ISTANBUL (September 13) – Heavyweight wrestling phenom Riza Kayaalp (TUR) upended four-time defending champion Mijain Lopez (CUB) for the 120kg greco-roman crown at the senior wrestling world championships.
Kayaalp, 21, had the hometown crowd on their feet throughout the 120kg final, turning Lopez in the first period and then receiving two points in the second when the Cuban veteran blocked a takedown attempt with his hands on the legs.
The title is Kayaalp's first at the senior world level. He also has a bronze medals from the senior worlds as well as two junior world titles.
Before facing Lopez for the crown, Kayaalp defeated Nurmakhan Tinaliyev (KAZ) in the semifinals and five-time world runner-up Mihaly Deak-Bardos (HUN) in the quarters.
Earlier, Lopez edged Yuri Patrikeev (ARM) in a rematch of last year's final in the third round.
In other weight categories, Asian Games gold medalist Omid Haji Noroozi (IRI) erupted for six unanswered points in the third period after falling behind 0-3. Noroozi scored a go-behind, a gut wrench, and then capped it with a back-arching throw for the 60kg crown.
Almat Kebispayev (KAZ) tried to come from behind with a step-over counter off another Noroozi lift, but it was too little, too late.
Earlier at 60kg, defending champion Hasan Aliyev (AZE) made a surprise exit in the quarterfinals when Luis Liendo (VEN) outlasted last year's and went on to claim a fifth place, the best finish ever in greco-roman for a Venezuelan wrestler.
Ryutaro Matsumoto (JPN), the silver medalist in 2010, was bumped out early by European champ Revaz Lashkhi (GEO), who was then knocked out by former Olympic champ Jung Ji-Hyun (KOR) with a late gut wrench.
At 84kg, 2005 world champ Alim Selimov (BUL) hit a gut wrench at 1:58 of the third period to defeat 22-year-old Damian Janikowski ((POL) and claim his second world crown.
The defending champ Hristo Marinov (BUL) and 2010 runner-up Paul Shorey Hernandez (CUB) both lost in the round of 32.
60kg (42 entries)
F1 – Omid Haji Noroozi (IRI) df. Almat Kebispayev (KAZ), 2-1 (2-0, 0-4, 6-5)
F3 – Zaur Kuramagomedov (RUS) df. Jung Ji-Hyun (KOR) by default, 1P=1:42
F3 – Ivo Angelov (BUL) df. Luis Liendo (VEN), 2-0 (2-0, 3-0)
SF – Noroozi (IRI) df. Jung (KOR), 2-1 (2-0, 0-4, 6-0)
SF – Kebispayev (KAZ) df. Liendo (VEN), 2-0 (2-0, 1-0)
84kg (47 entries)
F1 – Alim Selimov (BLR) df. Damian Janikowski (POL), 2-1 (1-0, 0-3, 2-0)
F3 – Nazmi Avluca (TUR) df. Alan Khugaev (RUS), 2-1 (1-0, 0-1, 2-0)
F3 – Rami Hietaniemi (FIN) df. Hassan Tahmasebi (AZE) by default, 0:00
SF – Janikowski (POL) df. Avluca (TUR), 2-0 (4-0, 1-0)
SF – Alim Selimov (BLR) df. Rami Hietaniemi (FIN), 2-1 (1-0, 0-2, 1-0)
120kg (40 entries)
F1 – Riza Kayaalp (TUR) df. Mijain Lopez (CUB), 2-0 (2-0, 2-0)
F3 – Nurmakhan Tinaliyev (KAZ) df. Mihaly Deak-Bardos (HUN), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)
F3 – Bashir Babajanzadeh (IRI) df. Lukasz Banak (POL), 2-0 (1-0, 1x-1=last)
SF – Kayaalp (TUR) df. Tinaliyev (KAZ), 2-0 (3-5, 1-0)
SF – Lopez (CUB) df. Banak (POL), 2-0 (1-0, 1-0)