2022 International Men’s Freestyle Wrestler of the Year Rankings

Iran’s 79 kg star Ali Savadkouhi (photo courtesy of Ginnie Coleman/UWW)

#1 (79) Ali Savadkouhi (Iran)

One of Iran’s best hidden gems, Ali Savadkouhi burst onto the scene at the end of 2021 with an upset win over 2020 74 KG Olympic runner-up #4 Magomedkhabib Kadimagomedov of Belarus at the Iranian Pro League. Going into 2022, Savadkouhi was known as a solid competitor with break though potential, but was held back by wrestlers who could handle his physicality and beat him through superior technique, such was the case with Savadkouhi’s losses to #8 Magomed Magomaev of Russia at the U23 world championships and Byung Min Gong at the Asian Championships. Early in 2022, Savadkouhi would appear to be breaking the mold with a bronze medal finish at the Yasar Dogu, where he took reigning world champion Jordan Burroughs to the limit in a 2-1 semifinal loss and convincingly beat 2020 Russian Nationals runner-up #13 Gadzhimurad Alikhmaev 8-4 for bronze.

Savadkouhi’s 2022 would carry on with an Asian Championships title won by a razor thin 9-9 criteria victory over Baliyan Gourav of India. Competing at the Zouhaier Sghaier tournament in what was an unofficial wrestle-off for the Iranian world team spot against teammate and returning world silver medalist #6 Mohammad Nokhodilarimi, Savadkouhi would beat out his country man 5-5 in the first round of round robin action and looked to have broken through for the world team spot. But Savadkouhi’s breakthrough was short lived as in the next round he would be beat out by #11 Chance Marsteller of the United States and was eliminated from the competition when Marsteller was beaten by Nokhodilarimi in the third round of action. After being so close to finally making a Senior world team, Savadkouhi was sent as Iran’s representative for the Islamic Solidarity Games where he won handedly over Turkey’s Muhammet Akdeniz.

After the Islamic Solidarity Games in August, it looked as if Savadkouhi’s 2022 would appear to follow the pattern of his 2021 of failing again to break through and fulfill his true potential against the elite of the elite in his weight class. What would take place in the climax of 2022 would be career-transforming for the talented Iranian. In November while competing in the Iranian Pro League finals, Savadkouhi would walk away with a stunning victory over reigning three-time World/Olympic champion #1 (74) Zaurbek Sidakov of Russia and follow it in December with a spectacular 6-6 criteria win over reigning 79 KG world champion #2 Jordan Burroughs in the finals of the World Cup. From failing to make his country’s world team to beating two of the greatest wrestlers of all time in the same year, Savadkouhi has earned the right to be called 2022’s Wrestler of the Year.

2. #2 (74) Kyle Dake (United States of America)

#2 (74) Kyle Dake earns the number two spot in the Wrestler of The Year rankings for winning his fourth world title at 74 KG over #24 Taimuraz Salkazanov (SVK). Dake has two prior world titles at 79 kilograms in 2018 and 2019 along with an Olympic bronze medal and world title in 2021 at 74 KG. Dake has victories over fellow Wrestlers of the Year in the form of #3 David Taylor, #4 Jordan Burroughs and #24 Taimuraz Salkazanov.

3. #1 (86) David Taylor (United States of America)

David Taylor earns the number three spot in the Wrestler of The Year rankings for his 86 KG Senior World Championships title over reigning World Champion #2 Hassan Yazdani Charati (IRI). At the World Championships, Taylor outscored the competition by a 40-1 margin with victories over the likes of #2 (86) Hassan Yazdani Charati (IRI), #7 (86) Azamat Dauletbekov (KAZ), Ethan Ramos (PUR), and Aaron Caneva (ITA). Taylor’s gold in Belgrade was his third World/Olympic gold medal with his first two coming at the 2018 World Championships in Belgrade and in 2021 at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Taylor’s world finals victory avenged his loss in the 2021 world finals to arch rival #2 (86) Hassan Yazdani Charati of Iran.

