant “Pay-Jay” had a second chance this morning in the repechage round. His objective was to win out and, by extension, come away with bronze. While Jacobson’s journey to a podium spot wound up becoming cut short, he nevertheless reminded the audience why most peg his future as indeed a very bright one.

And he was all over Diego Macias Torres (MEX) in the first round of repechage — clawing, clashing, and divvying a two-on-one before Macias got heavy on a head-and-arm rest hold to help usher in passivity. From top par terre, Jacobson turned Macias twice but they returned to their feet sans additional points.

:30 into the second period, Macias was hit again for passivity, making the score 6-0. Jacobson enjoyed a cooling stroll around the circle until it was time for him to assume his place on top. The whistle blew, and Jacobson quickly locked a gutwrench to force the 8-0 stoppage.

Zeal was not in short supply for Jacobson against Khasay Hasanli (AZE) in the second round of repechage. As is custom, he was bringing heat inside as Hasanli tried to meet the pressure. There was no doubt that Azerbaijain was a stiffer challenge, which made the first passivity a curious affair. The call went to Hasanli, giving Jacobson the shot from top. He did not struggle to achieve his lock — but unlike Macias before him, Hasanli defended the turn attempt and walked into intermission down only by one point.

Passivity flipped in the second period. Either way, Jacobson would have to score again since the call provided Hasanli with the lead via criteria. That onus took on extra weight when Hasanli managed to rotate Jacobson once at the line to pick up two points along with the 3-1 advantage. Jacobson relentlessly pursued after that, and found sporadic success shuffling Hasanli around with a two-on-one. Alas, the scoring was capped, and Hasanli earning the decision by the same 3-1 score.

Black In the Hunt on Sunday

As reported earlier, Max Black (60 kg, NYAC/NTS) will be the lone Team USA rep in action on Sunday. Black — who was defeated by Saeid Esmaeili Leivesi (IRI) this morning — will take on Japan’s Koto Gomi in the first repechage round. The native of Colorado will need to defeat Gomi, Volodymyr Voitovych (UKR), and Nihat Mammadli (AZE) to leave Sofia with World bronze. Sunday’s repechage round gets a later start of 4:00pm local time (9:00am ET) and will be broadcast live in the United States on FLOWrestling.


  • Following two days at the 2022 U20 World Championships, Team USA’s record stands at 9-11 with all nine victories having been recorded either by fall or VSU (i.e., four pins and five tech’s).
  • ’22 is the sixth consecutive year (not counting ’20, when the event was cancelled) that the US has earned at least one medal at the Junior/U20 Worlds. In total, the Americans have taken home 11 pieces of hardware since the streak began in ’16 (one gold, three silvers, seven bronze).

2022 U20 World Championships

August 19-21 — Sofia, BUL


130 kg: Aden Attao (Suples) — BRONZE
WON Parvesh Parvesh (IND) via fall
WON Adolf Bazso (HUN) via fall
LOSS Mykhailo Vyshnyvetskiy 10-0, TF
WON Fekry Mohamed Eissa (EGY) 11-3, TF

77 kg: Payton Jacobson (Sunkist/NTS)
LOSS Yuksel Saricicek (TUR) 9-1, TF
WON Diego Macias Torres (MEX) 8-0, TF
LOSS Khasay Hasanli (AZE) 3-1


60 kg: Max Black (NYAC/NTS)
LOSS Saeid Esmaeili Leveisi (IRI) 9-0, TF
vs. Koto Gomi (JPN)

67 kg: Robert Perez III (Sunkist)
WON Shon Nadorgin (ISR) 8-0, TF
WON Zsolt Takacs (HUN) 8-0, TF
LOSS Din Koshkar (KAZ) 3-3 (criteria)

72 kg: Richard Fedalen (Warhawks)
WON Matthias Hauthaler (AUT) via fall
LOSS Georgios Barbanos (SWE) 13-4, TF

82 kg: Adrian Artsisheuskiy (NYAC)
WON Odysseas Roungeris (GRE) via fall
LOSS Leon Rivalta (ITA) via fall

97 kg: Christian Carroll (Midwest RTC)
LOSS Nuranbet Raimaly Uulu (KGZ) 9-7


55 kg: Jonathan Gurule (NMU/NTS)
LOSS Nuristan Suiorkulov (KGZ) 7-2

63 kg: Haiden Drury (UVRTC)
LOSS Ziya Babashov (AZE) 8-0, TF

87 kg: Kodiak Stephens (Beaver Dam RTC)
WON Surgeet Singh (IND) 8-0, TF
LOSS Robin Uspenski (EST) 2-1

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