Stadnik Thrives in Return; Akgul Wins 8th Euro Title

By Vinay Siwach

WARSAW, Poland (April 21) -- After 581 days off the mat, Maria STADNIK (AZE) began where she left in Nursultan. If the World Championships in 2019 were a display of her strength, she put on a show of her speed on Wednesday to reach the final of the European Championships in Warsaw.

Stadnik looked as good as ever and showed why she remains the top wrestler in the continent as she set up the '19 European gold-medal rematch against Miglena SELISHKA (BUL).

Russia sent four of their wrestlers to the finals as women's wrestling began at the spectator-less Hala Widowiskowo-Sportowa COS Torwar stadium in Warsaw on Wednesday.

Stadnik began her day against world bronze medalist Ekaterina POLESHCHUK (RUS) and while it looked like a tough bout on paper, the world champion did not think so. She got a point for Poleshchuk's inactivity and later a takedown to lead 3-0. A double for four points gave her a 7-0 lead before she finished with a counter to win, 11-0.

The two semifinals at 50kg went back-and-forth before the winners prevailed. The first semifinal proved to be more challenging for Stadnik as Oksana LIVACH (UKR) kept coming at her until the end. After securing four points early in the first period, Livach got Stadnik in a headlock and threw her for a four. A stepout helped Stadnik regain her lead.

In the second period, Stadnik scored a point for stepout to lead 6-4 but Livach made a desperate attempt at the end. Stadnik was quick to counter for a takedown and a gut wrench to win, 10-4, and reach the final.

Selishka needed a last-second takedown and a challenge to beat Emilia BUDEANU (MDA), 3-3, and reach her second consecutive Euro final. Trailing 3-1, she scored via a go behind with Budeanu's knee touching the mat for a split second. The referees did not score the scramble but a challenge from Bulgaria's corner saved the day for Selishka 3-3 on criteria.

She will be aiming to defend her title on Thursday which she won in Stadnik's absence last year in Rome.

But another defending champion was not so lucky with criteria. Anastasia NICHITA (MDA) suffered a shocking 4-4 loss in the 59kg semifinal against Veronika CHUMIKOVA (RUS). Nichita was the favourite to win the gold medal in Warsaw and was well on course until the Russian roadblock.

The Tokyo Olympian was leading 3-2 when Chumikova launched a double on her. Despite a cartwheeling effort from Nichita, Chumikova was awarded four points while two were given to Nichita.

A challenge from Nichita saw the score being reversed to 4-4 with Chumikova holding criteria as she had four points via two takedowns. With :46 remaining on the clock, Chumikova managed to hold off Nichita and reach her first European final.

The Russian will be up agaisnt the silver medalist from last year Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL). In the semifinal, Dudova completed a 2-1 win over Yuliya PISARENKA (BLR) with all three points coming for passivity.

Nichita had earlier ended the hopes of Grace BULLEN (NOR) becoming a European champion for the third time with a 7-0 win. Dominating the quarterfinal, Nichita gave Bullen no chance to score. With Nichita's loss later in the day, Bullen won't be able to compete in the repechage as well.

Warsaw saw more young talent reaching the finals as Koumba LARROQUE (FRA) and Khanum VELIEVA (RUS) set up the summit clash at 68kg. The France wrestler could not have asked for a better day as she won her two bouts via fall and technical superiority, respectively.

Thursday's final will be a rematch from the European Olympic Qualifier event in Budapest last month. For the record, Velieva had forfeited the final in Budapest citing injury but the defending champion at Euros will in all likelihood try to keep her gold with her.

At 76kg, two-time Olympic medalist Natalia VOROBEVA (RUS) defeated Aline FOCKEN (GER) and Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR) in consecutive bouts to reach the final of 76kg. She will take on world bronze medalist Epp MAEE (EST) on Thursday.

At 55kg, Stalvira ORSHUSH (RUS) made it to the final at 55kg where she will wrestle local wrestler Roksana ZASINA (POL).

Salkazanov ends dream run with gold

Tajmuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK) capped off his dream run in Warsaw with a gold medal at 74kg. Wrestling at his second European Championships, Salkazanov entered the final after coming out from the lower side of the brack which had two world champions and a silver medalist.

