Chris Gonzalez (71 kg, USA) was sharp in an impressive first round win this morning at the 2016 Non-Olympic Weight World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. In the proceeding round of 16, he looked to be equally in control until a late step-out point proved to be his demise.
Facing off with Ilie Cocojari (ROU), it was Gonzalez who asserted himself first. Cocojari kicked off the match by trying to bully the American, holding tightly onto ties before hastily pushing away. Not an especially effective technical tactic, but it caused Gonzalez to move. Following a time out for blood, Gonzalez started to find a rhythm by weaving inside of Cocojari’s wrist-control and coming close on a couple of meaningful tie-ups. There weren’t any openings available, but Gonzalez did the next best thing — he started using his base to put Cocojari off-kilt. A passivity point for Gonzalez coincided with a step-out to give the US a 2-0 lead heading into the second frame.
Unfortunately for Gonzalez, the second period didn’t unfold as favorably. He still looked to be the more aggressive wrestler, although his efforts weren’t awarded further. Instead, Cocojari was given a passivity point. Gonzalez, unphased, came close on several inside attempts. Double overhooks on one occasion appeared to have potential for the WCAP wrestler and there were other tiny openings he looked for that closed too quickly. As time began to get short, Cocojari worked into Gonzalez for a step-out point to take the lead via criteria, which is how the match would end.
Cocojari was eliminated by Balint Korpasi (HUN, world no. 1) in the semifinals, eliminating Gonzalez from contention for bronze.
Stay with us through the weekend for continued coverage and follow-ups as the US’s Patrick Martinez (80 kg) takes the mat tomorrow morning.