One of the biggest stories of the Greco portion of the European Championships took place at 98 kg, where Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia, world no. 1) defeated third ranked Dimitri Timchenko (Ukraine). The victory for the Armenian is one thing; that it happened during the round of sixteen is another. Timchenko was seen as a favorite in the bracket in his own right, obviously, but these kinds of things happen at world-level tournaments just like this one. It’s not that this was a back-and-forth battle. It wasn’t. Aleksanyan did what he does. But it is a fun match to take a closer look at.
Aleksanyan simply appeared more explosive from the outset. He probably figured it was necessary. Timchenko likes to go high on opponents, locking up front headlocks and other scoring holds using his height, which at times serves him well. Aleksanyan moved right in after a little hand-fighting to isolate Timchenko’s arm. Aleksanyan’s strength is put on display right here, as he ties up Timchenko’s left arm and basically bullies him down the mat. You might see more of this at the heavier weights but that doesn’t make it any less startling.
At the :29 mark, Aleksanyan fights off a front-headlock attempt from Timchenko and instantly locks around the Ukrainian’s body for a lift attempt. He doesn’t get a full suplay, but it’s good enough for four. This set the tone. When Aleksanyan is aggressive early, he usually stays that way. In this period, he was aggressive early.
Following the toss, the officials of course had to hold a consortium to figure out the points. Plus, Aleksanyan had to heal himself with his Wolverine powers after apparently kicking himself in the stomach with Timchenko’s leg. Who knows. At the re-start, Timchenko got aggressive. Being down 4-0 to a world champ will do that to a man. Both wrestlers battled for inside position for the better part of a minute; Timchenko quickly attempted an arm spin but got back up right away. His urgency was matched evenly by Aleksanyan’s defensive posture, as it looked like the Armenian was biding his time for the next opportunity. It wouldn’t come again until the second, as the two clashed and clashed until the period expired.
Timchenko knew he had ground to make up and began wrestling like it, attempting to bait Aleksanyan in with two-on-ones, drags, and anything else he could muster to disrupt his opponent’s footing. However – Aleksanyan was looking to be aggressive as well, as the two seemed locked at an impasse. Before long, the official beckoned to Timchenko to go in par-terre, which would lead to the bout’s conclusion.
Aleksanyan quickly wrapped his arms around the Ukrainian’s waist, gutting him one way and then another. There’s your four spot to end the match. Luckily for Timchenko, he didn’t have to sweat too much wondering whether or not he was going to hit the repechage. Aleksanyan didn’t exactly dominate the field on his way to the finals quite the way he took apart Timchenko, but there wasn’t a bunch of tense moments, either.
The Greco Roman European Championships usually give you some intriguing match-ups early in the tournament, and this year was no different. But this one has to be the highlight simply because it provides a nice glimpse at what Aleksanyan has been capable of under these rules. He is still pretty young, too, which makes his current run and overall career achievements thus far all the more impressive.
Check out the full match. It won’t take too long.