United World Wrestling has given everyone a glimpse at what the brackets are going to look like at the 2017 Greco-Roman World Championships, set for Paris, France August 21st-22nd. There are really no surprises — devoted Greco fans already knew where the big names would appear on their respective brackets. Really, the only factor one might need to take into account in the fact that several wrestlers here will not be competing in the weight classes for which they are seeded. A verifiable bummer for their countries.
If you remember, UWW structured the seeding for the upcoming World Championships based on a point system. The previous year’s Olympiad (Rio) and (Non-Olympic) World Championships combined with 2017’s Continental Championship tournaments (e.g., the Pan Am Championships) are where the point values come from. UWW’s goal for this approach is to separate the draws enough so that marquee match-ups have a chance of taking place in the semifinals and finals, as opposed to the random-draw chaos that reigned supreme in years prior (but is still in play if/when needed).
If a wrestler had not competed in any of the above tournaments or failed to reach a placing as high as tenth in the Olympics, then he/she received no points for that event. For the Continental Championships, a wrestler needed to place as high as eighth in order to receive a point value (two). In addition, the number of participants in a bracket for the World-level Championships is also a factor. So you would take the point value aligned with the placing and then add the number of participants in the bracket to come up with the overall number (e.g., 1st place gets 25 points; if 40 wrestlers are in the bracket, 25+40=65 points). See the chart below for further clarification.
Another important note: IF a wrestler who has accrued points which result in a top-4 seed and is no longer competing in that weight class for their respective country, that nation loses the spot and the seeds move up. This is only the case for the top-4 seeds.
2017 Greco-Roman World Championships Top Four Seeds for Each Weight Class
1. Ismael Borrero Molina (CUB, world no. 1, 2016 Olympic gold medalist) 44 points
2. Shinobu Ota (JPN, world no. 2, 2016 Olympic silver medalist) 39 points
3. Elmurat Tasmuradov (UZB, world no. 10 at 66 kg, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist) 34 points
4. Stig Andre Berge (NOR, world no. 8, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist) 34 points
This weight class is indicative of the “no surprises” perspective, as Rio medalists dominate, something you’ll notice a lot here. Borrero Molina (or “Borrero”, or “Molina”, however you want to do this) enjoyed a glittering run to his gold last year in Rio and has not had to do anything since in order to take the top spot here. Ota’s silver holds a lot of power here, too, but he is not going to even be able to use it since Kenichiro Fumita (world no. 3) has commandeered his place as Japan’s number-one guy — everyone moves up. Tasmuradov has gone up to 66 kilograms following Rio with some mixed results. Berge reappeared on the scene at the Tbilisi Grand Prix and took a silver to Tasmuradov’s teammate (who incidentally was up at 66 last year himself) Mierembek Ainagulov (world no. 15). Assuming Tasmuradov isn’t here, Borrero Molina is the one and the Norwegian vet takes over the two spot.
1. Davor Stefanek (SRB, world no. 2, 2016 Olympic gold medalist, 2017 European Championships runner-up) 76 points
2. Tarek Aziz Benaissa (ALG) 40 points
3. Migran Arutyunyan (ARM, world no. 7, 2016 Olympic silver medalist) 38 points
4. Artem Surkov (RUS, world no. 1, 2017 European Championships gold medalist) 35 points
Stefanek gets to stroll in as the first seed thanks in large part to his gold medal, but also his silver at the Euros, which came courtesy of a pronounced, statement-making beatdown at the hands of Surkov, who has won virtually everything put in front of him over the past 12 months. They can now potentially meet in the semifinals. Benaissa came in eighth at the Olympics and this year was a runner-up at the African Championships, his continental qualifier. Arutyunyan was practically controlling Stefanek’s life in the Olympic finals before a late call stole it all away.
1. Balint Korpasi (HUN, world no. 1, 2016 World Champion, 2017 European Championships gold medalist) 93 points
2. Hasan Aliyev (AZE, world no. 5, 2016 World bronze medalist) 75 points
3. Aleksandar Maksimovic (SRB, world no. 3) 74 points
4. Pavel Liakh (BLR, world no. 11, 2017 European Championships runner-up) 70 points
71 is an example of how the Continental Championships can make a big difference. Liakh took ninth at the World Championships in Hungary but second at the Euros to Korpasi — giving him just enough points to climb into the top four here. Korpasi you already know about. He won his first World title in November and followed that up with his win in the European Championships, hence his huge amount of points (US rep Patrick Smith fell to Korpasi 2-0 on two dodgy passivity calls in Tbilisi, FYI). 2012 Olympian Aliyev was a favorite heading into the first-ever Non-Olympic Weight World Championships but was ousted by eventual silver medalist Daniel Cataraga (MDA, world no. 10) in the semis.
