It’s been real, Garrett Lowney.
Until today, 2000 Olympic bronze medalist Lowney was the last United States Junior Greco-Roman wrestler to win a World title. That is no longer the case. Kamal Bey (Sunkist) capped an exhilarating day of wrestling at the 2017 Junior World Championships to claim gold with the kind of breathless, heart-pounding performance that has become his calling card. There were numerous point-scoring sequences that created confusion but in the end, it was the former Illinois product and current Olympic Training Center athlete who reigned supreme.
Facing off against 2016 Cadet World Champion Akzhol Makhmudov (KGZ), it was Bey who slipped up first by giving up a step-out point on a near-throw. He was hardly bothered by it. That’s because he repaid the favor seconds later and forced Makhmudov out, knotting the score at 1-1. From here on, this affair was a cavalcade of throws, scrambles, near-misses, and nonstop action that brought excitement as well as confusion.
It was evident that the beginning phase of the bout served as the calm before the storm. Bey intently worked his way in on Makhmudov without over-extending, or at least not yet. He got his first chance at something big when the Kyrgyzstan wrestler opted for an ill-advised game of tug-of-war. Bey reeled Makhmudov into the clinch, his favorite position, and unloaded with a four-point bodylock. However, Makhmudov reversed before both wrestlers scrambled back to their feet. Makhmudov attempted his own throw near the edge but when he arched back, Bey landed directly on top to make the score 7-2. Chaos happened next.
Still in the first period, Makhmudov found his way behind Bey and went to lift. Bey bellied down, but Makhmudov was still able to execute a gutwrench. 7-6, Bey. Then, with his feet resting timidly on the boundary, Bey looped in double underhooks, pivoted, and pulled Makhmudov down for four. The fast-moving sequence necessitated an officials’ conference after which, the score was 11-6 in favor of the American. The second period beckoned.
The pace (understandably) slowed just a tick as the conclusive stanza got underway. If the first period was the equivalent to a barrage of uppercuts and overhand rights, the second started with jabs and feints. Bey warmed back up again with some tries at a few entries and a high dive. With a minute left, the sprint was on. Makhmudov locked double unders, sagging and adjusting so he could secure the position just right. Bey responded with double over’s and once again wanted to power the clasp over. When he did, Makhmudov went heavy and landed on Bey, and followed up with a gutwrench. Then Bey reversed for two of his own. All told, it was a four-point play for Makhmudov and two for Bey. Next, the US challenged (and lost). The score when all of the madness was settled — 13-11, Bey.
Only :30 remained, but that was still plenty of time for more wildness to ensue. Precious seconds disappeared. The Illinois kid, the Colorado kid, the hard case with unshakeable talent, he held the advantage as the finish line cascaded into view. Makhmudov, with one final desperate gasp, nestled a lock around Bey so as to throw. Just like every time before, or so it seems, Bey scrambled and adjusted to touch down on top. Two more points were added to the tally, and tack on another for Kyrgyzstan’s last-ditch challenge that was denied. The scoreboard read 16-11 for Kamal Bey, the 19-year-old now able to call himself the best in the world.
Dad Marz too much for first-timer Severado
Cevion Severado (50 kg, Xtreme RTC) was not in the original plans for the US. He was an alternate but not quite an afterthought. Plans changed. Severado shut up every naysayer and skeptic earlier in the day when he systematically took out three of the best and brightest age-group wrestlers at his weight on Planet Earth. He had one more match, a chance at gold. To see it through, it was going to take a special effort and unfortunately, the red-hot-prospect didn’t have quite the ammunition left in his arsenal to complete the mission. That’s only because the young man he was to do battle with, 2015 Cadet World Champion Poya Dad Marz (IRI), was simply too solid in every area.
Dad Marz seized the initiative by engaging hard in the ties. Severado didn’t look sheepish, but did appear as if he needed to get his sea legs under him. Maybe some nerves were working early. Naturally. Dad Marz got on the board with a passivity point, putting Severado behind the eight ball quickly. Coming towards the edge, Dad Marz wrangled around Severado and forced him off the boundary for a touch-down step-out and by extension, a 3-0 lead. Severado wanted to busy up the contest, he prodded in for tie-ups and angles he could do something with. The problem was, Dad Marz’s pressure made it extremely difficult for the American to chip through to a clean lane. He was constantly being forced onto his heels, allowing the Iranian to both set the pace and control the center. As might be expected, this resulted in another passivity point for Dad Marz, who strolled into the break with a 4-0 advantage.
For Severado to get going, he needed to be able to assert himself more directly, primarily because Dad Marz’s pressure was unrelentless. So he kept at it, even though the Iranian looked like he was growing stronger by the minute. The two-on-one’s and zippy openings Severado found success with throughout the morning were now non-existent. Dad Marz closed every hole. A little over midway through the second Dad Marz once again forced Severado to the boundary, where the American lost his footing. It was another two points for Dad Marz, who held the line the rest of the way to win his first gold medal at the Junior World Championships after triumphing as a Cadet two years ago.
