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|Monday vs. Fadzaev is the new “Bout of the Week” on USA Wrestling Members-Only website|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
USA Wrestling has updated its new "Bout of the Week" which has been posted as a video file on-line on TheMat.com Audio/Video website .
The featured match this week is the 1989 Kenny Monday vs. Arsen Fadzeav men's freestyle match at 74 kg/163 lbs. from the World Championships in Martigny, Switzerland.
This matchup featured two of the best wrestlers of their generation. They were Olympic champions at different weight classes who met in a major showdown when one of the stars decided to move up in weight.
At the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, Kenny Monday of the United States and Arsen Fadzaev of the Soviet Union were both Olympic gold medalists. Fadzaev won his Olympic title at 68 kg/149.5 lbs. and Monday captured the title at 74 kg/163 lbs. Both were approaching the peak of their wrestling abilities in 1989.
Fadzaev had perhaps the most efficient technical skills of any freestyle wrestler during his era, an athlete who wrestled with a precision and patience. Monday had speed, power and explosive technique, and put on a dazzling show when wrestling at his best.
A high school star from Tulsa, Okla., Kenny was a NCAA champion and three-time finalist for Oklahoma State Univ. In freestyle, Monday wrestled in one the United States' most successful weight divisions at 163 pounds and developed a rivalry with World and Olympic champion Dave Schultz. In 1988, Monday took over the weight class, winning the U.S. Nationals then beating Schultz in the Olympic Team Trials in Pensacola, Fla. Monday proved he was ready by winning the Olympic gold in Seoul. In 1989, Monday maintained his control of the U.S. field, and qualified for the World Championships for the first time.
By then, Fadzaev was already one of the world's top stars, as well. He won a gold medal in every major international tournament that he entered leading into the 1989 World Championships. That included two Espoir World titles, and three Senior World Championships, plus events such as the European Championships, the FILA Gala Grand Prix, the World Cup and the World Super Championships. His victory at the 1988 Olympic Games was also impressive.
At the 1989 World Championships, both wrestlers competed with dominance and skill. Fadzaev seemed to handle the change in weight without a major challenge, and earned a spot in the gold-medal finals.
Monday worked through the field with only a few close bouts. He defeated Cham Zu Cham of North Korea, 12-0, and Janos Nagy of Hungary, 7-2. The next match was a 3-2 decision over Pevri Seker of Turkey. Monday continued with a pin of Joachim Stenholm of Sweden in 1:15, and a disqualification victory over Valentin Jelev of Bulgaria to earn a spot in the finals.
In the finals, Monday, who is physically bigger than Fadzaev, was able to gain control of the bout, and went on to a 6-1 championship victory. It was the only time at a World Championships event that Fadzaev did not earn a gold.
Both Fadzaev and Monday went on to more success prior to their retirements.
When Fadzaev went into retirement in 1992, he won six World Championships gold medals and two Olympic Games gold medals. Other golds came at the European Championships (four times), the World Cup (twice), the Super World Championships (twice) and other major events. Fadzaev was in the charter group of superstars inducted into the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame.
He had a one-time return to the mats at the 1996 Olympics, representing Uzbekistan, but did not medal, an appearance that took nothing away from Fadzaev's amazing record prior to 1992.
Monday was the U.S. representative at this weight class every year that he wrestled except in 1990, when Rob Koll defeated him in the World Team Trials. Monday came back in 1991 to win a silver medal at the World Championships, losing to Amir Reza Khadem of Iran in the gold-medal match.
Monday triumphed in the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials, making his second Olympic team. Prior to the event, he suffered a severe elbow injury which almost kept him out of the tournament. Monday did not surrender a point in the entire Olympics until the finals match, where he lost a 1-0 bout to Korea's Park Jang-Soon to take a silver.
In 1993, Monday retired from the sport, and Dave Schultz returned to the No. 1 spot on the U.S. team. In late 1995, Monday announced that he was making a comeback for the U.S. team, and a rematch against Schultz was greatly anticipated. However, Schultz was murdered in January 1996, and that showdown did not occur. Monday went on to make the 1996 Olympic team. At the Atlanta Olympics, he lost to a new young superstar, Bouvaisa Saitiev of Russia, in the semifinals, and Monday finished sixth. It was his last international wrestling tournament.
This popular feature will be changed on a regular basis, allowing members to enjoy many of the greatest matches in wrestling history.
Posted in the archive section of the Members Only web page was the Sammie Henson vs. Namik Abdullaev men's freestyle match at 54 kg/119 lbs. in the gold-medal finals at the 1998 World Freestyle Wrestling Championships in Tehran, Iran. Many other entertaining and historic matches are in the archive section for the Bout of the Week.