Less than two weeks after wrapping the Olympic Games, United World Wrestling (UWW) continues as the Junior World Championships started today in Ufa, Russia. The UWW Junior age group, encompassing athletes born between 2001 and 2004, provides a window into the next group of Senior-level World and Olympic medal contenders.
Today, five weight classes were led by the University of Wisconsin’s Braxton Amos at 97 kg. Amos, a three-time West Virginia state champion who won four USA Wrestling Cadet National titles and a Junior National Championship at both Freestyle and Greco-Roman. The Badger Freshmen is the only Junior American to qualify for Freestyle and Greco.
In the round of 16, Amos defeated Yunus Gafurov of Kazakhstan in a hard-fought 6–4 decision. In the round of 8, Amos beat Milan Korcsog of Hungary by a 10–0 technical decision. In the semifinals, Amos faced Deepak Deepak of India. Amos took an early lead 2–0 on a go-behind and scored a 1-point step to take a 3–0 heading into the break.
Deepak got in deep on a single leg in the second period, which Amos countered with a kick to the chest. Though the Indian didn’t score the takedown, the kick cost Amos a caution point, narrowing the score to 3–1. Deepak hit another single, which Amos countered with a two-point back exposure off a crotch lift. In the flurry, Amos exposed Deepak twice more to take a 9–1 win, securing his place in tomorrow’s gold medal match against Polat Polatci of Turkey.
Beau Bartlett of Penn State University also reached the semifinals at 65 kg after getting wins over Marcell Budai Kovacs of Hungary 12–1 and an 11–0 win over Davit Margaryan of Armenia. In the semis, Bartlett dropped a 6–2 to Ziraddin Bayramov of Azerbaijan. Bayramov took a 6–0 lead. Late in the second, Bartlett scored two steps out points, but the Azerbaijani built too much of a lead. Bartlett will wrestle for the Bronze medal tomorrow.
DJ Washington of Indiana University lost his opening bout at 79 kg to Mohammad Nokhodilarimi of Iran 6–3. Nokhodilarimi made the Gold Medal round, pulling Washington in the repechage. He’ll need to win one match tomorrow to reach the Bronze Medal round. 70 kg Bryce Andonian of Virginia Tech dropped his opening match to Erfran Elahi of Iran 8–7 after leading 6–4 at the break. Elahi defeated Novac of Moldova to Andonian back into the tournament. He’ll have to beat Dibo of Congo to wrestle for Bronze.
Arizona State’s Richie Figueroa, at 57 kg, dropped his opening round match to Ali Zadegan Koloukhi of Iran 9–2. Koloukhi lost his next match, eliminating Figueroa from competition.
Freestyle competition resumes tomorrow.