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|U.S. wins five of six bouts, Williams and Lawal advance to quarterfinals in Tuesday morning session|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
The U.S. men's freestyle team won five of six matches and advanced two wrestlers into the quarterfinal round during the morning session at the World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, September 27.
Winning two matches and advancing to the quarterfinals in their weight divisions were Joe Williams (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 74 kg/163 lbs. and Mo Lawal (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) at 84 kg/185 lbs.
Williams, a 2001 World bronze medalist, opened the tournament with a 2-0, 4-0 win over Kunihiko Obata of Japan. Williams scored two takedowns in each period, and added a gut wrench turn in the second period.
In the second round, he stopped Ahmet Gulhan of Turkey, 1-0, 1-0. He scored a takedown from the clinch in the first period, and hit a low single leg takedown in the second period. Gulhan was fifth in the 2002 World Championships.
Williams will face Soslan Tigiev of Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals on Tuesday afternoon.
Williams was fifth in the 2004 Olympic Games. He also placed fourth at the 1999 World Championships, and competed in the 2003 World Championships but did not place.
Lawal, who is wrestling in his first World Championships, opened with a pin in 22 seconds over Ibrahim Al Khatib of Libya. Lawal quickly threw Al Khatib to his back from the feet, and secured the fall.
In the second period, Lawal stopped Ruslan Sumenkov of Kyrgyzstan, 6-0, 1-0. He scored two three-point takedowns in the first period, and secured the only takedown of the second period.
Lawal will face 2003 World Champion and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Sazhid Sazhidov of Russia in the quarterfinals.
2004 Olympian Daniel Cormier (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) won his first match at 96 kg/211.5 pounds but was defeated in the second round.
He opened with a strong 4-0, 3-0 win over Peter Pecha of Slovakia, 4-0, 3-0. Cormier had two takedowns and a gut wrench turn in the first period, then scored three takedowns in the second period.
In the next round, he lost to Aleksei Krupnykov of Kyrgyzstan, 2-1, 8-1. Krupnykov scored two takedowns in the first period to beat Cormier, 2-1. In the second period, just 28 seconds into the bout, Krupnykov threw Cormier to his back with a bear hug for three points, then held him for an additional back point, for a quick 4-0 lead. Cormier had to try to force the action to get back into the bout, and was thrown again by Krupnykov for another three-pointer late in the period.
Cormier was fifth in the 2003 World Championships. Krupnykov competed in the 2004 Olympic Games but did not place, and is wrestling in his first World Championships.
Krupnykov must advance to the gold-medal finals in order for Cormier to be pulled back into the wrestle-back rounds. Only the athletes who lose to a finalist are eligible to wrestle back for the bronze medal.
All three weight divisions will be completed, with medals awarded, during the evening session of the World Championships later on Tuesday.
"Overall, it was a good round. We won five of six matches," said U.S. World Team coach Mike Duroe. "The match that we lost, we were in positions we didn't want to be in. You don't stay in dangerous positions. That is what Daniel did. Overall with things I am happy. They all came out this morning and were focused."
Weighins for the final men's freestyle weight class, 120 kg, will be held on Tuesday afternoon, along with the first two women's weight classes, 48 kg and 51 kg.