USA Greco

American Greco Pairings for 2023 Polyak Imre Memorial

cohlton schultz, 2023 polyak imre memorial
Cohlton Schultz -- Photo: Tony Rotundo

The 2023 Polyak Imre Memorial begins on Saturday morning at 10:30am local time (4:30am ET) from Budapest, Hungary. As reported previously, it is the last standalone event in United World Wrestling’s “Ranking Series” this season.

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Each member of the ’23 USA Greco-Roman World Team is scheduled to appear along with three high-profile athletes who currently hold National Team status. The Polyak Imre Memorial (which for all intents and purposes is still being referred to as the Hungarian Grand Prix) offers an important opportunity for those Americans who are on the World roster to face top-caliber counterparts in a live setting prior to September’s World Championships.

Pairings Overview

The first three weight categories will be contested on Saturday — 55 through 63 kilograms. For the US, that is Brady Koontz (55 kg, TMWC/Dubuque RTC), lldar Hafizov (Army/WCAP), Dalton Roberts (60 kg, Army/WCAP), and Xavier Johnson (63 kg, Army/WCAP).

The 55-kilogram bracket is pooled. Koontz will operate in Pool A and attempt to qualify for the medal rounds by dealing with Mahdi Ahadi Zenab (IRI), Yershin Abyir (KAZ), and Amangali Bekbolatov (KAZ).

Hafizov will start in the round-of-16 against familiar face Erik Torba of Hungary. Although Torba is yet to earn a World medal, he is considered at or close to that level and owns a European bronze from ’20. Roberts (qualification round) has a formidable foe, as well, in Romanian Razvan Arnaut, who, like Torba, has a European bronze (’21) and is a consistent international performer. This season, Arnaut has already earned two “Ranking Series” bronze medals (from the Grand Prix Zagreb Open and Ibrahim Moustafa Memorial, respectively).

Johnson, who already sits in the quarterfinal, is going to get his money’s worth as he prepares to face either ’21 World Champion/’18 silver Victor Ciobanu (MDA) or ’21 World bronze Murad Mammadov (AZE).

Day 2

Young Robert Perez III (Sunkist) and World Team member Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP) will begin in the qualification round and could face one another in the quarterfinal, which would be a rematch of their series from Final X: Newark last month. Perez goes toe-to-toe with Kwon Min-Seok (KOR) while Sancho stares down Hungarian Adam Pohilec. Four-time World Teamer Patrick Smith (72 kg, Minnesota Storm) will see Elmer Mattila of Finland in the qualification round. Mattila has been around the circuit over the past two quads and is a strong competitor who has performed best in and around Scandinavia.

The makings of a very entertaining battle is on the table for the US as Kamal Bey (77 kg, Army/WCAP) squares off against Mohammad Aziz Naghousi, who is one of Iran’s best young athletes and a potent scorer. Naghousi was a Junior World champ in ’19 (two years after Bey won his own title) and earned bronze in that age category in ’21. He has sat beneath Mohammadali Geraei on the depth chart thus far. Should Bey prevail, a match with Oldrich Varga (CZE) awaits.

RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC) is on the opposite side of Bey in the bracket and kicks off in the round-of-16 opposite ’21 World silver Sanan Suleymanov (AZE). Perkins has not faced Suleymanov previously, but it is a solid match-up for him on paper regardless of the Azer’s credentials. Suleymanov has dynamics on-the-feet but is otherwise a standard pro who depends on par terre.

“The Alaskan Assassin” Spencer Woods (82 kg, Army/WCAP) has an interesting opponent — ’19 European Championships bronze/’17 U23 World gold Erik Szilvassy (HUN). Szilvassy, 28, has run the gamut of upper weight categories in recent years, going from 87 to 97, back to 87, and is now down at 82, which is a byproduct of the depth Hungary has at 87 with Istvan Takacs and ’22 World bronze David Losonczi.

For his first major Senior overseas tournament, Zac Braunagel (87 kg, IRTC) receives a nice test in the form of accomplished elder statesman Rafiq Huseynov (AZE), who in May celebrated his 35th birthday, making him 13 years older than Braunagel. Huseynov is still plowing forward as could be expected, and just missed out on a fourth World-level medal in ’22. Prior, he had earned a World title (’21), World silver (’19), and Olympic bronze (’21).

