A tumultuous but nonetheless impressive season for Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP) concluded today with a loss in the repechage round of his eighth career World-level tournament.
The fourth and final day of Greco-Roman competition at the 2022 World Championships began at 10:30am local time (4:30am ET) from the Stark Arena in Belgrade, Serbia and aired live in the US on FLOWrestling.
34-year-old Hafizov entered action this morning requiring two victories in order to secure a World bronze medal. The first step was to get past the repechage and opponent Krisztian Kecskemeti (HUN); if successful, Hafizov then would have to deal with ’18 World bronze Aidos Sultangali (KAZ), but the Hungarian rightfully owned all of Hafizov’s focus upon arriving at the arena on Tuesday.
Tension to start off as Hafizov prodded at Kecskemeti’s hands ahead of easing in double overhooks. One of his strongest positions, the Army athlete deliberately clamped with Kecskemeti resigned to reflexive, pawing underhooks. Static enveloped once Kecskemeti weaved his hands inside the tie-up as a means to pry loose from the grip; Hafizov then collapsed on his left hip to execute. He almost had it, but Kecskemeti bounded and scrambled for an organic restart. Back standing, and no more than :11 had elapsed since the attempt when the official called Hafizov for passivity. It was an exceptionally odd choice given that it was the American who had compelled the only actionable tie-up and attempt of the contest.
The call provided Kecskemeti a point along with the opportunity to do damage from top par terre — which he did. First came a lift that delivered four points. Kecskemeti re-gripped his lock following impact and scored on a gutwrench for a 7-0 lead. Just before the conclusion of the first period, Hafizov found a right underhook and arched for a throw, only to have Kecskemeti adjust for the land-on-top and the two points necessary to end the match. Sultangali ultimately decisioned Kecskemeti 7-1 for 60-kilogram bronze.
Hafizov was an Olympian and three-time World Team member for his native Uzbekistan, and is a three-time World Teamer and Olympian thus far as an American. His season this year in particular defined perseverance.
After falling to teammate Dalton Roberts in the ’21 World Team Trials best-of-three final, Hafizov recovered in time for what he had hoped would be a full winter’s block of overseas training. Those plans were eventually scrapped when the Army removed all of their athletes from a European tour in January. Hafizov returned to competition in April at the Bill Farrell Memorial, where he made the final and was edged by Roberts. Later that same month, Hafizov won his second US National title before earning his trip to Final X by cruising past the semifinals of the World Team Trials. And at Final X: New York against Roberts, the two WCAP representatives comprised an equally tactical and brutal three-round series that saw Hafizov triumph in dramatic fashion. In Belgrade, Hafizov recorded a pair of exciting wins against skilled opponents Dicther Toro Castaneda (COL) and Michal Tracz (POL) but was defeated in the quarterfinal by eventual World Champion Zholaman Sharshenbekov (KGZ).
2022 World Championships
September 10-13 — Belgrade, SRB
TEAM USA FULL RESULTS
55 kg: Max Nowry (Army/WCAP) — 5th
WON Arjun Halakurki (IND) via fall
WON Fabian Schmitt (GER) via fall
LOSS Eldaniz Azizli (AZE) 9-0, TF
LOSS Yu Shiotani (JPN) 7-0
60 kg: Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP) — 10th
WON Dicther Toro Castaneda (COL) 9-6
WON Michal Tracz (POL) 7-1
LOSS Zholaman Sharshenbekov (KGZ) via fall
LOSS Krisztian Kecskemeti (HUN) 9-0, TF
63 kg: Sammy Jones (NYAC) — 23rd
LOSS Neeraj Neeraj (IND) 4-0
67 kg: Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP) — 11th
WON Norva Bukasa (COD) 9-0, TF
LOSS Parviz Nasibov (UKR) 5-0
72 kg: Benji Peak (Sunkist/NTS) — 22nd
LOSS Robert Fritsch (HUN) 3-1
77 kg: Kamal Bey (Army/WCAP) — 31st
LOSS Viktor Nemes (SRB) 4-0
82 kg: Spencer Woods (Army/WCAP) — 22nd
LOSS Chengwu Wang (CHN) via fall
87 kg: Alan Vera (NYAC) — 18th
LOSS Haitao Quian (CHN) 5-3
97 kg: Braxton Amos (Sunkist/Wisconsin RTC) — 10th
WON Vladen Kozliuk (UKR) 12-6
LOSS Bekan Makhmudov (KGZ) 5-2
130 kg: Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist) — 15th
WON David Ovasapyan (ARM) 1-1 (criteria)
LOSS Oskar Marvik (NOR) 5-0
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