Saturday morning brings forth the 2019 Haparanda Cup from Haparanda, Sweden. Aside from the fact there will be a very strong USA presence, the tournament will also be available to watch online via YouTube live stream (details below).
Two items of note: the Haparanda Cup is featuring all ten weight classes, not just the Olympic categories that will dominate most international events this season. Also, a two-kilogram allowance is in effect — an interesting tidbit for all competitors, but especially the American athletes who are trying new weight classes out (such as Nick Tarpley, who intends to enter 67 kg).
For the majority of US entrants on Saturday, the competition itself comes on the heels of some major overseas training. A group of Marines first went over to Norway earlier this month before trekking to Finland ahead of this tournament. Lest anyone forget the large delegation of US Seniors who just wrapped a two-week camp (or thereabouts) in Georgia.
When the Haparanda Cup concludes, there will still be one more overseas event to go — the Haavisto Cup in Finland, which is scheduled for December 7 (the following Saturday). And, when Haavisto is logged in the books, it will effectively cap US international competition for the calendar year.
The 2019 Haparanda Cup gets underway Saturday morning at 10:00am local time (4:00am ET) and will be streamed live on YouTube. Here is the link. 5PM will have ongoing updates and post-session recaps to look forward to, as well.
2019 Haparanda Cup Entries
*Weight classes for US athletes subject to change.
Prio US Haparanda Cup medalists (active this weekend)
Eight of the US Greco wrestlers competing on Saturday appeared in this tournament last year.
Colton Rasche (63 kg, Marines) — 2018, silver
Jamel Johnson (67 kg, Marines) — 2018, silver
John Stefanowicz (87 kg, Marines) — 2018, bronze (at 82 kg)
Daniel Miller (97 kg, Marines) — 2018, bronze
Max Nowry (Army/WCAP, world no. 5) — 2019 World Team, ’19 US National Champion, two-time Pan Am Championships gold
Dalton Roberts (NYAC/OTS) — 2018 World Team, ’18 US National Champion, two-time U23 World Team
Logan Hatch (EAP/USOPTC)
Xavier Johnson (Marines) — 2019 Final X runner-up, two-time US National Team
Ryan Mango (Army/WCAP, world no. 6) — 2019 World Team, two-time US National Champion, ’18 Pan Am Championships gold
Nolan Baker (USOPTC) — 2018 U23 World Team
Morgan Flaharty (NYAC)
Jamel Johnson (Marines) — 2012 University World bronze, ’19 Final X runner-up
Colton Rasche (Marines)
Chris Rodgers (USOPTC)
Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP) — 2017 U23 World Team, multi-time US National Team
Nick Tarpley (NYAC)
Ray Bunker (Marines) 2019 World Team
Michael Hooker (Army/WCAP)
Youssef Khalil (UA)
Corey Hope (NYAC)
Alex Mossing (Air Force) — 2017 U23 World Team
Brandon Mueller (Air Force) — 2017 Military World Team
Spencer Woods (NYAC/OTS) — 2019 US Open runner-up
Peyton Walsh (Marines) — Two-time US National Team
Vaughn Monreal-Berner (Marines)
John Stefanowicz (Marines) 2019 World Team, three-time US National Team
Daniel Miller (Marines) — 2018 US National Champion, two-time US National Team
Lucas Sheridan (Army/WCAP) — 2019 Final X runner-up, two-time US National Team
Adam Coon (NYAC/Cliff Keen, world no. 2) — 2018 World silver, three-time US National Team
Aside from Nowry, only Ukrainian Andrii Semenchuk is currently listed at 55. The bright spot is that if it stays this way, Nowry is guaranteed two matches since Haparanda uses the Nordic System format.
Andrii Semenchuk (UKR)
Russia’s Rodion Samatov, who placed third at his country’s nationals in ’18, also won this event the year prior. A tough but practical competitor. Sweden is naturally offering a handful of combatants, including the tandem of Alex Bica (’18 Haparanda gold) and Ardit Fazljija. The latter may be recognizable to some folks stateside; Fazljija entered the Junior Greco World Duals two seasons ago and came away with the “Best Technician”award.
