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Riza Kayaalp Looks To Win 5th World Title In Belgrade

Photo: Tony Rotundo

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Turkey’s Riza Kayaalp had advanced himself into the world finals with a semifinal win over Muminjon Abdullaev of Uzbekistan 5-3.

This bracket had a couple surprises with top seeded Olympic silver medalist Iakobi Kajaia going down 1-1 to Amin Mirzazadeh of Iran in the quarterfinals, as well as Chile’s Yasmani Acosta going down in the round of 16 to Italy’s Danila Sotnikov 4-2.

He will be taking on Amin Mirzazadeh of Iran in the finals who may just be one of the next big stars in Greco-Roman wrestling after winning the U23 Championships last year at 130 kg. Kayaalp will be a massive favorite but I would not overlook Mirzazadeh’s chances on a massive upset.

Kayaalp as expected has done what he was supposed to do so far and now there is just one match left for him to hit his 5th gold medal which would make him just the 16th ever. Armenian Artur Aleksanyan achieved this feat as well just yesterday.

Kayaalp may have 10+ gold medals at this point if it were not for Mijain Lopez of Cuba, and Lopez remains the reason that Kayaalp has not yet won an Olympic gold medal defeating him at 3 out of 4 of the Olympic Games he has competed at.

Earlier in the year Kayaalp won his 10th European Championships defeating Italy’s Sotnikov in the finals. At 32 years old his future in the sport seems like it is on a year by year basis but it does look like he will be aiming to end his career on top in Paris.

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