1. Roman Vlasov (RUS, world no. 1, 2016 Olympic gold medalist) 45 points
2. Bin Yang (CHN, world no. 11, 2017 Asian Championships bronze medalist) 44 points
3. Mark Madsen (DEN, world no. 2, 2016 Olympic silver medalist) 40 points
4. Hyeon-woo Kim (KOR, world no. 3, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist) 35 points
One weight class that stays on book, with the noted exception that Vlasov just went 80 kilos at the Russia Nationals and that is where he will be in Paris. Therefore, the seeds all move up a spot with Yang, who took eighth in Rio, taking over as the number one here. The argument could be made that he’s the least accomplished athlete at any weight category to be the top seed, but that says less about him and more about how stacked every other weight is. Madsen came back for the round-robin Nordic Championships last month, earning a silver medal at 80. He then went 80 again last weekend in Poland, a fifth-place effort that saw him default out of the tournament. We could be seeing Yang as the one and Kim as the two — good news for the Korean. Kim has not competed since Rio, so there is no recent news as far as he is concerned other than if he is indeed staying at 75, he’ll be a popular pick to earn his second World gold medal.
1. Aslan Atem (TUR, world no. 3, 2016 World silver medalist, 2017 European Championships bronze medalist) 72 points
2. Edgar Babayan (POL, world no. 15) 56 points
3. Jonibek Otabekov (UZB, 2016 World bronze medalist) 55 points
4. Ramazan Abacharaev (RUS, world no. 1, 2016 World Champion) 52 points
Once again, athletes who were able to compete at the previous year’s Olympics or World Championships and this year’s Continental Championships receive a nice advantage. Atem really deserves a head nod for his performance at the 2016 Worlds. Every bout he had over in Budapest was tight and physical. Then again, the lack of ordered par terre was still new then. The important thing is that Atem was able to check in for the Euros and his bronze there is what pushes him to the front of the pack. After winning his World title, Abacharaev climbed back into the limelight at the World Cup, but Russia threw Adlan Akiev in his place in Serbia. Both were just essentially keeping the seat warm for Vlasov anyway, who will be relegated to the “drawing of lots.” Good luck with all that.
1. Viktor Lorincz (HUN, world no. 1, fifth at 2016 Olympics, 2017 European Championships gold medalist) 61 points
2. Nikolay Bayrakov (BUL, world no. 2, fifth at 2016 Olympics, 2017 European Championships bronze medalist) 57 points
3. Davit Chakvetadze (RUS, world no. 4, 2016 Olympic gold medalist) 46 points
4. Zhan Belenyuk (UKR, world no. 5, 2016 Olympic silver medalist) 41 points
Few wrestlers who will be at the 2017 Greco-Roman World Championships encompass what a top seed truly is right now as much as Lorincz. He has been both incredibly active and incredibly successful since missing out on the podium in Rio. Starting with the Grand Prix of Zagreb in March, Lorincz is 4-1 in individual tournaments — meaning he has won four events, including the European Championships, with the lone hiccup being a bronze at Tbilisi. It’s weird a bit here in that Chakvetadze, who not long ago was considered the no-doubt-about-it best 85 kilo guy in the world, has seen his stock drop a little. A washout at the Euros along with his loss to Lorincz last weekend are to blame for that. Will that matter?
1. Artur Aleksanyan (ARM, world no. 3, 2016 Olympic gold medalist, 2017 European Championships bronze medalist) 71 points
2. Yasmany Lugo Cabrera (CUB, world no. 1, 2016 Olympic silver medalist, 2017 Pan Am Championships gold medalist) 60 points
3. Balazs Kiss (HUN, world no. 7, 2017 European Championships bronze medalist) 50 points
4. Cenk Ildem (TUR, world no. 9, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist) 34 points
Aleksanyan and rival Nikita Melnikov (RUS, world no. 4) were perceived to be on a collision course at Serbia’s Euros and both were upset virtually right away. Melnikov was one and done and Aleksanyan was turned back by eventual champ, the surging Felix Baldauf (NOR, world no. 6), though the Armenian fought back for third. Good thing he did, too, because if not, it would be Cabrera at the top here. We last saw the Cuban at the Pan Ams in Brazil where young US star G’Angelo Hancock (world no. 17 and who also upset Ildem at the World Wrestling Clubs Cup) gave him a nice test. Kiss came in ninth at the Rio Olympics, so when you combine that performance with his bronze in Serbia, it shows you how precious those points really are.
1. Riza Kayaalp (TUR, world no. 2, 2016 Olympic silver medalist, 2017 European Championships gold medalist) 69 points
2. Akleksandr Chernetskyy (UKR, world no. 9) 45 points
3. Mijain Lopez (CUB, world no. 1, 2016 Olympic gold medalist) 44 points
4. Sabah Shariati (AZE, world no. 6, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist) 34 points
Lopez and Kayaalp require no preamble. They are two of the most dominant and credentialed performers in the entire event with an astounding 19 Senior World-level medals between them, including five World golds and three Olympic golds for Lopez — and four World golds for Kayaalp. But Kayaalp has been active and participated in the European Championships, which he won, so he leapfrogs right over Lopez for the number one seed. Chernetskyy (or Chernetski around these parts) finished ninth in Rio and seventh at the Euros. No, it doesn’t sound all that impressive perhaps, but it did provide him with 45 points, which was just enough to be placed as the second seed. Shariati got matches in at the World Cup before walking away with a bronze at the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games.