Dinislam Bammatov (RUS)
Alexander Bica (SWE) 2018 Haparanda Cup gold, ’18 Nordic Championships gold
Oleh Dykyi (UKR)
Ardit Fazljija (SWE)
Henri Halonen (SWE)
Taras Krupskyi (UKR)
Latuf Madi (FRA)
Andriy Martynyuk (UKR)
Niklas Öhlen (SWE)
Radion Samatov (RUS) — 2018 Russian National bronze, ’17 Haparanda Cup gold
If the US entries hold up as advertised, this is an eight-man bracket. Very tough Finnish wrestler Juuso Latvala is among the candidates, as is returning champ from this event, Maksym Liu (UKR). Russian Shamil Mualiev is one of that nation’s “depth guys”, but will not be overlooked. Of course.
Tigran Galustyan (FRA)
Juuso Latvala (FIN)
Maksym Liu (UKR) 2018 Haparanda Cup gold
Roope Miettunen (FIN) 2018 Haparanda Cup bronze
Shamil Mualiev (RUS)
The tournament’s most populated weight is home to 2018 U23 World bronze Mihai Mihut (ROU), who has gone back and forth a little bit between 63 and 67 the past two seasons (he entered the Nur-Sultan Worlds at 67). A dynamic, thoroughbred kind of athlete, Mihut first started making waves in ’17, the same year Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP) got past the Romanian for gold in Zagreb. ’16 Rio Olympian Ibragim Labazanov (RUS) glosses up this bracket just as much, and Mamadassa Sylla (FRA) is another tough out who will command attention. But really, this weight class is full of high-caliber competitors.
Christoffer Dahlen (SWE)
Alexandru Dosoftei (ROU)
Ibragim Labazanov (RUS) 2016 Olympian, ’07 Junior World silver, ’18 Russian National runner-up
Elmer Mattila (FIN)
Mihai Mihut (ROU) 2018 U23 World bronze
Dmytro Miroshnyk (UKR)
Samuel Nyberg (SWE)
Asker Orshokdukov (RUS) 2010 Junior World silver, ’11 Cadet World bronze
Yasin Ozay (FRA)
Marcus Sellden (SWE) Two-time Haparanda Cup medalist
Mamadassa Sylla (FRA) 2018 Military World bronze
Emil Ziganshin (RUS)
Not an overly-huge field at 72 kilos, but it should be competitive with young Igor Bychkov (UKR) in the mix. Bychkov impressed at the Junior Worlds this past summer, and since he’s got a lift, he’s got a chance. Finland’s Mikko Peltonkangas is a very solid Greco athlete who is still just coming into his own, as well. US fans who pay attention to the annual trips to Scandinavia should recognize Daniel Soini (SWE), who has faced off with several noteworthy Seniors over the course of this quad.
Rasmus Åström (SWE)
Igor Bychkov (UKR) 2019 Junior World bronze
Simon Erlandsson (SWE) 2016 Haparanda Cup gold
Joni Komppa (FIN)
Andrii Kulyk (UKR)
Mikko Peltonkangas (FIN) 2019 Herman Kare gold, multi-time Nordic Championships medalist
Artjom Shapovalov (FIN)
Vladyslav Shysko (UKR)
Daniel Soini (SWE)
Leevi Ukkola (FIN)
67 kilos presents the highest number of competitors, but 77 is home to the most decorated. Here, the conversation begins and ends with the great Arsen Julfalakyan (ARM), a World champ back in ’14, an Olympic silver two years before that, and the owner of five total Senior World-level medals. Now 32, Julfalakyan is still a force and likely gunning for one more crack at the big show. Ruslan Isakov is one of those Russians who is excellent, but you only see him a couple of times per season. One of the more physically imposing entrants in this bracket is Evrik Nikoghosyan, the Armenian-born Frenchman. Not overly explosive, but hard to budge and a monster in the tie-ups.
