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Fadzaev vs. Park is the new “Bout of the Week” on USA Wrestling Audio/Video website



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 Arsen Fadzaev vs. Park Jang-Soon men's freestyle gold medal match at 68 kg/149.5 lbs. at the Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.

This matchup is between two of the greatest wrestlers of their era, both who are among the top stars ever produced by their nations in freestyle wrestling.

Arsen Fadzaev of the Soviet Union had already established himself as a true superstar in wrestling by 1988.

Fadzaev made his first mark on international wrestling in 1981, when he won an Espoir World gold medal. In 1983, he competed for the Soviet Union on the Senior level for the first time, and won his first World title at 149.5 pounds. He won his first European Senior title in 1984. However, also in 1984, the Soviet Union boycotted the Olympic Games held in Los Angeles, Calif., which took away the chance for Fadzaev to make his Olympic debut.

During the next four years, Fadzaev won a gold medal in every major event that he entered, winning three more World gold medals (1985, 1986, 1987), another Espoir World title (1985), three more European titles, plus World Cup and World Super Championships gold medals. He was considered one of the most technically efficient wrestlers in history, an athlete who made very few mistakes and was always at his best at the major competitions.

On the other hand, Park Jang-Soon of Korea was just making his name known in international circles. He placed sixth at the 1987 World Championships, which made him a contender, but certainly not one of the favorites, for a medal at the Seoul Games.

Fadzaev won five matches to qualify for the gold-medal finals in Seoul. He defeated Anguel Yassenov of Bulgaria, Juan Caride of Spain, Jukka Rauhala of Finland, Amir Reza Khadem of Iran and Kosei Akaishi of Japan in his pool to make the finals.

On the other side, Park needed seven victories to reach the championship round. His victims, in order, were Gerard Santoro of France, Rene Neyer of Switzerland, Danielle Navarette of Argentina, Cris Brown of Australia, Hemnedeh Amara of Mongolia, Nate Carr of the United States and David McKay of Canada. His victory over Carr was a tight 3-2 battle, one that wrestling fans still remember could have gone either way.

In the Seoul Olympic championship finals, wrestling with the same consistent style that made him a legend, Fadzaev scored a 6-0 victory over Park to claim his first Olympic gold medal.

After Seoul, both wrestlers continued to dominate on the world level. Fadzaev won every tournament he entered in the next four years, except one. A World silver medal came in 1989, when Fadzaev moved up one weight class to 74 kg (163 lbs.) where he lost in the gold-medal finals to 1988 Olympic champion Kenny Monday of the United States. Back at 68 kg the next year, Fadzaev won World titles in 1990 and 1991, then added a second Olympic gold medal in 1992 at the Barcelona Olympics.

If you look at Arsen Fadzaev's biography on the FILA database, there are 22 major entries. Fadzaev won 20 gold medals, 1 silver medal and a 13th place that really should not be on the list. That 13th place came in 1996, when an older Fadzaev returned from four years of retirement to compete in the 1996 Olympic Games, placing 13th for Uzbekistan.

Fadzaev's career achievements make him one of the greats of all time, and he has already been inducted into the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame.

After Seoul, Park did not wrestle in a World Championships event until 1991, when he moved up to 74 kg/163 lbs. and placed fifth. As with the previous Olympics, he had a tremendous performance at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, winning the Olympic gold medal by defeating 1988 Olympic champion Kenny Monday of the United States in the finals.

Park won his only World Championships gold medal in 1993 in Toronto, Canada, defeating World and Olympic champion Dave Schultz of the United States in the finals. He would not appear in a World-level event for Korea again until 1996, where he captured a second Olympic silver medal, falling in the gold-medal finals to a new young superstar from Russia, Bouvaisa Saitiev. It was his last major competition.

By winning an Olympic gold medal, three career Olympic medals and a World gold medal. Park is clearly one of the greatest freestyle wrestlers ever produced by Korea and one of his era's top international stars.

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 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. Many other entertaining and historic matches are in the archive section for the Bout of the Week.
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