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Monday vs. Varaev is the new “Bout of the Week” on USA Wrestling Members-Only 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 Kenny Monday vs. Adlan Varaev men's freestyle gold-medal match at 74 kg/163 lbs. from Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.

This matchup featured the reigning World champion from the Soviet Union against a young American star who had come from a long line of U.S. champions at the weight class.

The international wrestling world knew all about Adlan Varaev of the Soviet Union prior to the Seoul Games. Varaev was a World champion in 1987, defeating 1984 Olympic champion Dave Schultz of the United States in the gold-medal match.

Varaev had established himself as the top Soviet at the time in his division, winning a World silver medal at the 1986 World Championships and a European Championships gold medal in 1986 and 1987.

Monday was a newcomer to the World scene in 1988. He had a big breakthrough during the year, defeating Dave Schultz during the Olympic Team Trials after a few years placing behind Schultz on the national level. The big win came during the Olympic Team Trials in Pensacola, Fla. in June 1988.

American wrestling fans knew all about Monday, a high school star from Tulsa, Okla. Who climbed USA Wrestling's ladder of success. Kenny was a NCAA champion and three-time finalist for Oklahoma State Univ. Monday had all the tools, speed, strength and technique, and had to beat one of the all-time greats just to make the American team.

The U.S. had established a strong legacy of champions at 74 kg/163 lbs., with World champions Stan Dziedzic, Lee Kemp and Schultz preceding him. Schultz had won an Olympic title, and Dziedzic won an Olympic medal. Kemp, who won three World titles, was denied a chance at Olympic glory because of the 1980 U.S. government boycott of the Moscow Olympics.

Both wrestlers were competing at a very high level at the Barcelona Games.

Varaev won six straight matches to qualify for the gold medal round. He defeated, in order, Ayatollah Vagorzi of Iran, Haitham Jibara of Iraq, Anwar Mohd of Pakistan, Claudiu Tamaduianu of Romania, Uwe Westendorf of East Germany and Rakhmad Sofiyadi of Bulgaria to capture his pool.

Monday also went on a run, winning seven straight times in his pool. His victims, in order, were Fitzloyd Walker of Great Britain, Alfonso Jessel of Mexico, Janos Magy of Hungary, Saban Sejdi of Yugoslavia, Gary Holmes of Canada, Lodoy Enhbayar of Mongolia and Pekka Rauhala of Finland.

The gold-medal match between Varaev and Monday was memorable, going down to an overtime takedown by Monday to capture the gold medal.

After this match, the competitive lives of these athletes went in two directions. Varaev never represented the Soviet Union again at a major international event after losing in the finals to Monday.

In 1989, Monday came back to the World Championships and won a gold medal, defeating Olympic champion Arsen Fadzaev of the Soviet Union, who moved up in weight, in the finals. In 1990, Monday lost to Rob Koll in the U.S. Trials. In 1991, he came back to win a silver medal at the World Championships, losing to Amir Reza Khadem of Iran in the gold-medal match.

Monday would compete in three Olympic Games in his career. In 1993, in spite of a severe elbow injury, Monday won a silver medal at the Barcelona Olympic Games. He did not allow a point in his preliminary matches, then he lost a 1-0 bout to Korea's Park Jang-Soon in the finals.

Monday was retired from wrestling from 1993-1995, but made a comeback for the 1996 Olympic Games. He was expected to battle longtime rival Dave Schultz for the spot, but Schultz was murdered early in the year. Monday made the U.S. Olympic team, and reached the semifinals of the Atlanta Olympics. After losing to Russian star Bouvaisa Saitiev of Russia, he lost one more time and finished sixth. It was his last international wrestling tournament.

Monday and Varaev are still very active in wrestling. Varaev is a coach and leader within the Russian Wrestling Federation. Monday is a youth wrestling coach in Texas, and is active and involved in USA Wrestling on the national level.

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