Both Ildar Hafizov (60 kg, Army/WCAP) and Cohlton Schultz (130 kg, Sunkist) put forth strong performances on Monday but only one of them is still in pursuit of a World medal.
Day 3 of 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.
Hafizov, 34, had himself an interesting opponent in the qualifying round, Dicther Toro Castaneda (COL), to whom he had fallen in the finals of last year’s Pan-American Championships. There was little question that Hafizov was the more action-conscious participant in the early going of today’s match, though that did not stop the official from slinging passivity in his direction. Toro Castaneda went to work on a gutwrench, prompting Army coach Spenser Mango to repeatedly remind Hafizov “elbow up” so as to avoid being turned. Sure enough, Hafizov defended, and back standing they were with just over one minute remaining in the first period.
Shortly thereafter, Toro Castaneda hooked over Hafizov’s head, and then Hafizov countered by clamping down on the near arm and bodying a four-pointer. Colombia reversed to grab a point back, leading Toro Castaneda to lock for a lift and he seemed to have the position — but Hafizov posted and floated to deftly land on top for two more points and followed with his high-gut to tack on another pair. The scoreboard, which was accurate, read 8-2; still, the Colombian corner challenged and, after a long review process, the original call was upheld and Hafizov carried a 9-2 margin into the break.
Soon after the second period got underway, Toro Castaneda scored a takedown via nifty keylock and immediately went side lift, finishing for an apparent four. But the US challenged, and won, wiping what would have been a 10-9 lead for Colombia off the board. Instead, the score stood at 9-4 in favor of Hafizov. Toro Castaneda did net another takedown towards the end of the period, but the overall threat had been extinguished with Hafizov moving on to the round-of-16.
Next in line was Michal Tracz (POL). A small sample size, but Hafizov had previously defeated Tracz once before (in the ’17 Thor Masters final).
Hafizov carried a 1-0 passive lead into the second period, thus rendering the situation somewhat tenuous, given that passivity tends to flip regardless of the guidelines in place. Indeed Tracz did get his shot from top PT — and came up empty — which put Hafizov behind on criteria. However, static following the reset was not prolonged and the officials determined that a third par terre was appropriate. Tracz was put down with one minute remaining to provide Hafizov with an opportunity to commandeer the lead.
He took full advantage.
After several frantic adjustments on his lock and general body placement, Hafizov gripped his patented high-gut lift to wallop Tracz over for four points, making the score 5-1. Now in full desperation mode, Poland went on the offensive as time ticked away. With under :10 to go, Tracz had a decent run on a front headlock, but as he went to arch the hold, Hafizov balanced and snared exposure points. All doubt had been erased with the Army athlete prevailing 7-1.
In the quarterfinal for Hafizov awaited two-time World runner-up Zholaman Sharshenbekov (KGZ). What was expected to be a tense yet potentially high-scoring bout ended with a thud.
:45 into the match, Sharshenbekov pulled Hafizov to his back from over/under’s and recorded a shocking pin. Sharshenbekov didn’t stop there, for in the semifinal he also downed recent World bronze Aidos Sultangali (KAZ) — which automatically qualified Hafizov for the repechage round on Tuesday.
Hafizov — a three-time World Team member for the US as well as ’20 Olympian — requires two victories to leave Belgrade with bronze. First will be the repechage round, where he will face Krisztian Kecskemeti (HUN); if successful, Hafizov will then square off against Sultangali in the bronze-medal match.
Schultz’s quest to add a Senior medal to his impressive trophy case began with an opponent with whom he had a little history: two-time U23 World medalist David Ovasapyan (ARM). They had only met once prior, which was in the semifinal round of the ’18 Junior Worlds, a match that saw Ovasapyan triumph 2-1.
Things were different on Monday, albeit not in terms of offense. Ovasapyan was gifted the first passivity point in the first period, and Schultz was rewarded with his own in the second. Neither were able to score from top par terre, with Schultz ultimately walking away with the 1-1 criteria decision.
The round-of-16 offered returning World bronze Oskar Marvik of Norway, who collected the bout’s first passivity but curiously opted to keep the action standing rather than go to par terre. Not long after the reset — and despite Schultz moving well — Marvik focused his pressure towards the boundary and bumped the American off the line for an additional point. Marvik’s plowing tactics worked once more later in the period as he scored his second step-out point of the contest.
:30 into the second frame, Schultz briefly reached for a headlock and hit the deck, a sequence that by all appearances should have been ruled a slip. Marvik instinctively covered — and was allotted two points along with a 5-0 lead. Schultz hung tight in the battle but momentum was not being gained. Marvik only had to play position for the remainder, which he did, and the 5-0 decision was all his. Mantas Knystautas (LTU) felled the Norwegian in the quarterfinal, thus eliminating Schultz from a possible path to bronze through the repechage.
Hafizov for Bronze
The repechage round on Tuesday, the fourth and final day of Greco-Roman at the 2022 World Championships, is scheduled to begin at 10:30am in Belgrade (4:30am ET). Should Hafizov defeat Kecskemeti, the bronze-medal round will commence at 6:00pm (12:00pm ET). FLOWrestling will have the broadcast for the US audience.
2022 World Championships
September 10-13 — Belgrade, SRB
TEAM USA DAY 3 RESULTS
60 kg: Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP)
WON Dicther Toro Castaneda (COL) 9-6
WON Michal Tracz (POL) 7-1
LOSS Zholaman Sharshenbekov (KGZ) via fall
vs. Krisztian Kecskemeti (HUN)
130 kg: Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist)
WON David Ovasapyan (ARM) 1-1 (criteria)
LOSS Oskar Marvik (NOR) 5-0
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