Trio of Reigning European Champs Punch Ticket to Thursday Night’s Finals

By Eric Olanowski

ROME, Italy (February 12) --- Reigning European champions Oksana LIVACH (UKR), Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) and Yasemin ADAR (TUR) punched their tickets to Thursday night’s finals and will look to defend their continental crowns from last year. 

Livach won three matches on Wednesday and will square off against Miglena SELISHKA (BUL) in the 50kg finals. She started her day with a two-point win over seventh-ranked Evin DEMIRHAN (TUR). She also defeated Demirhan by two points at last year’s European Championships. 

Livach added a 12-2 technical superiority victory over Julie Martine SABATIE (FRA), setting up a semifinals match against U23 world silver medalist Milana DADASHEVA (RUS). She survived the 17-point back-and-forth brawl against the Russian and will face off against Miglena SELISHKA (BUL) in the finals.

Selishka stopped Kseniya STANKEVICH (BLR), 10-6, in the semifinals and will meet Livach in a rematch of last year's 50kg European finals. 

Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) celebrates after beating Liubov OVCHAROVA (RUS), 5-5, in the 59kg semifinals. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Bulgaria’s Bilyana Dudova will wrestle rising star Anastasia NICHITA (MDA) for the 59kg gold medal. 

Dudova scored seven unanswered points in her semifinals match against reigning world silver medalist Liubov OVCHAROVA (RUS) and remained in line to defend her European title from last year. She was down 6-0 but scored seven straight points and will meet the young Moldavan who has been on a tear in Rome. 

Nichita, who’ll celebrate her 21st birthday next week, went 3-0 on Wednesday, picking up a fall and outscored her other two opponents 20-0 en route to the finals.

She crushed Ramona GALAMBOS (HUN), 10-0, in her opening match, then pinned third-ranked Anhelina LYSAK (UKR) on her way to the semifinals. She reached the finals with a 10-0 shutout win over Laura MERTENS (GER). 

The 76kg finals will feature Yasemin Adar and Ekaterina BUKINA (RUS). 

Adar won three matches on Wednesday and made it to her fifth straight European finals. The four-time defending champion eked out a 5-4 win against third-ranked Aline ROTTER FOCKEN (GER) in her opening-round match. She followed that match up with a fall over Kamila Czeslawa KULWICKA (POL) and a 10-0 stomping of Pauline LECARPENTIER (FRA). 

Adar will wrestle Rio Olympic bronze medalist Bukina in a rematch of the 2018 European finals.

Bukina erased a five-point deficit against 2017 world silver medalist Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR) and will lace up in her fourth European gold-medal match. She’s 0-3 in her previous three trips to the finals. 

Khanum VELIEVA (RUS) locks up a cradle against world champion Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR) in their semifinals meeting. (Photo: Gabor Martin)

Russia Puts Three into Thursday Night Finals 
Olga KHOROSHAVTSEVA (RUS) and Khanum VELIEVA (RUS) joined Bukina in the winner’s circle on Wednesday night and will wrestle for European gold on Thursday night. 

Olga Khorshavtseva laced her way to a 10-8 victory over Rio Olympic bronze medalist Sofia MATTSSON (SWE). She’ll meet Solomiia VYNNYK (UKR), who edged Mariana DRAGUTAN (MDA) in the 55kg finals. 

Khanum Velieva picked up arguably the biggest win of her young senior-level career and set up a battle with Italy’s unlikely European finalist, Dalma CANEVA (ITA). The Russian three-time age-group world champion dominated the 2018 world champion Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR), 11-1, and locked up a finals berth in her first senior-level European appearance.

She’ll square off with Italy’s Dalma Caneva in the 68kg gold-medal match. Caneva won two matches on Wednesday and closed her day out with a stunning 4-2 win over reigning world bronze medalist Anna SCHELL (GER).

The Day Four women's wrestling finals start at 18:00 (local time) and can be followed live on www.unitedworldwrestling.org.

GOLD - Miglena SELISHKA (BUL) vs. Oksana LIVACH (UKR)
SEMIFINAL - Miglena SELISHKA (BUL) df. Kseniya STANKEVICH (BLR), 10-6 
SEMIFINAL - Oksana LIVACH (UKR) df. Milana DADASHEVA (RUS), 9-8 

SEMIFINAL - Solomiia VYNNYK (UKR) df. Mariana DRAGUTAN (MDA), 9-8 

GOLD - Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) vs. Anastasia NICHITA (MDA)
SEMIFINAL - Bilyana DUDOVA (BUL) df. Liubov OVCHAROVA (RUS), 7-6 
SEMIFINAL - Anastasia NICHITA (MDA) df. Laura MERTENS (GER), 10-0 

GOLD - Khanum VELIEVA (RUS) and Dalma CANEVA (ITA)
SEMIFINAL - Dalma CANEVA (ITA) df. Anna SCHELL (GER), 4-2 

GOLD - Yasemin ADAR (TUR) vs. Ekaterina BUKINA (RUS)
SEMIFINAL - Yasemin ADAR (TUR) df. Pauline LECARPENTIER (FRA), 10-0 
SEMIFINAL - Ekaterina BUKINA (RUS) df. Vasilisa MARZALIUK (BLR), 5-5 


Anthony, Moore star for USA with gold at Matteo Pellicone

By Vinay Siwach

OSTIA, Italy (March 7) --- Victory ANTHONY (USA) had been to five Ranking Series before arriving in Rome for the Matteo Pellicone event. For all her efforts, she had won two bronze medals scattered over 2019 and 2020.

