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THOR MASTERS UPDATE: Jones Downs Lizatovic

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"Wildman Sam" Sammy Jones -- Photo: Tony Rotundo

Just over six weeks ago, it was Ivan Lizatovic (63 kg, CRO) who ended Sammy Jones‘ (Sunkist/CTT) run at the Grand Prix Zagreb Open. This morning in Denmark, Jones repaid the favor and did so in one-sided fashion.

Day 2 of Thor Masters 2023 is ongoing and began at 10:00am local time from Nykobing Falster, Denmark (5:00am ET) and is streaming live on the event’s official website.

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Two-time US World Team representative Jones went 1-1 on Friday to stay alive in pool competition. He had fallen via decision to William Reenburg (DEN) in his first match but rebounded with a thunderous pin at the expense of Jozsef Andrazsi (HUN). The win against Andrazsi put Jones in the third round of pool action opposite Lizatovic — and now the American is one win away from guaranteeing a medal chance. In fact, if Jones is successful in Round 4, where he meet Aker Schmid (AUT), his pursuit of a bronze medal could be upgraded to an appearance in the gold-medal final.

The machinations on the parts of both Jones and Lizatovic were tenuous to start their Round 3 affair. Lizatovic, European bronze in ’17, used his advantage in stature to bully Jones in space and hint towards the boundary. There was not much production in this regard, for either athlete, and passivity was called on Jones. Lizatovic went for his lock, nothing was doing, and they reset. With time running short in the opening period, Lizatovic was in on the hands and generated an off-balance before dipping back for a throw attempt; however, Jones wasn’t going anywhere, and instead re-attacked to get behind for a takedown. He then immediately converted a gutwrench to go up 4-1 entering the break.

The tactics Lizatovic employed in the beginning phase of the bout were brought to bear once again in the second. He plodded and leg-drove Jones, who was scampering around the boundary’s perimeter to avoid a step-out. Eventually, after they meandered towards the center, Lizatovic zipped his arm for a reach-around. Jones — clearly the quicker and more maneuverable of the pair — circled to face Lizatovic and darted forth to compel exposure. Lizatovic hastily went prone, and Jones cranked a gutwrench to widen his lead to 8-1, which represented the final score.

A win over Schmid, as well as a Lizatovic victory over Reenburg, would elevate Jones to the top of Pool B. In Pool A, Alex Bica (SWE) is 3-0 thus far.


The potential medal runs for six of Jones’ countrymen were brought to a halt Saturday morning. Max Black (NYAC/NTS) and Logan Savvy (NYAC) were both eliminated from 60 kg’s Pool A. Black fell to Mateusz Szewczuk (POL) 3-1 and Savvy was defeated by Georgi Tibilov (SRB) via VSU.

At 67 kilograms, Lenny Merkin (NYAC) was decisioned by reigning World Champion Sebastian Nad (SRB) 6-1, Robert Perez III (Sunkist) dropped a 4-0 loss to ’17 World silver Mateusz Bernatek (POL), and ’21 Junior World Team member Dominic Damon (NMU/NTS) was defeated by Roman Pacurkowski (POL).

’21 World Team member Jesse Porter (77 kg, NYAC) got his points in against Aleksa Ilic (SRB) and seemed on the right track until ultimately being turned back 8-7.

Full USA results will be available following the medal rounds scheduled for later today.

Thor Masters 2023 Schedule

Saturday, March 25
10:00am-3:30pm — Preliminary rounds
3:30pm-4:00pm — Bronze medal rounds
4:30pm-6:00pm — Finals

Fans can watch live via this link.

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Listen to “5PM053: Northern Michigan assistant Parker Betts and USMC Captain Jamel Johnson” on Spreaker.

Listen to “5PM52: Two-Time Olympian Jim Gruenwald” on Spreaker.

Listen to “5PM51: Lining up with Tanner Farmer” on Spreaker.

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