We called upon 2017 Junior World Champion Kamal Bey (75 kg, Sunkist, world no. 18) to be our guest for the latest episode of the Five Point Move Podcast, and he did not disappoint. Bey, still just 19 years of age, is one of the most gregarious and humorous wrestlers in the country, which provides an interesting contrast to the unwavering confidence he has in his ability. Obviously, Bey’s gold medal run at the Junior World Championships last month is the cornerstone topic of the show, but other points of interest are also brought up, such as what he’s learned since stepping up into Senior competition and how he has been spending his time with the U23 World Team Trials on the horizon.
A FEW HIGHLIGHTS
Bey on what he discovered upon winning his World title
“Winning gold, I realized a lot of things. The first thing is that we are just as good as those foreigners we compete against. I realized that I have what it takes. I realized that Team USA has what it takes to compete at that high of a level. Things I felt I had to change personally there in Finland were my breathing, the tempo and pace of a match, and high-percentage moves. Like, what is my, 100%, if I get to this move, I’m scoring. How to pace myself and get to those situations, and how to circle out and pummel out of situations I was uncomfortable in.
Bey on how he felt following his semifinal match
“When I made it to the semis, I was like, We in the money, baby (laughs). If we get past him, we in the finals and we get a break. That semifinals match, it came quick, it came quick. I remember just finishing up Azerbaijan and I look on the board and it says, ‘Kamal Bey up in five minutes’, and I was like, Dang. Get my cooldown, get what I can out of my cooldown right now, jump some rope real quick, loosen my arms up, stretch. Because it’s tough, those matches come quick, they come quick, and you’ve got to be prepared, you got to be ready.
But once I got out there in the semifinals match, I felt like I controlled the tempo of the match, so I didn’t really gas, you know? It’s all strategy, Greco-Roman is. You have to be just as powerful as you have to be sneaky. And that’s pretty much what I did. I hit him with a duck and I finished the match up. That’s what big pros can do for you. That’s why I feel like being exciting comes second to winning a match because (against) Azerbaijan, it wasn’t my best match for flash, but I closed the match out, and that is one of the other things I learned. You don’t always have to be boom-bang, you know, a me-tossing-you, you-tossing-me type deal. You can put out your arms and close out a match because being exciting is one thing, but winning titles for your country, that’s more exciting than anything to me.”
Bey on getting more experience and coming away with his first Senior overseas medal earlier this year in Croatia
“Yeah, yeah, I took bronze. I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s the same for most wrestlers, but when I wrestle somebody who has a name, who people think is really good, who you can tell has experience, I get these chills, man. The hairs on my neck like start freaking raising up. I get this evil grin because it’s the unpredictability of the sport why I love it so much. Because you don’t know what is going to happen. And when I felt how strong Bozo (Starcevic) was, I almost got some like, newfound power because I realized where I was. When I wrestled (Michael) Wagner, I was like, Yeah, he’s strong, but I’ve wrestled stronger.