Joe Rau (97 kg, TMWC) will look to get moving in the right direction at his first international event in over two years as he prepares for the winner between ’21 U23 World bronze Markus Ragginger (AUT) and Vahid Ghasem Abadi (IRI). It is a bit crammed on Rau’s side of the bracket. If he gets past either Ragginger or Ghasem Abadi, he could have the likes of Felix Baldauf (NOR), Tyrone Sterkenburg (NED), or Kristian Lukac (CRO) in the quarterfinal.

At heavyweight, both Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist) and ’18 World silver Adam Coon (NYAC/Cliff Keen) have qualification-round opponents. For Coon, it is a name most fans will know, ’22 World bronze Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu (ROU) — with whom Schultz has traded paint on two prior occasions.

As for Schultz, it is a match-up he likely relishes — ’21 World Champion Aliakbar Yousofiaahmadchali. Yousofiaahmadchali does not just own a Senior World title, he also claims a pair of U23 World bronze as well as World gold from the Junior level. Should Schults defeat the Iranian, he will greet ’20 Olympic silver/two-time World bronze Iakobi Kajaia (GEO) in the round-of-16.


Available to view in the US on FLOWrestling (subscription required).
All times local (+6 hrs ET).

Saturday, July 15 — (Koontz, Hafizov, Roberts, & Johnson)

10:30am-2:30pm — Qualification rounds through semifinals
5:00pm-7:00pm —
 Finals/bronze-medal matches

Sunday, July 16 (Perez, Sancho, Smith, Bey, Perkins, Woods, Braunagel, Rau, Coon, & Schultz)

10:30am-2:30pm — Qualification rounds through semifinals
5:00pm-7:00pm —
 Finals/bronze-medal matches

2023 Polyak Imre Memorial

July 15-16 — Budapest. HUN


*’23 US World Team


55 kg

*Brady Koontz (TMWC/Dubuque RTC)
(Pool competition)

vs. Mahdi Ahadi Zenab (IRI)
vs. Yershin Abyir (KAZ)
vs. Amangali Bekbolatov (KAZ)

60 kg

*Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP)
vs. Erik Torba (HUN)

Dalton Roberts (Army/WCAP)
vs. Razvan Arnaut (ROU)

63 kg

*Xavier Johnson (Army/WCAP
vs. Murad Mammadov (AZE) or Victor Ciobanu (MDA)


67 kg

Robert Perez III (Sunkist)
vs. Kwon Minseong (KOR)

*Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP)
vs. Adam Pohilec (HUN)

72 kg

*Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm)
vs. Elmer Mattila (FIN)

77 kg

*Kamal Bey (Army/WCAP)
vs. Mohammad Naghousi (IRI)

RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC)
vs. Sanan Suleymanov (AZE)

82 kg

*Spencer Woods (Army/WCAP)
vs. Erik Szilvassy (HUN)

87 kg

*Zac Braunagel (IRTC)
vs. Rafiq Huseynov (AZE)

97 kg

*Joe Rau (TMWC)
vs. Markus Ragginger (AUT) or  Vahid Ghasem Abadi (IRI)

130 kg

Adam Coon (NYAC/Cliff Keen)
vs. Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu (ROU)

*Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist)
vs. Aliakbar Yousofiaahmadchali (IRI)

Sunday, July 16 (Perez, Sancho, Smith, Bey, Perkins, Woods, Braunagel, Rau, Coon, & Schultz)

10:30am-2:30pm — Qualification rounds through semifinals
5:00pm-7:00pm —
Finals/bronze-medal matches

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Listen to “5PM55: Recapping Final X with Dennis Hall with words from Koontz, Braunagel and Hafizov” on Spreaker.

Listen to “5PM54: WCAP’s Ryan Epps and a Final X Greco-Roman Preview” on Spreaker.

Listen to “5PM53: Northern Michigan assistant Parker Betts and USMC Captain Jamel Johnson” on Spreaker.

iTunes | Stitcher | Spreaker | Google Play Music

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