Angel Escobedo advances to bronze-medal match at World Championships

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Craig Sesker (USA Wrestling)

Angel Escobedo (right) defeated France’s Zoheir El Ouarraqe to reach the bronze-medal match on Monday. Tony Rotundo photo.

BUDAPEST, Hungary – American Angel Escobedo has reached the bronze-medal match at the World Championships.

Escobedo went 3-1 in the first session as the seven-day World Championships kicked off on Monday afternoon at Papp Laszlo Sports Arena.

Escobedo will meet Turkey’s Sezer Akgul in the bronze bout in freestyle wrestling at 55 kg/121 lbs. on Monday night in Budapest. Akgul won a World silver medal in 2009, but lost to American Obe Blanc in the first round of the 2010 Worlds.

The medal matches are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. local time (1 p.m. Eastern).

Escobedo dominated France’s Zoheir El Ouarraqe 8-2 in the first repechage match to reach the bronze-medal match.

Escoedo came out strong in scoring two first-period takedowns and one takedown in the second period to defeat Romania’s Andre Dukov in the first round on Monday.

Escobedo followed with a quick 8-0 technical fall over Hungary’s Robert Kardos in the second round. Escobedo scored a takedown before hitting a succession of gut wrenches to finish the match in just over a minute.

Escobedo was unable to generate any offense in a 6-0 loss to India’s Amit Kumar in the quarterfinals.

Escobedo was pulled back in for the repechage when Kumar advanced to the finals.

Brent Metcalf fell short of placing after dropping his opening bout at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.

Metcalf opened by falling to two-time World champion Mehdi Taghavi of Iran by a 5-2 score. Down 3-0, Metcalf scored on a pushout early in the second period before Taghavi came back with a takedown en route to the win.

Metcalf, competing in his second World Championships, was eliminated when Teghavi lost his next match and fell short of reaching the finals.

J.D. Bergman fell short of placing after dropping his opening bout at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.

Bergman came out strong in the first round and held a 3-0 lead earlier in the second over 2005 World bronze medalist Alexey Krupnyakov of Kyrgyzstan. But Krupnyakov caught Bergman with an upper-body throw and recorded a fall at the 3:58 mark.

Bergman was eliminated when Krupnyakov lost in the quarterfinals to fall short of the finals. Bergman was competing in his second World Championships.

“I probably could’ve played defense the rest of the match and been totally fine because he didn’t have much offense,” Bergman said after he built a 3-0 lead. “I’ve been in that position for the whole summer with a bear hug and pushing guys to the edge. I wanted him to try something like that and make a mistake, but it didn’t work out that way. It’s extremely unfortunate when I clearly felt I was in control of the match. I didn’t think I was in as much danger as I clearly was.”

Bulgaria’s Boris Novachkov, a past NCAA runner-up for Cal Poly, dropped a first-round decision to Japan’s Takahiro Inoue at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. The match finished with a 5-5 score, but Inoue won on a tiebreaker.

Day 2 of the seven-day event is set for Tuesday in Budapest. American freestyle wrestlers Reece Humphrey, Keith Gavin and Tervel Dlagnev are scheduled to compete.

Papp Laszlo Sports Arena, Budapest, Hungary

Gold-medal matchups

55 kg/121 lbs.
Amit Kumar (India) vs. Hassan Rahimi (Iran)

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Devid Safaryan (Armenia) vs. Livan Lopez (Cuba)

96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Khetag Gazyumov (Azerbaijan) vs. Reza Yazdani (Iran)

U.S. results

55 kg/121 lbs. – Angel Escobedo, Columbus, Ohio (New York AC/Titan Mercury WC)
WIN Andre Dukov (Romania), 6-0
WIN Robert Kardos (Hungary), 8-0
LOSS Amit Kumar (India), 0-6
WIN Zoheir El Ouarraqe (France), 8-2
vs. Sezer Akgul (Turkey) in bronze-medal match

66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Brent Metcalf, Iowa City, Iowa (New York AC/Titan Mercury WC)
LOSS Mehdi Taghavi (Iran), 2-5

96 kg/211.5 lbs. – J.D. Bergman, Columbus, Ohio (New York AC/Titan Mercury WC)
LOSS Alexey Krupnyakov (Kyrgyzstan), 3:58