4. #2 (79) Jordan Burroughs (United States of America)

Jordan Burroughs earns the number four spot in the Wrestler of The Year rankings after winning his second consecutive title at 79 KG for his seventh World/Olympic gold medal and tenth overall World/Olympic medal. Burroughs’ 2022 saw him take gold at the Yasar Dogu, Pan-Am Championships, and Senior World Championships while notching victories over the like of #1 (79) Ali Savadkouhi (IRI), #6 (79) Mohammad Nokhodilarimi (IRI), #11 (79) Chance Marsteller (USA), #13 (79) Gadzhimurad Alikhmaev (RUS), and #15 Vladimeri Gamkrelidze (GEO). Burroughs is unable to have a higher spot in the rankings due to losses to fellow Wrestlers of the Year, #14 Chance Marsteller and #1 Ali Savadkouhi, at Final X and the World Cup.

5. #1 (57) Zavur Uguev (Russia)

Zavur Uguev earns the number five spot in the Wrestler of The Year rankings for earning his sixth straight Russian Nationals title over #10 (57) Nachyn Mongush (RUS) and beating Islamic Solidarity Games champion #8 (57) Gulomjon Abdullaev (UZB) at PWL 3. Uguev is currently a three-time World/Olympic champion, winning gold in 2018, 2019, and 2021 and has wins over fellow ranked Wrestlers of the Year #7 Rahman Amouzad (IRI) and #9 Abasgadzhi Magomedov (RUS).

6. #2 (57) Rei Higuchi (Japan)

To understand how Rei Higuchi has become the dominant force he is today, we must understand where Higuchi began. Rei Higuchi first broke through at the 2016 Olympics, where at the age of 20 he made the 57 KG Olympic finals by beating three past world champions in Kyong Il Yang of North Korea, Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez of Cuba and Hassan Rahimi of Iran. Ultimately coming up short in a controversial finals match against reigning world champion Vladimir Khinchegashvili, Higuchi was seen as the man as the frontrunner to take control of 57 KG for the foreseeable future.

Higuchi would struggle to find the success he found at 57 KG in the ensuing years as the weight cut proved too difficult and he moved up to 61 KG in 2017. After bronze medal finishes at the Yarygin and Asian championships, Higuchi would not represent Japan at the Senior World Championships after losing his wrestle-off to Rinya Nakamura. Moving up to 65 KG to start 2018, Higuchi would continue to see mixed results with a runner-up finish at the All-Japan Invitational championships in June to eventual world champion #2 (65) Takuto Otoguro and fail to place at the Dmitri Korkin tournament in September after losses to #7 (65) Tulga Tumur Ochir (MGL) and Daulet Niyazbekov (KAZ). With a breakthrough in his weight class at the U23 world championships in November where he avenged his loss to #7 (65) Tulga Tumur Ochir (MGL) and won gold over Ali Rahimzade (AZE), Higuchi’s stock seemed to be on the rise. Unfortunately for Higuchi, the depth of Japan would see him relegated to the bench yet again with losses at the Japanese Championships to reigning world champion #2 (65) Takuto Otoguro and 2017 61 KG U23 world champion Rinya Nakamura.

2019 saw a change of fortune for Higuchi as he finally defeated long time rival #2 (65) Takuto Otoguro with a 15-5 tech fall in the Meiji Cup after three past losses to the 2018 world champion. Higuchi’s breakthrough would be short lived as Otoguro rebounded to beat Higuchi in the world team wrestle-offs. With the frustration of having failed to make a Senior world team for three years straight, Higuchi decided to make the cut back down to 57 KG, where he had seen his greatest career success. Finishing 2019 on a high note, Higuchi beat 2017 world champion Yuki Takahashi in the Japanese Championships to get the chance to qualify Japan at 57 KG for the Tokyo Olympics and redeem himself for gold.

Higuchi’s chance at Olympic redemption would never happen in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic shut competition for the majority of 2020. Making his return at the end of 2020, Higuchi would suffer a shocking upset loss to Yuto Takeshita at the Japanese Championships and have his chances of Olympic gold jeopardized. Beginning 2021, Higuchi was sent as Japan’s representative for the Asian Olympic qualifier and when he failed to make weight for the qualifier, Japan was left without a representative at 57 KG for their own Olympics. Depleted from an intensive weight cut and riding off back to back poor performances, Higuchi’s final chance at gold in Tokyo would be squashed as he lost in his wrestle-off against Yuki Takahashi.