Severado’s story should not be overlooked. He confidently and inspirationally poured every ounce of his ability into each match today. His first time out at a World Championships resulted in a silver medal and his effort today will live on for a long time to come, no matter how many other accolades he piles up in the future. An outstanding, impressive performance.
LaMont comes close but falls to Magomedov for bronze
Taylor LaMont (Sunkist) did his best to nail down his second-consecutive Junior World medal and nearly accomplished the feat. Magomed Magomedov (RUS) deserves credit for bringing the heat throughout their contest, but a dodgy non-call towards the end marred an otherwise fantastic display of technical, tactical in-fighting on the part of both wrestlers.
These two seemed evenly-matched in every important area — stance discipline, positioning, pummeling… It was a shared energy. LaMont looked to gain leverage off of his tie-ups but was having trouble settling on a position he liked. Magomedov had something to do with that. The Russian also offered at several positions that LaMont didn’t prefer, resulting in numerous breakaways. That meant the official was going to play a role in the outcome and a passivity point came in for Magomedov soon enough. The two wrestlers clashed during an exchange with both heading out of bounds, but it was LaMont who was called, widening Magomedov’s margin to 2-0.
The second period saw LaMont pick it up. He knew what was at stake. The tables weren’t necessarily turning, but the Utah Valley wrestler was certainly becoming more aggressive. Eventually, he’d be rewarded with a passivity point, cutting the deficit to 2-1 in favor of Magomedov. The battle raged on. LaMont’s pace gathered more steam despite the Russian keeping pace. As the period wound down and the flurries increased, a quick singlet grab by Magomedov may have briefly halted any momentum LaMont was working with, but we’ll never know as the infraction was not reviewed. Magomedov holds on for a 2-1 victory at the World Championships, his first. For LaMont, it’s a fifth-place finish a year after making the podium in Macon.
We will have more here later in the evening and then join us again tomorrow morning on Twitter as the Americans look to add more medals to what is shaping out to be one memorable weekend of Greco-Roman wrestling for the country.
- Team USA leads the standings at the close of Day 1 with 29 points. Iran is in second with 27 and Russia is in third with 21 followed by Ukraine at 20.
- Bey outscored his opponents 61-22 on the day. Video game numbers.
- As a team, the four US athletes outscored opponents 87-51.
- Team USA collected six technical falls on the day. Bey had three of them.
2017 Junior Greco-Roman World Championships – Day 1 Results & Placings
GOLD: Poya Soulat Dad Marz (IRI) def. Cevion Severado (USA) 6-0
BRONZE: Kensuke Shimizu (JPN) def. Maksym Vysotskyi (ISR) 8-0, TF
BRONZE: Ilkhom Bakhromov (UZB) def. Haifeng Zhang (CHN) 10-7
GOLD: Keramat Abdevali (IRI) def. Aleksander Hrushyn (UKR) 7-4
BRONZE: Magomed Magomedov (RUS) def. Taylor LaMont (USA) 2-1
BRONZE: Hassan Mohamed (EGY) def. Manish Manish (IND) 4-3
GOLD: Kamal Bey (USA) def. Akzhol Makhmudov (KGZ) 16-11
BRONZE: Sajan Sajan (IND) def. Ali Osman Erbay (TUR) 6-1
BRONZE: Nasir Hasanov (AZE) def. Per Albin Olofsson (SWE) 10-1, TF
GOLD: Vladen Kozliuk (UKR) def. Artur Sargsian (RUS) 4-4 (criteria)
BRONZE: Jan Zirn (GER) def. Michail Iosifidis (GRE) 4-2
BRONZE: Arvi Marti Savolainen (FIN) def. Suleyman Erbay (TUR) 10-2, TF
Day 1 Team USA Full Results
50 kg — Cevion Severado (Xtreme RTC/MO) — silver
WIN Maksym Vysotskyi (ISR) 6-1
WIN Dominic Dudzinski (POL) 8-0, TF
WIN Kensuke Shimizu (JPN) 8-3
LOSS Poya Dad Marz (IRI) 6-0
60 kg — Taylor LaMont (Sunkist/UT) — 5th
WIN Maksim Nehoda (BLR) 6-2
WIN Ardit Fazljija (SWE) 8-3
LOSS Aleksander Hrushyn (UKR) 6-1
LOSS Magomed Magomedov (RUS) 2-1
74 kg — Kamal Bey (Sunkist/CO) — gold
WIN Pilkeun Bong (KOR) 9-0, TF
WIN Karan Mosebach (GER) 10-1, TF
WIN Nasir Hasanov (AZE) 7-4
WIN Per Albin Olofsson (SWE) 19-7, TF
WIN Akzhol Makhmudov (KGZ) 16-11
96 kg — G’Angelo Hancock (Sunkist/CO) — 7th
WIN Damion Von Euw (SUI) 9-1, TF
WIN Kiril Mile Milov (BUL) 10-0, TF
LOSS Suleyman Erbay (TUR) 4-3
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