Despite her being one of the top wrestlers at 50kg, Anthony somehow had failed to finish at the top of the podium at international events.

But Saturday was different. Wrestling at her second Matteo Pellicone event, the USA wrestler showcased why she is still a force to reckon by winning the gold medal after defeating European champion Miglena Georgieva SELISHKA (BUL) 15-10 in the final on Saturday.

"It was the biggest win for me in recent history which is like five years," Anthony said. "This is the first tournament where I have wrestled to my potential, peak ability. I am really happy with that."

Anthony's performance in Rome was perhaps one of the best in the tournament as he dominated every bout and even when she was trailing, she did not lose her cool. This was USA's second gold medal in women's wrestling as Taymara Mensah-Stock won the gold at 68kg on Friday.

Two-time World Championships and returning silver medalist Emilia Alina VUC (ROU) was the favorite to win the category buy Anthony even destroyed her with a 10-0 win in the semifinals.

But it was the final that showed her grit. She led Selishka 9-3 at the break as she had a series of takedowns but the Bulgarian scripted a turnaround in the second period. She first had a single leg takedown which brought down the difference to 7-9 before an exposure gave her the lead 9-9 on criteria. With time running out and she out of option, Anthony used her trademark trip to get four points and win the gold medal 13-10.

"At the beginning I was like I was going to tech her in the first few minutes," she said. "It's like you can come out on top of this roller-coaster instead of, this has happened in the past, I end up losing that match. I felt that edge in this final and I just reset myself. It's like a clap and every time. It's like a neutral energy and I'm not worried."

Kollin Raymond MOORE (USA) wrestles Alireza Mohammad KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI)

The 29-year-old was not the only American to stun the favorite. U23 World silver medalist Kollin MOORE (USA) handed senior world silver medalist at 92kg Alireza Mohammad KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI) a 3-3 criteria win in the 97kg final.

Both wrestlers exchanged a point each for step out before the Iranian scored a takedown to lead 3-1. He tried holding the lead and did try to get Moore out of bounds. The American survived that and countered with a double leg to score a takedown and take the lead on criteria which stood to give him the gold.

The only defending champion to have a smooth sailing was Vinesh PHOGAT (IND) as she claimed her second consecutive gold medal in Rome with a 4-0 win over former world bronze medalist Diana WEICKER (CAN). Phogat won her two bouts via fall and did not concede a single point en route the gold medal.


In the final, Phogat scored the first takedown with a snap after she was warned for passivity. She later completed a double-leg takedown to make it 4-0. She defended her lead despite Weicker getting a hold of her leg a couple of times in the bout.

"I am not satisfied with this performance at all. I won but I want to attack more," Phogat said. "I want my score to be more than 4-0. While my mind knows that but my body is not allowing me to do it."

Phogat's win in the morning session saw her pin fellow Indian Nandini SALOKHE (IND) before winning the same way against Samantha STEWART (CAN) in the semifinal. Phogat's wins in Rome was her third consecutive Ranking Series gold medal and fourth medal at the event.

At 55kg, Jacqueline Del Rocio MOLLOCANA ELENO (ECU) won the gold medal while Aisha UALISHAN (KAZ) came home with a silver. Abigail Elizabeth NETTE added the third gold medal for USA in Rome as she beat Diana KAYUMOVA (KAZ) in the Nordic system at 59kg.

Elsewhere, in men's 125kg Amarveer DHESI (CAN) continued his rise by winning his second-ever gold medal at the Ranking Series event. In Nordic style competition, Dhesi first defeated SUMIT (IND) 14-4 before handing Pan Am champion Anthony Robert NELSON (USA) a 5-0 blanking. In Round 4, he pinned Oleg BOLTIN (KAZ).

But Round 5 was anti-climatic as he suffered a 11-0 defeat at the hands of Asian champion Yusup BATIRMURZAEV (KAZ). He still finished with the top medal due to his earlier results. Nelson finished with the bronze medal.


Women's Wrestling

Final #WrestleRome WW team scores
GOLD: Kazakhstan (129 points)
SILVER: Canada (89 points)
BRONZE: Italy (88 points)
Fourth: USA (75 points)
Fifth: India (69 points)

GOLD: Victoria ANTHONY (USA) df. Miglena Georgieva SELISHKA (BUL) 15-10
BRONZE: Elina Amilia VUC (ROU) df Valentina Ivanovna ISLAMOVA BRIK (KAZ) via inj. def.

GOLD: Vinesh PHOGAT (IND) df. Diana WEICKER (CAN) 4-0
BRONZE: Samantha Leigh STEWART (CAN) df. Nandini Bajirao SALOKHE (IND) via fall

GOLD: Jacqueline Del Rocio MOLLOCANA ELENO (ECU) df. Aisha UALISHAN (KAZ)

GOLD:  Abigail Elizabeth NETTE (USA) df. Diana KAYUMOVA (KAZ)

GOLD: Gaukhar MUKATAY (KAZ) df Veronica BRASCHI (ITA) 8-0

Men's Freestyle

GOLD: Kollin Raymond MOORE (USA) df. Alireza Mohammad KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI) 3-3
BRONZE: Alisher YERGALI (KAZ) df. Feyzullah AKTURK (TUR) 6-1
BRONZE: Hayden Nicholas ZILLMER df. Ibrahim CIFTCI (TUR) 7-4

GOLD: Amarveer DHESI (CAN)
BRONZE: Anthony Robert NELSON (USA)