After soul crushing defeats and setbacks at 57 and 65 KG, Higuchi made the decision to compete at 61 KG for the 2022 season. To say Higuchi was dominant at 61 KG is an understatement. Across his titles at the Asian Championships and Senior World Championships, Higuchi garnered 90 points to his opponents 11 and tallied seven tech falls out of eight total matches, with only #5 (61) Seth Gross of the United States not being tech falled in a 15-7 quarterfinal loss at the Senior World Championships. Concluding his year, Higuchi would make the cut down to 57 KG where he would dominate Yuki Takahashi in the semifinals of the Emperor’s Cup and win gold over Asian Championships bronze medalist Rikuto Arai in the finals. For Higuchi’s complete and utter dominance of the 61 KG field, he earned the right to be one of 2022’s Wrestlers of the Year.

7. #1 (65) Rahman Amouzad (Iran)

Rahman Amouzad earns the number seven spot in the Wrestler of The Year rankings after taking gold at the 65 KG Senior World Championships. Amouzad had an undefeated 2022 campaign that saw him pick up titles at the Asian and World Championships and go 2-0 at the World Cup with victories over #8 (65) Yianni Diakomihalis (USA) and #18 (61) Taiyrbek Zhumashbek Uulu (KGZ). Amouzad tallied elite wins in 2022 over the likes of World/Olympic medalists #3 (65) Ismail Musukaev (HUN), #4 (65) Haji Aliyev (AZE), #8 (65) Yianni Diakomihalis (USA), and #14 (65) Bajrang Punia (IND).

8. #2 (97) Kyle Snyder (United States of America)

Finishing 2021 with back to back losses to #1 (97) Abdulrashid Sadulaev (RUS) in the Olympic and World finals, Kyle Snyder had yet to win a World or Olympic title in over four years going into the 2022 season going back his streak of three World/Olympic golds from 2015-2017. With Russia being banned from competing due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, Snyder’s path to gold was cleared of the Russian Tank in Sadulaev.

Even in Sadulaev’s absence, Snyder’s path to gold saw domestic and international obstacles in the form of two-time 92 KG world champion #2 (92) J’den Cox (USA) and #9 (97) Mohammad Mohammadian (IRI) who pinned Snyder at the 2020 Matteo Pellicone Tournament. A man on a mission, Snyder was undeniable in the 2022 season, beating Cox in a two match series at the RudisPlus event and avenging his loss to Mohammadian in the Senior World Championships quarterfinals on his way to outscoring the competition 24-2 and winning gold over #6 (97) Batyrbek Tsakulov (SVK). Concluding the 2021 season, Snyder went undefeated at the World Cup and picked up a marquee win over reigning two-time 92 KG champion #1 (92) Kamran Ghasempour of Iran. For Snyder’s Senior World title and dominance, he earns the number eight spot in the Wrestler of The Year rankings.

9. #1 (61) Abasgadzhi Magomedov (Russia)

Abasgadzhi Magomedov earns the number nine spot in the rankings for taking gold at the Ivan Yarygin Memorial, Russian Nationals, Dmitri Korkin Memorial Tournament and International Khasavyurt Tournament. Magomedov suffered his first loss since 2020 to #2 (61) Akhmed Idrisov in August at the All-Russian Spartakiad that he avenged in the finals of the Dmitri Korkin Memorial Tournament and the International Khasavyurt Tournament. Magomedov, a 2021 world champion at 61 kilograms, beat #2 (61) Akhmed Idrisov (RUS), #3 (57) Zelimkhan Abakarov (ALB), #9 (61) Muslim Mekhtikhanov (RUS) and #15 (61) Bashir Magomedov (RUS).

