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|Beloglazov vs. Mohammedian is the new “Bout of the Week” on USA Wrestling Audio/Video 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 1988 Sergei Beloglazov vs. Asgari Mohammedian men's freestyle gold-medal match at 57 kg/125.5 lbs. at the Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.
This match featured one of the greatest wrestlers of all time against a wrestler who became known for his ability to rise to the occasion. Anybody who saw this match will also remember the amazing display of sportsmanship at its conclusion.
By 1988, Sergei Beloglazov of the Soviet Union had established himself as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. Starting with the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, Beloglazov won every World-level title through the Seoul Games, except the 1984 Olympic Games when the Soviet Union boycotted the Los Angeles Games. That means that he was an Olympic champion and a six-time World champion going into the 1988 season.
Beloglazov, along with his twin brother Anatoly, took the wrestling community by storm right from their youth. He was a silver medalist at the 1975 Espoir World Championships, then a Senior World silver medalist at the 1979 World meet, losing to Hideaki Tomiyama of Japan in the finals. From that point forward, every event that he entered, including World Championships, World Cups and European Championships, ended with Beloglazov winning a gold medal.
It wasn't just that he won every time, but how he wrestled, that made Beloglazov such a superstar. He competed with an intensity and technical skill that was unmatched. Sergei Beloglazov had a very powerful, active style with precise and crisp technical execution. Nobody else wrestled like Sergei.
Asgari Mohammedian of Iran was not very well known heading into the Seoul Olympic Games. He had competed in only two major events on the Senior level prior to the Olympics, winning the 1983 Asian Championships and the 1986 Asian Games. The Seoul Olympics was his first major World-level tournament.
Beloglazov won six matches to qualify for the gold-medal match at the Seoul Olympics. He defeated Juegen Scheibe of Germany, David Ogden of Great Britain, Vinod Kumar of India, Ryo Kanehama of Japan, Akhmet Ak of Turkey and Bela Nagy of Hungary in his pool.
On the other side, Mohammedian ran through five opponents to make the finals. His victims were Haltma Batuul of Mongolia, Waruingi Kimani of Kenya, Yongliang Chen of China, Noh Kyung-Sun of Korea and Valentin Ivanov of Bulgaria.
The championship match was very competitive, but Beloglazov wrestled with the same precision and energy as always, defeating Mohammedian, 5-1. Although it is not shown on the video posted here, after the match, Mohammedian lifted Beloglazov off the mat and carried him around in a big circle, allowing the crowd to applaud the great champion. It was a sign of respect and admiration for Beloglazov, now a two-time Olympic champion.
For the most part, this was the ending of a great career for Beloglazov. He lost an exhibition match in 1989 in Pittsburgh, Pa. against American World and Olympic champion John Smith. In 1993, he showed up at the World Championships in Toronto, Canada, competing for his native Ukraine, and did not place. Neither of these events took away from the genius and talent that Beloglazov brought to wrestling.
Beloglazov moved to the United States to take an assistant coaching job at Lehigh Univ. in the early 1990s. Beloglazov left the USA for a few other coaching assignments, working with the Japanese national team as its coach, then returning to Russia to coach their national team. He returned to the United States in 2003 to take the job as USA Wrestling's National Freestyle Resident Coach. In 2004, Beloglazov accepted the freestyle coaching position with the Sunkist Kids club in Phoenix, Ariz. He has been inducted as a charter member into the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Mohammedian continued to compete, but only at a few more major events, making the championship match each time. He was second at the 1989 Asian Championships, then placed second behind Kim Sik-Seung of Korea at the 1989 World Championships. For the next few years, Iran did not enter Mohammedian at any major events.
He made his comeback at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, competing up a weight division at 63 kg/136.5 lbs. As was his habit, Mohammedian wrestled with skill and passion to qualify for the gold-medal finals, where he drew 1988 Olympic champion John Smith of the United States. Smith, who had lost a bout during his pool competition but made the finals, controlled the action in the gold-medal round to defeat Mohammedian for his second career Olympic gold.
Mohammedian will be remembered as the athlete who lost to the greats Beloglazov and Smith in the final Olympic Games matches for those superstars. However, Mohammedian also will be remembered for his ability to be at his best when it counted, and how represented his nation with class and great skill.
Posted in the archive section of the Members Only web page was the 2000 Brandon Slay vs. Bouvaisa Saitiev men's freestyle match at 76 kg/167.5 lbs. at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Many other entertaining and historic matches are in the archive section for the Bout of the Week.