There is no wrestler on Earth, Greco or otherwise, who is immune to defeat. But it is very difficult to win when you’re not given a fair chance to…actually wrestle.
In yet another questionably-officiated match throughout the annals of Greco-Roman history, G’Angelo Hancock (97 kg, Sunkist, world no. 3) was defeated in the finals of the 2019 Matteo Pellicone Memorial on Thursday by Nikoloz Kakhelashvili (ITA) 5-0. There wasn’t much action to be had, if only because there weren’t many opportunities for it to blossom.
The finals of the 2019 Matteo Pellicone Memorial/Sassari City International began at 3:45pm local time (9:45am ET) and were broadcast live in the US on FLOWrestling.
Neither athlete took a decided advantage in the early stages of the bout, though Hancock did emphasize his intent to dig towards underhooks by extending his arms both exiting and entering tie-ups. It is something that he employs tactically to pummel in, and it is also meant to serve as an indicator to the officials that he is being stymied, or outright blocked. In any case, this approach didn’t really work Thursday afternoon, and it was he who was put down first in par terre. But — as soon as the whistle sounded, he was already up. Hancock had bounded to his feet and escaped in a flash. Unfortunately, the officials disagreed that it was a clean escape and ordered the American back to the mat where he was subsequently gutwrenched into a 3-0 hole.
Midway through the second period, Hancock and Kakehelashvili were mired in dueling hooks near the line when Hancock stepped out. He wanted a challenge, however, and got one. The call was upheld and two more points were added to Kakhealshvili’s tally in the eventual 5-0 defeat for the popular two-time World Team member.
Overall, Hancock did enjoy another strong outing to keep his string of medal performances this season alive. He eeked past Armen Grigoryan (RUS) to begin his day and then overwhelmed 2009 World Champion Balazs Kiss (HUN, world no. 9) in the semis 6-0. It has been this way throughout the first part of the year. After winning the Dave Schultz back in January, Hancock added a bronze from Croatia and a gold from Hungary to earn his first two “Ranking Series” medals. He then took third at Thor Masters in March before earning silver at the Pan American Championships.
There are also more “Ranking Series” points coming his way. With the silver in Italy, Hancock now has 60 points, which should solidify his third seed at the Worlds — if he is able to overcome one more large obstacle next month. On June 15th in Lincoln, Nebraska, the 21-year-old will face 2019 World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champ Lucas Sheridan (Army/WCAP) in the best-of-three series to decide the 97-kilogram spot in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan this coming fall.
2019 MATTEO PELLICONE MEMORIAL/SASSARI CITY INT’L
May 23rd — Sassari City, Italy
TEAM USA RESULTS
G’Angelo Hancock (Sunkist) — silver
WON Armen Grigoryan (RUS) 3-0
WON Balazs Kiss (HUN) 6-0
LOSS Nikoloz Kakhelashvili (ITA) 5-0