10. #1 (74) Zaurbek Sidakov (Russia)

Zaurbek Sidakov earns the number ten spot in the Wrestler of The Year rankings for taking gold at the first and second Ivan Poddubny tournament, the North Ossetian championships and the Dmitri Korkin Memorial Tournament. Sidakov notched wins in 2022 over #6 (74) David Baev (RUS), #7 (74) Cherman Valiev (RUS), #11 (74) Timur Bizhoev (RUS), #13 (74) Magomed Dibirgadzhiev (RUS), Kurban Shiraev (RUS), and #19 (74) Younes Emami (IRI). Sidakov is held back in the Wrestler of the Year rankings for not competing at Russian Nationals due to an ankle injury along with a loss in November in the Iranian Pro League to #1 (79) Ali Savadkouhi (IRI).

11. #5 (74) Razambek Zhamalov (Russia)

Razambek Zhamalov earns the number eleven spot in the Wrestler of The Year rankings for winning his gold at the 74 KG Russian Nationals Championships and winning the All-Russian Spartakiad. Zhamalov, who came back from a year long lay off due to shoulder and knee injuries, took bronze on his return at the first Ivan Poddubny tournament after a loss to #6 (74) David Baev (RUS). Shaking off the ring rust from his performance at the Poddubny, Zhamalov was in top form at Russian Nationals where he beat Baev 9-3 in the semifinals and defeated 2020 70 KG Russian Nationals champion #7 (74) Cherman Valiev (RUS) in the finals for his second Russian Nationals title. Zhamalov followed his Russian Nationals title with gold at the All-Russian Spartakiad where he defeated #6 (74) David Baev (RUS), evening the series between the two at 3-3.

12. #3 (57) Zelimkhan Abakarov (Albania)

Zelimkhan Abakarov earns the number twelve spot in the Wrestler of The Year Rankings for winning the 57 KG Senior World Championships. At the World Championships, Abakarov outscored his competition 46-5 and notched ranked victories over the likes of #4 (57) Thomas Gilman (USA), #5 (57) Stevan Micic (SRB), #7 (57) Reineri Andreu Ortega (CUB), and #8 (57) Gulomyon Abdullaev (UZB). Overall, Abakarov competed at nine tournaments competing from 57-65 KG taking gold at the 57 KG world championships, 61 KG Dan Kolov Tournament, 65 KG Muhammet Malo Tournament and the 65 KG Mediterranean Games while finishing with bronze at the 61 KG Yarygin and silver at the 65 KG Islamic Solidarity Games.

13. #2 (61) Akhmed Idrisov (Russia)

Akhmed Idrisov takes the number thirteen spot in the rankings for his victory over 2021 Senior World Champion #1 (61) Abasgadzhi Magomedov (RUS) in the 61 KG All-Russian Spartakiad finals in August. In 2022, Idrisov medaled at five tournaments with a gold at the All-Russian Spartakiad and four silver medals starting with the 57 KG Yarygin in January to #13 (57) Ramiz Gamzatov and the Russian Nationals Championships, Dmitri Korkin Memorial, and the International Khasavyurt Tournament to #1 (61) Abasgadzhi Magomedov (RUS).

14. #11 (79) Chance Marsteller (United States of America)

2022 was the year that saw Chance Marsteller break through. Marsteller began the year in February with a runner-up finish at the Yasar Dogu to Senior World champion #2 (79) Jordan Burroughs (USA). At the Yasar Dogu, Marsteller had a strong group of wins over 2017 74 KG Senior World runner-up Khetag Tsabolov (SRB), 2020 79 KG Asian Champion Arsalan Budazhapov (KGZ), Nuri Temur (TUR), and U.S. stalwart David McFadden.

