Akgul Bests Geno and Salkazanov Shocks 74kg Field in Warsaw

In a colossal battle of titans, Taha AKGUL (TUR) avenged his ’19 world finals loss to Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) and kept his hopes of winning an eighth continental title alive.

The two superstars who have won every continental gold medal since the ’12 European Championships met early Tuesday morning in the opening round at European Championships in Poland’s Hala Widowiskowo-Sportowa COS Torwar.

“My last match before surgery was against Geno, and my first match back was against Geno,” said the Rio Olympic champion who returned from a 15-month layoff after undergoing shoulder surgery last January. He continued, saying, “It’s been well over a year since I wrestled, but I felt good. I think it’s a good point to move forward to the Olympics and I’ll continue to train and hopefully get better before Tokyo.”


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Akgul put on a near-flawless performance and controlled the match from whistle to whistle. He scored a trio of takedowns against the reigning three-time world champ – two of which came from go behinds off Petriashvili’s shot attempts – and won the match 6-1.

“For me, I don’t care too much about when Geno and I wrestle. I knew we were going to wrestle at some point during the competition, so It didn’t change much whether it was in the qualification round, semifinals or finals.”

Akgul continued to roll throughout the day and picked up wins against Kamil Tomasz KOSCIOLEK (POL) and Dzianis KHRAMIANKOU (BLR) en route to the 125kg finals where he’ll wrestle Russia’s Sergei KOZYREV (RUS).


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Meanwhile, underdog Tajmuraz SALKAZANOV (SVK) scored three shocking wins on Tuesday and punched his ticket to the 74kg finals. The former Russian-turned-Slovakian picked up wins over a two-time world champion, U23 world champion and world silver medalist.

After running through Switzerland’s Marc DIETSCHE, Salkazanov threw two-time world champion Frank CHAMIZO (ITA) to his back with less than 10 seconds left and won, 6-2. That set up a quarterfinals match against ’18 world silver medalist Avtandil KENTCHADZE (GEO).

Salkazanov trailed Kentchadze, 5-0, but scored six unanswered points in the second period and upset the Georgian Tokyo Olympian, 6-5. Then, in the semifinals, he erased a five-point deficit for a second consecutive match and moved into the finals with a surprising 6-5 win over tournament-favorite and Individual World Cup champion Razambek ZHAMALOV (RUS).

Salkazanov will square off with Miroslav Stefanov KIROV (BUL) on Wednesday night for 74kg gold.

Source: www.uww.org

History of Karate

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