The draws are in for the first day of Greco-Roman at the 2017 CISM Military World Championships in Klaipeda, Lithuania, and for one of the United States athletes, it is recent history repeating itself. Ildar Hafizov (59 kg, Army) will be taking on Vazgen Khatchatryan (ARM) — the same wrestler Hafizov faced in the first round of the Senior Worlds just over a month ago in Paris. In that bout, Hafizov succumbed to a four-point throw by Khatchatryan early on en-route to an 8-3 loss. Despite the score, Hafizov was in that match virtually every step of the way and there is no little doubt he’d like to grab a measure of revenge as he attempts to proceed through the bracket.
2012 Olympian and two-time Junior World bronze medalist Ellis Coleman (66 kg, Army) has himself a good fight right out of the gate in the likes of 2016 Military Worlds runner-up Dawid Karecinski (POL). Karecinski is a sturdy upright wrestler who keeps an aggressive pummel. He also took a bronze at this tournament last year, though his best performance of the last 18 months was at the 2016 Hungarian Grand Prix. During that event, he defeated Coleman and Artak Margaryan (FRA) via tech back-to-back on his way to the finals, where he was eventually shut down by 2012 Olympic silver and two-time World bronze medalist Tamas Lorincz (HUN, world no. 4 at 75 kg).
And Air Force’s Brandon Mueller (71 kg) will be banging heads with one of the top competitors in his bracket, as he faces 2015 World bronze medalist Adam Kurak. Most recently, Kurak won the Russian Nationals on the strength of a victory over former Junior World Champion and 2017 European Championships gold medalist Abuyazid Mantsigov (world no. 4). At the Paris Worlds in August, Kurak advanced to the bronze medal match but was turned back in a close one by 2016 World champ Balint Korpasi (HUN, world no. 2). Incidentally, Kurak silvered at the 2016 Military World Championships, as well.
Dillon Cowan (75 kg, Army) has a bye through the qualification round and will meet the winner of 2016 CISM Military World Championships gold medalist Tsimur Berdiev (BLR) and Elmar Nuraliev (UKR).
For a full list of the athletes for Day 1, just go here.
2017 CISM Military World Championships
TEAM USA 1st-Round Draws — Day 1
59 kg: Ildar Hafizov (Army)
vs. Vazgen Khatchatryan (ARM)
66 kg: Ellis Coleman (Army)
vs. Dawid Karecinski (POL)
71 kg: Brandon Mueller (Air Force)
vs. Adam Kurak (RUS)
75 kg: Dillon Cowan (Army)
vs. winner of Tsimur Berdiev (BLR) and Elmar Nuraliev (UKR)