Americans to start Pellicone against tough opposition
The 2022 Matteo Pellicone Memorial, one of United World Wrestling’s “Ranking Series” events, will help set the baseline for seven members of this year’s USA World Team. This is the general objective. Individual athletes have their own goals in mind when it comes to technique and performance – but as a collective, Pellicone aims, at the very least, to provide a litmus test from which to draw for the summer training block.
It’s already shaping up to be a real test and the tournament hasn’t even started yet.
The 2022 Matteo Pellicone Memorial draws have been released for both days of action. Six of the aforementioned World Teamers from the trip will face off tomorrow, each set to face suitably skilled opposition.
Day 1 (June 22)
*Member of the USA World Team
*Max Nowry (55kg, Army/WCAP, World No. 11, 5 p.m. No. 1; round robin)
One of the three round robin draws at Pellicone is 55, which has unfortunately become customary for the lightest weight class in the sport. Only three athletes are present, and Nowry will start with the Iranian Mohammad Hosseinvand Panahasani and end with Florin Tita (MDA). tita strength have a certain familiarity for American fans. At the 2018 World Junior Championships, Brady Koontz (TMWC/Ohio RTC, 5 p.m. #2) fell to the Moldovan by decision.
*Ildar Hafizov (60kg, Army/WCAP, 5pm #1; round robin)
The second consecutive round robin, except 60 kilos, welcomes six participants and will therefore regroup in the semi-finals. Hafizov has two Azerbaijani athletes to deal with, as well as a Turk who is now finding his stride at that Olympic weight. The first will be the 2018 cadet world gold medalist/multiple times per age group Nihat Mammadliwho is an aggressive, long-limbed thrower and projected as a potential Olympian for the Eastern European nation in 24. The hill remains steep in the next round, where Ekrem Ozturk (TUR) is waiting for you. Ozturk won world bronze in 2018 aged 55, but briefly climbed to 60 last year before returning to 55 for Oslo. After Mammadli and Ozturk, Hafizov has one more hurdle on his way to a possible semi-final appearance – world bronze 21 Murad Mammadov. Mammadov is now well known to hardcores. More balanced than Mammadli from an offensive point of view but better defender on the ground.
*Jesse Thielke (63kg, Army/WCAP, 5pm #2; round robin)
Difficult draws are the name of the game, a fact Thielke is very comfortable with. In his first international tournament since 2018, the ‘Honey Badger’ will first face one of Azerbaijan’s most underrated lightweights in Taleh Mammadov (AZE). Mammadov won his second straight silver medal at the Euros in March, which was also his third career medal at the event. Thielke’s second fight, which will come in round 3, offers him an excellent chance to make a splash: the reigning world gold (at 60) Victor Ciobanu (MDA). The hyper-driver Ciobanu made his debut at 63 years ago, and it’s this weight class he’s eyeing for Belgrade.
*Alex Sancho (67kg, Army/WCAP, 5pm #1; quarter-final)
Sancho’s pass to the quarter-finals will see him opposed by either Sajjag Ali Imentalabfoumai (IRI) or of Armenian descent Tigranes Galustian (ENG) — but the probability rests with Imentalabfoumai. A bronze medalist three years ago at the under-23 level, Imentalabfoumai is part of a long line of skilled Iranians in this weight range who are forced to step onto the bench due to Mohammadreza Geraei maintain his status as the sport’s best all-around athlete. Interestingly, if Sancho had advanced, he could have mihai mihut (ROU) in the semi-finals. Sancho beat Mihut in the 2017 Zagreb Grand Prix final but was decided by the Romanian two and a half years later in Haparanda.
*Alan Vera (87 kg, NYAC, 5 p.m. #1, qualifying round)
There are three Hungarians in the mix at 87 and Vera will have to get past the hardest worker in the peloton. Istvan Takacs has become an extremely tough proposition on the international circuit thanks in large part to a steady approach, expansive lungs and high proficiency on land. If Vera can back down Takacs, he’ll likely face the 2020 Olympian/multi-time European Championships medalist Islam Abbasov (AZE).
*Cohlton Schultz (130 kg, Sunkist, 5 p.m. #1, quarter-final)
’16 Olympic bronze medal Sabah Shariati (AZE) or Darius Vitek (HUN). Those are Schultz’s chances in the quarter-finals. Schultz beat Vitek to open his march to the 2019 World Juniors final, although Vitek has added size and seasoning since that encounter. He also won a bronze medal at the U23 World Cup. Shariati has been in this business for a long time, and after his bronze medal in Rio, his activity level has dropped a bit. If young Mr. Schultz fights his way to the semi-finals, he will have either Beka Kandelaki (AZE) or Roma Fridrikas (LTU). Kandelaki made headlines earlier this year when he caught and pinned Riza Kayaalp (TUR) to Vehbi Emre.
Day 2 (June 23)
*Member of the USA World Team
Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm, quarter-final)
Smith begins with Havaard Joergensenwho is a member of the Norway national team at 67 kilograms with Morten Thoresen. It’s the type of game in which Smith will hail a like-minded opponent but might not be able to keep up the pace in the second period. If Smith qualified for the semi-final, he could have Valentine Petic (MDA). In 2019, Petic won bronze at the Junior and U23 Worlds. He hasn’t flourished at Senior yet, but he’s an aggressive guy who doesn’t hesitate to create attacks.
*Kamal Bey (77 kg, Army/WCAP, 5pm #3, qualifying round)
A very intriguing matchup right off the bat for Bey in the form of ’22 Euro Gold Robert Frisch, which increased from 72 kilograms. Fritsch is a very busy but stoic worker in the bonds who is hard to shake, hard to coerce into unwanted transitions. Fritsch is a raggedy, though he’s not afraid to up his tempo depending on the tenor of a match. If Bey can find a way to score enough – which he can – then a quarter-final showdown in the face Abdurrhaman Kalkan (TUR) would be next.
Spencer Woods (82 kg, Army/WCAP, 5 p.m. #2, quarter-final)
Solid first contact supported by the same type of sustained physique he offered Ben Headmaster (NYAC, 5 p.m. #1) could help Woods in his first game against Matteo Maffezzoli (ITA). It will be a fine sample for Woods, who is eager to gain as much overseas experience as possible. A win over Maffezzoli would likely result in a clash with the two-time U23 world champion Daniel Cataraga (MDA). Cataraga – who tends to be bruised and relentless for the six minute run – has yet to test the waters at 82 as much of his career has been at 77 and 71/72.
MATTEO PELLICONE 2022 MEMORIAL SCHEDULE
Every hour +6 hours ET and Matteo Pellicone will respect the format of a day. FLOWrestling will broadcast the live broadcast in the United States.
Wednesday June 22
10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. — Qualifications-semi-finals — 55, 60, 63, 67, 87, 97 and 130 kg
6:00-8:30 p.m. — Finals/medal matches
Thursday June 23
10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. — Qualifications-semi-finals — 72, 77 and 82 kg
6:00-8:30 p.m. — Finals/medal matches
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