Paris, France – Former Husker wrestler Jordan Burroughs won his fourth world championship, defeating Khetik Tsabolov of Russia, 9-6, in the men’s freestyle 74 kg final at the UWW World Championships in Paris, France, on Saturday.
Another former Husker also medaled for the United States, as James Green took silver at 70 kg. The medals won by Burroughs and Green were critical in helping the United States win the team title in men’s freestyle for the first time since 1995, as USA finished with 54 team points, just edging Russia, which finished with 53.
In the 74 kg final, Burroughs, who trailed in every match of the tournament, came back from a deficit of 4-2 with a late takedown in the first period. It was originally ruled four points for Burroughs, but a Russian challenge reduced it to two points for a 4-4 tie after one period. Tsabolov scored the first point of the second period and eventually led 6-5, but a late flurry by Burroughs gave him the 9-6 decision and his fourth World Championships gold medal, following wins in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
With the win, Burroughs became the second American men’s freestyle wrestler to win four World Championship gold medals, joining John Smith, who won gold in 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1991. He is the third American men’s freestyler to win at least five combined Olympic or World golds, joining Smith and Bruce Baumgartner.
The first match of the day for Burroughs at 74 kg was not easy, as the 2012 Olympic champion had to come back from a 5-2 defecit at the break to defeat Ali Shabanau of Belarus, 7-5. Burroughs again found himself down early in the round of 16 match against Japan’s Sohsuke Takatani, but reeled off 12 straight points to win by technical fall, 12-2. He repeated the feat after facing a 2-1 deficit early in the quarterfinal match to hometown favorite Zelikhan Khadjiev of France, as Burroughs scored 11 consecutive points to again win by tech fall, 13-2, and advance to the semifinals.
In the 74 kg semifinals, Burroughs again trailed early in the match, as he was down to Bekzod Abdurakhmanov, who eliminated Burroughs at the 2016 Summer Olympics, by a score of 3-2 after one period. Burroughs again fought back with four consecutive points in the second period, and held on to win, 6-5, punching his ticket to the finals.
At 70 kg, the top-seeded Green cruised to his first match victory, defeating Nestor Tafur by an 8-0 decision in the round of 16. Green withstood a late takedown by Zurabi Erbotsonashvili of Georgia in the quarterfinal match as he advanced to the semifinals with a 3-2 win. He clinched a spot in the finals with a 5-3 win over Yuhi Fujinami of Japan, as a late step out that was ruled one point for Fujinami was challenged by the Japanese coaching staff, but the ruling was upheld.
In the 70 kg final, Green fell to two-time World Champion Frank Chamizo of Italy, 8-0. After over two minutes of no scoring in the opening period, Chamizo scored a late takedown, and used the momentum to post three takedowns after the break on the way to victory.
Green adds a silver medal to the bronze medal he won at the 2015 World Championships.