USA Greco

BIG TIME: Improved Farmer With Pathway to Bronze in Bulgaria

tanner farmer, nikola petrov
Tanner Farmer -- Image: Bulgarian Wrestling Federation

Tanner Farmer‘s (130 kg, NYAC/IRTC, 5PM #3) first overseas tour has centered around his own development into an international-caliber competitor. Such was the stated objective on the part of National Team head coach Matt Lindland pertaining to the entire roster, but Farmer’s name was highlighted among the group. The entire narrative surrounding the former Division I football player (and eventual NAIA runner-up) has been one of constant upgrades. From one event to the next, Farmer has demonstrated improvement in multiple areas. Now following substantive training in Croatia as well as his first overseas appearance nearly three weeks ago, some were wondering what type of gains the big man might make next, and what they might look like.

What they look like is a potential chance for bronze from one of the sport’s most storied events.

Day 2 of the 2022 Nikola Petrov Memorial began at 10:30am local time in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria (3:30am ET) and aired live on YouTube.

Starting off in the round-of-16 against Singh Mehar (IND), Farmer opted to test the waters with a two-on-one. He has been steadily workshopping the hold, though his attempt to gain a handle early on in this bout was fleeting. More playback, and then it was Mehar who decided to check the arm. Farmer pummeled out, then back in, moving deliberately compared to the bullrushing style with which he has become associated. The first score occurred just off the edge when Farmer zipped an arm drag that was immediately converted into a takedown. A follow-up gut was likewise hastily executed though there were no points awarded for continuation.

Towards the latter stages of the first period, Mehar was deemed passive. Par terre top has been a progression for Farmer as he develops on the Senior level. But, combined with excellent coaching at home along with several weeks of international training, he has apparently improved leaps and bounds. In short, he ran the string.

From top, Farmer achieved his lock, and rotated once; one mindful adjustment later, Mehar was out of the game after being gutted twice more. The 9-0 tech provided Farmer his first Senior international victory in conjunction with a trip to the quarterfinal opposite one of the bracket’s most prominent names.

’20 European Championships gold Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu (ROU) awaited next. US fans — particularly those who follow the classical style closely — are likely familiar with the Romanian. In the past he had battled ’16 Olympian Robby Smith; and more recently, ’21 World Team member Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist, 5PM #1). It was a step-up in competition for Farmer, perhaps in a major way, and he was ready for it.

That does not mean the result turned out favorably for the American.

But Farmer was more than in the running against Alexuc-Ciurariu, and it was due in large part to that improved gutwrench. The beginning of the bout unfolded with both athletes signing up for a hand-fight. A feeling-out process more than anything else, with neither gaining a significant positional advantage. Thus, passivity — on Alexuc-Ciurariu. This was Farmer’s best chance to make a sizable dent and he didn’t miss it. Three turns, while requiring an athletic tweak for good measure, put Farmer ahead 7-0 entering intermission.

The script flipped, in a bad way for the US, :30 into the second. Farmer and Alexuc-Ciurariu became embroiled in a bodylock position, with the latter locking and hipping. It was an instant four-point yield in the other direction, but the points would not matter as Alexuc-Ciurariu was soon awarded the victory via fall.

However — Farmer has received a second opportunity to earn a Petrov medal. Alexuc-Ciurariu quickly went over countryman Lenny Berei in the semifinal round, thereby pulling Farmer back into the tournament’s repechage where he will face two-time Junior World medalist Roman Kim (KGZ). Wrestling resumes tomorrow (Saturday) at 10:30am local time in Veliko Tarnovo (3:30am ET). Medal rounds are scheduled to begin at 6:00pm (11:00am ET).


  • ’21 World bronze G’Angelo Hancock (97 kg, Sunkist, world #5, 5PM #1) was originally penciled in to compete on Friday but was a late scratch. Hancock has further training ahead in both Sweden and Hungary following the US delegation’s departure from Bulgaria. Aside from that, he has had an itinerary full of travel recently. Last Saturday, the 24-year-old represented one half of the only Greco-Roman match on the Bout at the Ballpark card in Texas. Hancock emerged victorious thanks to three bodylocks at the expense of Egypt’s Ahmed Hassan.
  • Just prior to Alexuc-Ciurariu’s (suspiciously quick) destruction of Berei, the top side semifinal in the 130 kg bracket transpired between Radoslav Georgiev (BUL) and Delian Alishahi (SUI). While the contest never crossed the line into an all-out brawl, things became heated when Georgiev was on the receiving end of numerous inadvertent headbutts, only one of which compelled a warning from the official. Eventually, Georgiev reciprocated in the form of shoulder checks and by coming up with his own head. He was thusly cautioned twice in succession before a third penalty halted the bout in Alishai’s favor.
  • On Saturday, the US will send out Robert Perez III (67 kg, Sunkist) — who will begin in the round-of-16 against the winner between ’17 Cadet World silver Ashu Ashu (IND) and Hooda Malkit (IND) — and Gabriel Townsell (60 kg, California RTC), whose first Senior international opponent will be Nedyalko Petrov of home country Bulgaria.


February 17-20 — Veliko Tarnovo, BUL


130 kg: Tanner Farmer (NYAC/IRTC)
WON Singh Mehar (IND) 9-0, TF
LOSS Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu (ROU) via fall
vs. Roman Kim (KGZ)

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