Salkazanov had scored three come-from-behind victories coming into the final on Wednesday but it was a one-sided affair against Miroslav KIROV (BUL) as he won 10-0 to capture the gold medal.

On Tuesday, the Slovak defeated Frank CHAMIZO (ITA), 6-2, before erasing a five-point deficit in the quarterfinal against Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO) to win 6-5. He then defeated the Individual World Cup champion Razambek ZHAMALOV (RUS) with an identical score in the semifinal.

Surprisingly, Salkazanov is yet to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo as he finished 13th in Budapest last month. The World Olympic Qualifier in Sofia, Bulgaria can see him fulfill his dream.

Salkazanov Slovakia European Championships 2021

The two bronze medals at 74kg went to Mitchell FINESILVER (ISR) and Chamizo. Finsilver cruised to a 4-0 victory over Valentin BORZIN (MDA) to capture the bronze medal, Israel’s first freestyle European medal in the last 30 years. The last wrestler from Israel to medal at the European Championships was Maxim GELLER (ISR), who finished in second place at the 1991 European Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

In a rematch of the Individual World Cup final in Belgrade, Serbia last year, Chamizo avenged his loss with a 5-1 win over Zhamalov. Putting up a defensive masterclass, Chamizo did not let the Russian score from any position despite being in trouble a couple of times.

He scored his points via two pushouts, a double leg and a penalty to Zhamalov for stopping the action, citing a shoulder injury. He was visibly in trouble with his shoulder but continued to wrestle despite his coach asking him to stop.

While Salkazanov captured his first title, veteran wrestler at 125kg Taha Akgul won his eighth European title in the last 11 years. In a final that saw Sergei KOZYREV (RUS) being cautioned out, Akgul looked a fitter, better version of himself at the surgery which kept him out for close to two years.

"I am really happy to comeback after the injury and beat the top four wrestlers to win the gold. It's very positive and motivating," Akgul, the Rio gold medalist, said after the final. "I will decide with my coaches where we will compete again. We are just months away from the Olympics and there is not much time."

Taha Akgul European Championships

Coming into the Championships, Akgul's biggest rival was '19 world champion Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO), who he met in the first round. Akgul's sharpness and speed were too much for Petriashvili as he won, 6-1. Akgul then easily made it past Kamil Tomasz KOSCIOLEK (POL) and Dzianis KHRAMIANKOU (BLR).

Petriashvili returned to win the bronze medal after he defeated Khramianku (BLR) in a closely contested bronze medal bout. The Georgian won, 12-9. The second bronze went to Oleksandr KHOTSIANIVSKYI (UKR) as he defeated Daniel LIGETI (HUN) 5-0.

Russia captured three gold medals on the final day for freestyle. Abasgadzhi MAGOMEDOV (RUS) was the first champion of the day as he rolled over Andrii DZHELEP (UKR) for a 12-2 win at 61kg.

The two bronze medals at this weight were won by Eduard GRIGOREV (POL) as he defeated Georgi VANGELOV (BUL). The second medal was captured by world champion Beka LOMTADZE (GEO) after a thriller against Akhmednabi GVARZATILOV (AZE) which he won 9-7.

Russia's two other gold medals came via Artur NAIFONOV (RUS) and Magomed Guseynovitch KURBANOV (RUS) at 86kg and 92kg, respectively.

The six gold medals in Warsaw helped Russia win the team title while Ukraine and Azerbaijan finished in second and third, respectively.

Freestyle Results (Day 3 Photo Gallery)

GOLD - Abasgadzhi MAGOMEDOV (RUS) df. Andrii DZHELEP (UKR), 12-2

BRONZE - Eduard GRIGOREV (POL) df. Georgi Valentinov VANGELOV (BUL) , 4-2
BRONZE - Beka LOMTADZE (GEO) df. Akhmednabi GVARZATILOV (AZE) , 9-7

GOLD - Tajmuraz Mairbekovic SALKAZANOV (SVK) df. Miroslav Stefanov KIROV (BUL), 10-0

