USA Greco

Pan-Am C’Ships Update: USA On Cruise Control Behind Hafizov, Miranda, & Johnson Duo

Ildar Hafizov -- Photo: Tony Rotundo

Domination has been the story thus far on Day 1 of the 2021 Pan-American Championships as Team USA Greco is racking up victories in lopsided manner throughout the roster.

The pair of recent National Champions from April — Randon Miranda (63 kg, NYAC/Rise) and Xavier Johnson (67 kg, Marines) — have looked sharp, aggressive, and in control. Miranda decimated both Victor Mena Vergel (COL) and Juan Rodriguez Jovel (ESA) via superiority. The California native has a stiff test in the proceeding round, where he will face ’16 Olympian and decorated Pan-Am vet Andres Montano Arroyo (ECU).

Johnson began his morning with a starching of Dan Coles (CAN) before lighting up the scoreboard at the expense of Nilton Soto Garcia (PER). In that contest, Johnson raced out to a 7-0 first-period lead but struggled to score in the second frame, and ultimately came away with a 7-3 decision. In the semifinal, the Marine will dig in opposite Calebe Correra Ferreira (BRA).


There is “X” Johnson, and then there is Jamel Johnson, who is up at 72 kilos for the Pan-Ams. Jamel found zero difficulty in dispatching of Juan Ruiz Lugo (MEX) in Round 1 of pool competition, though trouble was abound in the next match. Jamel was piling on young Carlos Fuentes Peralta (GUA) until he required medical attention due to a knee injury. Johnson had been on par terre bottom and defended Peralta’s elbow-to-elbow lock; but just when they were to be stood up, it became apparent that ’19 Final X runner-up was in pain. Following attention from the trainers, Johnson continued the match and prevailed 7-3.


The only US Olympian going on Thursday is Ildar Hafizov (60 kg, Army/WCAP, world #5). As expected, he has the mechanism functioning on an optimum level.

Against Josh Medina (PUR), Hafizov was the picture of patience. In the first period, he achieved double underhooks — and instead of locking and arching, he level-changed and took Medina forward and off of his feet. That was not, however, a catalyzing sequence. Par terre is where it happened. From top, Hafizov clasped high and proceeded to run Medina out to the tune of a 9-0 tech.

The semifinals offered Marat Garipov (BRA), who was one of Hafizov’s victims in March of ’20 at the Pan-Am Qualifier. Garipov was gifted with the first passive and Hafizov defended with nary an issue. Passivity flipped in the second period. Once again, that high lock was the key. Hafizov turned Garipov thrice — and then stepped up to lift, but instead of hoisting, he crashed and rolled. Garipov was cautioned soon after, putting an end to the bout at 10-1. Hafizov is now in the finals.

Olympic Trials runner-up/Junior World Teamer Braxton Amos (97 kg, Sunkist/Wisconsin RTC) delivered two consecutive beatdowns to kick off his Senior international career. First was a breezy 8-0 tech of Rafael Escamilla Sanchez (ESA); next, the 19-year-old closed out Santiago Echeverri Osoria (COL) with a jackhammering dump-off that collected five. The most gripping bout for Amos arrived in Round 3. The very established and skilled Kevin Mejia Castillo (HON) got on a run quickly after a double-under’s throw-by. With top par terre in play, Castillo grabbed four more from a lift and tacked on an additional pair with a gut to move on 8-0 (9-0 with an extra point for an upheld challenge). Amos is still in the medal picture but will need to defeat Castillo in order to earn gold.

The bruising machinations of one Donny Longendyke (130 kg, Minnesota Storm) have proved effective on Thursday. In his first Pan-American tournament, Longendyke has been poised and opportunistic en-route to decision wins over Luis Barrios (MEX) and Catriel Muriel (ARG). One more win for the Storm’s heavyweight puts him in the gold-medal match.

UPDATE: Longendyke is in the finals and will square off against Leo Heredia (DOM). Miranda fell 5-0 to Montano, won his next match, and will meet Montano again, this time in the 63-kg final. Amos won in the semis following pool competition against Igor Alves De Queiroz (BRA) and, like Miranda, will face his vanquisher (Castillo) for gold.

Semifinals and Round 3 matches are ongoing and can be viewed live in the US on FLOWrestling. Finals and medal matches are scheduled for 5:00pm MT/7:00pm ET.


  • Eight of Team USA’s wins as of press time have been recorded via technical fall.
  • Cuba is not participating this year.
  • Draws for Day 2 will be included in the post-finals recap.


May 27-28 — Guatemala City, GUA


60 kg — Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP)
WON Josh Medina (PUR) 9-0, TF
WON Marat Garipov (BRA) 10-1, TF
vs. Dicther Toro Castaneda (COL)

63 kg — Randon Miranda (NYAC/Rise)
WON Victor Mena Vergel (COL) 8-0, TF
WON Juan Rodriguez Jovel (ESA) 10-0, TF
LOSS Andres Montano Arroyo (ECU) 5-0
WON Emerson Felipe Ordonez (GUA) 11-2, TF
vs. Andres Montano Arroyo (ECU)

67 kg — Xavier Johnson (Marines)
WON Dan Coles (CAN) 9-0, TF
WON Nilton Soto Garcia (PER) 7-3
vs. Enyer Feliciano (DOM)

72 kg — Jamel Johnson (Marines)
WON Juan Ruiz Lugo (MEX) 9-0, TF
WON Carlos Fuentes Peralta (GUA) 7-3
vs. Gerardo Oliva Montes (PER)

97 kg — Braxton Amos (Sunkist/Wisconsin RTC)
WON Rafael Escamilla Sanchez (ESA) 8-0, TF
WON Santiago Echeverri Osoria (COL) 11-0, TF
LOSS Kevin Mejia Castillo (HON) 9-0, TF
WON Igor Alves De Queiroz (BRA) 3-0
vs. Kevin Mejia Castillo (HON)

130 kg — Donny Longendyke (Minnesota Storm)
WON Luis Barrios (MEX) 5-2
WON Catriel Muriel (ARG) 8-4
WON Isaque Medeiros Conserva (BRA) 6-1
vs. Leo Santana Heredia (DOM)

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