Juan Angel Escobar (MEX) Two-time Pan Am Games silver, multi-time Pan Am Championships medalist
Ruslan Isakov (RUS) 2017 Haparanda Cup gold, multi-time Haparanda Cup medalist
Arsen Julfalakyan (ARM) 2014 World Champion, ’12 Olympic silver, ’10 World silver, two-time World bronze
Artjom Komarov (RUS) 2014 Haparanda Cup bronze
Petteri Kukkola (FIN)
Evrik Nikoghosyan (FRA) 2017 Haavisto Cup gold
Elmar Nuraliyev (UKR) 2017 Military World silver, ’18 U23 European Championships bronze
Iiro Piippo (FIN)
Roni Purolainen (FIN) 2018 Haparanda Cup bronze
Sakke Purolainen (FIN) 2018 Haparanda Cup silver
Hlib Skorofatov (UKR)
The United States is not offering a competitor for this weight class, but all the same, Ivan Chernov (RUS) is worthy of checking out, as is George Vlad-Mariea (ROU). The Romanian hasn’t broken through at Senior just yet, but remains a very good prospect and one who should find the podium at this event.
Ivan Chernov (RUS) Two-time Haparanda Cup gold
Dmytro Gardubei (UKR) 2018 Haparanda Cup silver
Ruslan Koniev (UKR)
George-Vlad Mariea (ROU) 2016 Junior World silver
Nicolae Popa (ROU)
Einari Ukkola (FIN)
2019 World Team member John Stefanowicz and fellow Marine Vaughn Monreal-Berner won’t have a lot of ground to make up between them, as 87 is not exactly jam-packed. But they should be tested enough to get their money’s worth, and going by last year, Movsar Duguchiev (RUS) is probably the best guy to do it.
Daniel Bogdanov (RUS) 2018 Herman Kare silver, ’19 Herman Kare bronze
Movsar Duguchiev (RUS) 2018 Haparanda Cup bronze
Juho Pahikainen (FIN)
Davyd Shadt (UKR)
Aleksandar Stjepanetic (SWE) 2018 Haavisto Cup bronze
Domestic rivals Lucas Sheridan (Army/WCAP) and Daniel Miller (Marines) have themselves a pretty good group to work against. Felix Baldauf (NOR) profiles as a (World or Olympic) medal waiting to happen, and elder statesman Maksim Safaryan (RUS) keeps chugging along. Miller was embroiled in a tough match against Safaryan at this event last year before things took an odd turn for the worst. No harm, no foul. Miller wound up bronze and will look to better that result on Saturday. As for Sheridan, he’s new to Haparanda but is a fun watch versus foreigners. So while everyone might catch another chapter in the Sheridan/Miller saga prior to next month, the hope is such an occurrence will be held off until the medal rounds.
Felix Baldauf (NOR) 2014 Junior World bronze, ’17 European Championships gold, ’19 European Games bronze, two-time Thor Masters gold
Oleksandr Evdokimov (UKR) 2017 Cadet World bronze
Spyros Kountouratzis GRE)
Pontus Lund (SWE)
Kalle Persson (SWE) Three-time Haparanda Cup medalist
Maksim Safaryan (RUS) Three-time Haparanda Cup gold
Loic Samen (FRA)
Anestis Zarifes (GRE)
If you’re an Adam Coon (NYAC/Cliff Keen, world no. 2) fan, you would be well-served to root for a match-up with Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu (ROU). Alexuc-Ciurariu might not yet own a World medal, but is considered one of the sport’s better heavies nonetheless. Even his understudy, Leonard Berei, is a credible opponent. Also potentially available is Konsta Mäenpää (FIN), who is turning into a rock-solid, dependable — and fundamentally-sound — young heavyweight. Coon is overseas to get matches, and despite 130’s lack of participants, Haparanda should provide the kind of quality opposition he’s looking for.
Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu (ROU) Two-time Olympian, 2019 European Championships bronze
Leonard Berei (ROU) Two-time Junior European Championships bronze
Vladyslav Kovalenko (UKR)
Konsta Mäenpää (FIN) 2019 Grand Prix of Germany gold
Mattias Viitanen (SWE) Three-time Haparanda Cup medalist
Alexandros Zoratly (GRE)