In the heavyweight weight class (125kg) the main story is obviously defending Olympic Champion Gable Steveson not competing and forgoing his 2021 World Team spot. Since then he has signed a 1Mil+ NIL deal with the WWE and more more sponsorships on the way while still competing for the University of Minnesota next season.
Gable Steveson’s “replacement” if you could even call him that as a 2x world medalist is Nick Gwiazdowski. Nick Gwiazdowski has been the guy for the United States at 125kg since Tervel Dlagnev retired from competition in Rio. Since then he has managed so always be a solid competitor on the world scene. He attained the 2021 World Team spot by sweeping Mason Parris in the finals of the WTT with a score of 6-0, and 10-3. The next few guys we are going to talk about is who Gwiz will have to get through to get back on that podium!
Amir Zare has been nothing short of impressive in all of his international showing recently. He already does have a win over the American Gwiazdowski by disqualification off of cautions. This was caused by Zare’s dominant underhook series that he was able to manufacture points off of on even the best of the best guys in the world. Zare was the youngest competitor in the Tokyo Olympics at 125kg at 20 years old and he will still be 20 in Olso looking for his first world title. His real match that showed he could hang with the big dogs in this weight class came in the Olympic semifinals when he gained a 3 point advantage on 2x Olympic Medalist and 3x World Champion Geno Petriashvili. He ended up losing that match 6-3 in the end but an impressive showing for the newcomer nonetheless.
2021 Olympic Silver Medalist, 2016 Olympic Bronze Medalist, and 3x World Champion. The list just goes on and on for Geno Petriashvili’s accolades. He took Gable Steveson down to the wire but ultimately ended up falling just short of his goal to become an Olympic Champion. He will be looking for his 4th World Gold Medal very soon in Oslo and if he looks anything as good as what he did in Tokyo he should very well be the favorite. He has been going back and forth his entire career with the other man in this bracket Taha Akgul and Geno vs Taha seems to be the world final unless Zare has something to say about it.
2016 Olympic Champion, 2021 Olympic Bronze Medalist, 2x World Champion, 8x European Champion. Taha Akgul along with Geno Petriashvili have owned the 125kg weight class for almost a decade. Akgul may have not performed up to par in Tokyo but definitely should not be counted out in Oslo. Geno Petriashvili has historically dominated the World Championships and Taha Akgul the European Championships. Most recently Akgul downed Petriashvili at the European Championships in a bout that was blind drawn to be in the first round of the tournament. Akgul went on to win while Petriashvili took bronze on the backside with ease. This rivalry will most likely be renewed in Oslo.
Projections For Oslo: Geno Petriashvili GEO (Gold), Taha Akgul TUR (Silver), Amir Zare IRA (Bronze), Nick Gwiazdowski USA (Bronze).