USA Greco

US Edges Cuba To Win Pan Ams Behind Speiller Silver & Provisor Bronze

Geordan Speiller took second at the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix
Geordan Speiller -- Photo: John Sachs

Entering Day 2 of the 2018 Pan American Championships in Lima, Peru, the United States sat in solid position to take the team title for the fifth year in a row. While there would not be another individual gold added to the squad’s total from the day before, the duo of Geordan Speiller (82 kg, Florida Jets) and two-time Olympian Ben Provisor (87 kg, NYAC/NLWC) still managed to get the job done.

Speiller, a winner at this event in 2016, found himself in a bit of a tussel against Carlos Espinoza (MEX) to start off. The score was 6-6 moving into the second period with Espinoza holding the lead via criteria — but not for long. In a flash, Speiller fought his way in and zoomed to the body, collecting Espinoza. As soon as the American deposited his foe onto the tarp it was practically over. Speiller held firm to nail down the pin and all was right with the world.

Alas, it didn’t stay that way. In his proceeding bout, Speiller was unexpectedly rolled out by two-time Pan Am bronze Luis Avendano Rojas (VEN) to the tune of an 8-0 tech. But the Floridian rebounded nicely with techs of his own over Adil Barros Machado (BRA) and Brayden Ambo (CAN), respectively, to secure his silver in the round-robin 82-kilogram bracket.

Provisor enjoyed a touch of serendipity at the Pan Ams — his first opponent, Jose Antonio Moreno Bustos (CHI), was also who he started off with in 2017. Their meeting last year ended in a Provisor win via tech, and although this one was a one-sided affair as well, it went the distance with “Big Ben” walking away the victor by virtue of a 7-1 decision. Similar circumstances greeted Provisor again for his second match. It was a bullying, but the good kind. Provisor’s boorishness inside the trenches had Ricardo Cardenas (PER) constantly on his heels and a handful of step-outs aided in a cushiony 7-1 win that escorted the Wisconsinite into the semis.

The run to gold ended there. Daniel Hechavarria, a Granma Cup champ from a year ago and who represented Cuba at the Paris Worlds where he finished seventh, took a 6-0 lead on a takedown-lift combo. Provisor appeared flummoxed, but he re-engaged with force. Hechavarria wasn’t relenting, although he did not necessarily enjoy the pummel-work Provisor tends to prefer. In other words, a comeback wasn’t out of the question. But later on in the match it all started to slip away. An exchange near the edge saw Hechavarria appear to dance off the line; the US threw the challenge brick; following the review, the call was upheld and Hechavarria was awarded another point. How it ended? Brutal. Provisor was penalized for a caution, giving Hechavarria the two points required to end the match before the buzzer.

Not one, but two third-place bouts were next for Provisor. In the tournament’s bronze round, he overcame a spirited encounter with Alfonso Leyva Yepez (MEX) to emerge victorious 3-0, his step-out game once again playing an important role. Since 87 kilos is an Olympic weight — and because next year is the Pan Am Games — bronze medalists battled for true-third — leaving Provisor with one more appointment to make.

In any tournament, under any rules, or in any other style of wrestling, Provisor would be seen as an enormous favorite opposite Carlos Adames (DOM), who took fifth at the Junior Pan Ams a couple of years ago. Someone must have forgotten to tell Adames what he was up against — because if he was at all intimidated, it certainly didn’t show. Shortly after the opening whistle screeched through the air, Adames was in on Provisor with a lock before tossing him down and immediately assumed position on top, not that it mattered, as the signal for a fall came soon enough. A huge upset win for Adames and a loss for the Americans no one saw coming.


  • 2017 Junior World Champion Kamal Bey (77 kg, Sunkist) was forced to bow out of the tournament due to an apparent rib injury. He was in the midst of a fast-paced struggle with multi-time Pan Ams medalist Jair Cuero Munoz (COL) and behind 10-7 on the scoreboard when the injury occurred.
  • Team USA won the tournament with Cuba finishing in second.
  • The US won 10 of their 19 bouts via tech fall with another three coming from pins.
  • Provisor is wrestling in place of freestyle star J’Den Cox tomorrow.



55 kg — Max Nowry (Army/WCAP) — silver
WON Brandon Escobar (HON) 6-1
WON Javier Barrera Palacios (PER) 8-0, TF
WON Mauricio Sanchez (MEX) 9-0, TF
LOSS Sargis Khachatryan (BRA) 6-4

60 kg — Mike Fuenffinger (Army/WCAP)
LOSS Dicther Toro Castaneda (COL) 8-6

63 kg — Ryan Mango (Army/WCAP) — gold
WON Mauri Vincente (BRA) 8-0, TF
WON Gerardo Montes (PER) 8-0, TF
WON German Diaz (PUR) via fall
WON Adam MacFayden (CAN) via forfeit

67 kg — Ellis Coleman (Army/WCAP)
WON Jose Sanchez Betancourt (ECU) 8-0, TF
LOSS Joilson De Brito Ramos (BRA) 7-5

72 kg — RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC) — gold
WON David Barbosa (BRA) 9-0, TF
WON Fernando Vincente Gomez (MEX) via forfeit
WON Christopher Palacios Alexander (PER) 8-0, TF
WON Wuileixis Rivas Espinosa (VEN) 4-0

77 kg — Kamal Bey (Sunkist)
LOSS Jair Cuero Munoz (COL) (inj. default)

82 kg — Geordan Speiller (Florida Jets) — silver
WON Carlos Espinoza Castro (PER) via fall
LOSS Luis Eduardo Avendano Rojas (VEN) 8-0, TF
WON Adil Barros Machado (Brazil) 8-0, TF
WON Brayden Ambo (Canada) 8-0, TF

87 kg — Ben Provisor (NYAC/NLWC) — bronze
WON Jose Moreno Bustos (CHI) 7-1
WON Ricardo Cardenas (PER) 6-1
LOSS Daniel Gregorich Hechavarria (CUB) 9-0, TF
LOSS Alfonso Leyva Yepez (MEX) via fall

97 kg — Daniel Miller (Marines)
LOSS Gabriel Rosillo (CUB) 8-0, TF

130 kg — Robby Smith — silver
WON Jose Henriquez (ESA) 13-0, TF
WON Luis Barrios (MEX) via fall
LOSS Oscar Pino Hinds (CUB) 5-0


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