BRONZE - Mitchell Louis FINESILVER (ISR) df. Valentin BORZIN (MDA), 4-0


BRONZE - Myles Nazem AMINE (SMR) df. Boris MAKOEV (SVK), 6-4

GOLD - Magomed Guseynovitch KURBANOV (RUS) df. Samuel SCHERRER (SUI), 4-1


GOLD - Taha AKGUL (TUR) df. Sergei KOZYREV (RUS), via DSQ

BRONZE - Oleksandr KHOTSIANIVSKYI (UKR) df. Daniel LIGETI (HUN), 5-0

Women’s Wrestling Results

GOLD - Miglena Georgieva SELISHKA (BUL) vs. Mariya STADNIK (AZE)

SEMIFINAL - Mariya STADNIK (AZE) df. Oksana LIVACH (UKR), 10-4
SEMIFINAL – Miglena Georgieva SELISHKA (BUL) df. Emilia CIRICU BUDEANU (MDA), 3-3

GOLD - Roksana Marta ZASINA (POL) vs. Stalvira ORSHUSH (RUS)

SEMIFINAL - Roksana Marta ZASINA (POL) df. Andreea Beatrice ANA (ROU), 2-1
SEMIFINAL - Stalvira ORSHUSH (RUS) df. Jessica Cornelia Francisca BLASZKA (NED), 9-2

GOLD - Bilyana Zhivkova DUDOVA (BUL) vs. Veronika CHUMIKOVA (RUS)

SEMIFINAL - Veronika CHUMIKOVA (RUS) df. Anastasia NICHITA (MDA), 4-4
SEMIFINAL - Bilyana Zhivkova DUDOVA (BUL) df. Yuliya PISARENKA (BLR), 2-1

GOLD - Koumba Selene Fanta LARROQUE (FRA) vs. Khanum VELIEVA (RUS)

SEMIFINAL - Koumba Selene Fanta LARROQUE (FRA) df. Adela HANZLICKOVA (CZE), 11-0
SEMIFINAL - Khanum VELIEVA (RUS) df. Nesrin BAS (TUR), 8-4

GOLD - Epp MAEE (EST) vs. Natalia VOROBEVA (RUS)

SEMIFINAL - Natalia VOROBEVA (RUS) df. Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR), 6-3
SEMIFINAL - Epp MAEE (EST) df. Cynthia Vanessa VESCAN (FRA), 4-0


Evloev Captures Gold as Russia Clean Sweeps Euros

By Vinay Siwach

WARSAW, Poland (April 25) -- Musa EVLOEV (RUS) is quickly establishing himself as one of the Greco-Roman greats around the world.

Ever since he captured the World title in 2018, he continues to rise to the top and on Sunday, he took another step in that direction, winning his second European title at 97kg as the senior continental Championships came to a close in Warsaw, Poland.

The 28-year-old wrestled in the final bout of the day and it wasn't even a match. Veteran Balazs KISS (HUN) tried to give a fight but Evloev was in no mood to waste time. With a series of par terre rolls, Evloev captured the gold medal with a 10-0 win in just one minute and 33 seconds.

His gold confirmed the team title for Russia as it clean swept the Championships, winning the freestyle, women's and the Greco-Roman team titles over the past seven days at the Sportowa COS Torwar stadium which is out-of-bounds for spectators.

As Evloev ascends to the top, he will be the favorite to win the gold medal in Tokyo Olympics, a title he will have to take from Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM), just like the World title in 2018.

Aleksanyan captured the World and Olympic titles from 2014 to 2017 until Evloev defeated him in the semifinal at the 2018 World Championships in Budapest. Since then, Evloev has two more wins over the Armenian, one at the 2019 World Championships and the other at the Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia last year.

Meanwhile, two-time junior world champion Kerem KAMAL (TUR) will have to wait for his first senior European Championships title. For the second consecutive year, he went home with a silver medal after he lost Sunday's final against Sergey EMELIN (RUS) 1-4.

Despite the aggression of Kamal, former world champion Emelin kept his composure throughout the 60kg final to reclaim his European title which he had lost to Victor CIOBANU (MDA) in 2019.

Sergey EMELIN (RUS) European Championships 2021

Emelin, who won a silver medal at the 2019 World Championships, was trailing 0-1 to Kamal at the break as he was warned for passivity. Kamal had a 5-0 lead after a big throw just before the break but a successful challenge from Russia showed there was no exposure, reversing the score to 1-0.

