Russia has earned a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling for the second day in a row, with Davit Chakvetadze topping reigning world champion Zhan Beleniuk of Ukraine in the final round of the 85kg tournament.
The Gold Medal Match was a showdown between two of the top favorites entering the tournament. Chakvetadze entered the day ranked third in the world; Beleniuk was the world No. 1.
Late in the first period, Beleniuk was able to turn Chakvetadze on the mat to score two points and take a 2-0 lead into the break. But the Russian bounced back to control the second period. Chakvetadze grabbed a 3-2 advantage, then threw Beleniuk for a big four-point takedown to open up the lead. Chakvetadze added two more points before the end of the period to win the match 9-2.
Two weight classes are contested each day during the Greco-Roman phase of Olympic wrestling, so Russia has won gold medals in half of the divisions so far. The nation led the medal count in wrestling by far at the London Games and is expected to have another strong showing in Rio.
The bronze medals were awarded to Javid Hamzatau of Belarus and Denis Kudla of Germany. Kudla, who lost by technical fall to Chakvetadze in the quarterfinals, was forced to battle back through the repechage in order to reach the Bronze Medal Match. Trailing 3-2 late in that bout against Hungary's Viktor Lorincz, Kudla was awarded a penalty point with 34 seconds left that give him the edge on criteria. Kudla held on to win the match, then immediately collapsed to the ground in excitement.
Earlier in the day, U.S. wrestler Ben Provisor competed at his second Olympics but lost his opening match to Uzbekistan's Rustam Assakalov in the Round of 16 by a score of 6-3.
85kg Greco-Roman quarterfinals
Beleniuk (UKR) wins by tech fall 10-1 vs. Bayryakov (BUL)
Hamzatau (BLR) wins by tech fall 9-0 vs. Hrustanovic (AUT)
Lorincz (HUN) wins 2-1 vs. Assakalov (UZB)
Chakvetadze (RUS) wins by tech fall 8-0 vs. Kudla (GER)
85kg Greco-Roman semifinals
Beleniuk (UKR) wins 6-0 vs. Hamzatau (BLR)
Chakvetadze (RUS) wins 7-1 vs. Lorincz (HUN)
85kg Greco-Roman repechage
Rd. 1: Akhlaghi (IRI) wins 3-2 vs. Tahmasebi (AZE)
Rd. 2: Bayryakov (BUL) wins 2-1 vs. Saad (EGY)
Rd. 2: Kudla (GER) wins on criteria 1-1 vs. Akhlaghi (IRI)
85kg Greco-Roman Bronze Medal Matches
Hamzatau (BLR) wins 4-1 vs. Bayryakov (BUL)
Kudla (GER) wins on criteria 3-3 vs. Lorincz (HUN)
85kg Greco-Roman Gold Medal Match
Chakvetadze (RUS) wins 9-2 vs. Beleniuk (UKR)