Following his performance in Turkey, Marsteller would falter somewhat in the U.S. Open, falling in in the semifinals to McFadden and losing in the consolation semifinals to #18 (79) Alex Dieringer to finish fifth over Brayden Thompson. Marsteller was a man possessed in the U.S. World Team Trials, pulling out victories over two-time NCAA champion #17 (79) Carter Starocci and McFadden to set up a three match finals series against Vincenzo Joseph. Proving himself yet again, Marsteller came away in an heart-pounding three-match series against dangerous Joseph to set up a three-match series at Final X against reigning Senior World champion #2 (79) Jordan Burroughs. Marsteller would rebound from a 4-0 loss in his opening match against Burroughs to stun the wrestling world with a 2-2 criteria victory in their second match. With the chance of representing the U.S. at the World Championships, both men were in top form for their third match, Burroughs made his eleventh straight world team with a 5-0 win over Marsteller. After coming so close to unseating the king of 79 kilos, Marsteller would finish his year off in July at the Zouhaier Sghaier Tournament, where after wins over U23 and Senior European champion Georgios Kougiomtsidis (GRE) and Senior Asian champion #1 (79) Ali Savadkouhi (IRI), Marsteller fell in the third round of round robin action to 2021 world silver medalist #6 (79) Mohammad Nokhodilarimi (IRI) and again in the semifinals to #10(79) Bolat Sakaev (KAZ) and finished his tournament with a 10-0 tech fall over Asian Championships runner-up Baliyan Gourav (IND).

Marsteller’s run through the loaded U.S. 79 KG weight class that culminated in a victory over reigning world champion #2 (79) Jordan Burroughs along with victories over international standouts #1 (79) Ali Savadkouhi (IRI), Khetag Tsabolov (SRB) and 2022 Senior World bronze medalist Arsalan Budazhapov (KGZ) warrant a spot as one of the top wrestlers of the year.

15. #3 (79) Akhmed Usmanov (Russia)

Akhmed Usmanov earns the number fifteen spot in the Wrestler of The Year rankings off of titles at the second Ivan Poddubny Tournament, Dmitri Korkin Memorial Tournament, and the International Khasavyurt Tournament. Usmanov’s string of titles to end the year saw him notch wins over the like of 2020 74 KG Olympic runner-up #4 (79) Magomedkhabib Kadimagomedov, #5 (79) Radik Valiev (RUS), and #7 (79) Khalid Yakhiev (RUS). Usmanov’s performance is even more impressive when you consider the fact he failed to place at the Ivan Yarygin Memorial and Russian Nationals and took bronze All-Russian Spartakiad with losses to #5 (79) Radik Valiev (RUS), #8 (79) Magomed Magomaev (RUS), #13 (79) Gadzhimurad Alikhmaev (RUS), and #9 (86) Malik Shavaev (RUS).

16. #1 (70) Taishi Narikuni (Japan)

Taishi Narikuni earns the number sixteen spot in the Wrestler of The Year rankings for winning gold at the 70 KG Senior World Championships. At the Senior World Championships, Narikuni notched ranked wins over #2 (70) Ilyas Bekbulatov (UZB), #5 (70) Ernazar Akmataliev (KGZ), and #15 (70) Zain Retherford (USA). Narikuni’s quarterfinal win over #2 (70) Ilyas Bekbulatov (UZB) and his finals win over #15 (70) Zain Retherford (USA) were especially impressive as the talented Japanese wrestler tech falled Bekbulatov and Retherford in the first period 11-0 and 10-0 respectively.

17. #1 (125) Taha Akgul (Turkey)

Taha Akgul earned his 4th World/Olympic title over 2021 Senior World bronze medalist #3 (125) Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur (MGL). Akgul used an upset over reigning world champion Amir Zare to make the finals after a disappointing bronze medal finish in 2021. Akgul reigned supreme over the heavyweight division from 2014-2016 with two world titles and Olympic gold but 2017-2021 would see the Turkish titan struggle.

Akgul would show a masterclass of dominance and technical superiority early in the year as shown by his five straight European titles from 2017-2022 but faltered come time to regain his World/Olympic glory. Losses to Geno Petriashvili in the 2017 and 2019 world finals, being eliminated in the 2018 world quarterfinals by Parviz Hadi, and lopsided loses at the 2021 Olympics and 2021 World Championships to eventual champions Gable Steveson and Amir Zare all saw Akgul held back from heavyweight superiority. Akgul’s world title in Belgrade was his fourth World/Olympic gold and ninth World/Olympic medal to go along with two world silver medals in 2017 and 2019 along with a pair of bronze medals from the 2020 Olympics and 2021 World Championships. Whether Akgul will be able to repeat his three World/Olympic titles from 2014-2016 in the newly reinvigorated heavyweight field will be one of the biggest storylines to keep track of this quad.