A minute and a half into the second period, Kamal was warned for passivity and Emelin scored on par terre, claiming a 3-1 lead. Kamal did try to score but was unsuccessful and with just two seconds left, he challenged for a point for stepout which was denied, giving the Russian the win and the first gold medal of the day.

The hopes of the home gold for Mateusz BERNATEK (POL) were dashed as Mate NEMES (SRB) dominated the final at 67kg to win the gold medal. Nemes gave his country the second gold medal in Warsaw after Zurabi DATUNASHVILI (SRB) won the gold at 87kg on Saturday.

Just 30 seconds into the final, Nemes came up with a big over the shoulder four-point throw to take the lead. With 30 seconds left for the break Bernatek was warned for passivity but he successfully defended his par terre position.

As Nemes closed-in on victory, he was warned for passivity and gave up two points for it. But as Bernatek tried desperate attempts, he was warned for using his head and penalized for two points. Nemes won the gold medal 7-2.

By winning the title, the 2019 bronze medalist from the Nursultan World Championships did what his twin brother Viktor NEMES (SRB), a former world champion, could not in three attempts.

Georgia also put its name on the title list with a gold medal at 72kg. Shmagi BOLKVADZE (GEO) put on a defensive show to capture the gold by defeating junior world and European champion Malkhas AMOYAN (ARM) 4-1.

The Georgian Olympic bronze medalist rode on his luck in the final as he was awarded two points on a lost challenge from Armenia. After being called passive a minute and 17 seconds into the bout, Bolkvadze defended the par terre position. Amoyan almost got the exposure but it was given clean by the referee, prompting Amoyan to challenge the call.

Not only he lost the challenge, the jury decided to give two points to Bolkvadze for exposing Amoyan to his back, leading 3-1. A passivity against Amoyan increased the lead to 4-1 and Bolkvadze defended it till the end to win the gold medal for his country.

Shmagi BOLKVADZE (GEO) European Championships 2021
Shmagi BOLKVADZE (GEO) won the gold medal at 72kg in Warsaw. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Participating in the European Championships after a gap of four years, Adlan AKIEV (RUS) made a golden return as he became the champion of the 82kg category, giving Russia their second gold medal of the night.

After reaching his first-ever European final, Akiev finished things in style by winning the gold medal 11-1 against Radzik KULIYEU (BLR).

The deadlock was broken at 1:28 when Kuliyeu was given passive and Akiev got the exposure for two from a throw. A minute later, the Russian produced an over the shoulder throw to get two more and lead 5-0 at the break.

One minute and 20 seconds into the second period, Akiev was called passive but Kuliyev failed to get in correct position and the referee called for center, leaving the score 5-1 for Akiev.

A two-point exposure and a four-point move finished the bout with an 11-1 win for Akiev, which more or less confirmed the team title for Russia with one Evloev's gold medal bout yet to be played.

Adlan AKIEV (RUS) European Championships 2021

Greco-Roman Medal Results Day 7

GOLD - Sergey EMELIN (RUS) df. Kerem KAMAL (TUR), 4-1

BRONZE - Grzegorz KUNKEL (POL) df. Razvan ARNAUT (ROU), 6-0
BRONZE - Viktor PETRYK (UKR) df. MAKARANKA Bread (BLR), 5-1

GOLD - Mate NEMES (SRB) df. Mateusz BERNATEK (POL), 7-2

BRONZE - Murat FIRAT (TUR) df. Zaur KABALOEV (ITA), 3-1
BRONZE - Slavik GALSTYAN (ARM) df. Donior ISLAMOV (MDA), 9-0

GOLD - Shmagi BOLKVADZE (GEO) df. Malkhas AMOYAN (ARM), 4-1

BRONZE - Robert Attila FRITSCH (HUN) df. Chingiz LABAZANOV (RUS), 3-0

GOLD - Adlan AKIEV (RUS) df. Radzik KULIYEU (BLR), 11-0

BRONZE - Aivengo RIKADZE (GEO) df. Karapet CHALYAN (ARM), 3-2
BRONZE - Hannes WAGNER (GER) vs. Rajbek Alvievich BISULTANOV (DEN), 3-1

GOLD - Musa EVLOEV (RUS) df. Balazs KISS (HUN), 8-0

BRONZE - Mikalai STADUB (BLR) df. Zamir MAGOMEDOV (AZE), 3-1