18. #2 (86) Hassan Yazdani Charati (Iran)

Hassan Yazdani Charati makes the number eighteen spot in the Wrestler of The Year rankings for his runner-up finish at the 86 KG Senior World Championships. Yazdani Charati outscored his competition 31-0 on his way to the final where he lost to reigning Olympic champion #1 (86) David Taylor (USA). Yazdani holds eight World/Olympic medals to his name with four golds, three silvers and one bronze. Yazdani’s win over #1 (86) David Taylor in the 2021 world finals was Taylor’s only loss since 2017 when he lost in the finals of the World Team Trials to #2 (92) J’den Cox (USA). Yazdani has wins over fellow Wrestlers of the Year #3 David Taylor (USA) and #19 Kamran Ghasempour (IRI).

19. #1 (92) Kamran Ghasempour (Iran)

Kamran Ghasempour makes the number nineteen spot in the Wrestler of The Year rankings for winning his second consecutive world title at 92 KG with a victory over two-time world champion #2 (92) J’den Cox of the United States. Finishing the year at the World Cup, Ghasempour bumped up to 97 KG to take on four-time World/Olympic champion #2 (97) Kyle Snyder of the United States. Facing off against the powerhouse American, Ghasempour fell 5-0 in the marquee match of the tournament.

20. #5 (65) Abdulmazhid Kudiev (Russia)

Abdulmazhid Kudiev makes the number twenty spot in the Wrestler of The Year rankings for his win over Yarygin, Yasar Dogu, and All-Russian Spartakiad champion #6 (65) Shamil Mamedov (RUS) in the finals of the Dmitri Korkin Memorial Tournament. Kudiev’s victory over Mamedov crowned him as the top man in Russia in an absolutely loaded 65 KG weight class including Kudiev makes up nine of the top twenty ranked wrestlers in the world; #6 (65) Shamil Mamedov, #9 (65) Ramazan Ferzaliev, #10 (65) Ibragim Ibragimov, #11 (65) Gadzhimurad Omarov, #12 (65) Gadzhimurad Rashidov, #13 (65) Aripgadzhi Abdulaev, #16 (65) Elbrus Valiev and #17 (65) Alik Khadartsev.

21. #6 (65) Shamil Mamedov (Russia)

Shamil Mamedov makes the number twenty one spot in the Wrestler of The Year rankings off the strength of titles at the Yarygin, Yasar Dogu, and All-Russian Spartakiad. Mamedov took ranked wins over the likes of #7 (65) Tulga Tumur Ochir (MGL), #9 (65) Ramazan Ferzaliev #11 (65) Gadzhimurad Rashidov (RUS), #11 (70) Zagir Shakhiev (RUS), #8 (61) Islam Dudaev (ALB), #17 (65) Alik Khadartsev (RUS), and #18 (65) Umidjon Jalolov (UZB). Mamedov’s two losses of the year occurred in the quarterfinals of the Russian Nationals Championships to eventual bronze medalist #13 (65) Aripgadzhi Abdulaev (RUS) and in the finals of the Dmitri Korkin Memorial Tournament to #5 (65) Abdulmazhid Kudiev (RUS). For his litany of ranked wins plus international titles, Mamedov earns the number twenty one spot in the Wrestler of The Year rankings.

22. #7 (65) Tulga Tumur Ochir (Mongolia)

Tulga Tumur Ochir makes the number twenty two spot in the Wrestler of the Year rankings on the strengths of wins over Senior World runner-up #8 (65) Yianni Diakomihalis (USA) and Russian Nationals Championships #10 (65) Ibragim Ibragimov (RUS). Tumur Ochir’s wins over Diakomihalis and Ibragimov both took place in December, with his victory over Diakomihalis taking place at the World Cup and his win over Ibragimov at the PWL 3. Overall, Tumur Ochir finished the year with two titles at the Bolat Turlykhanov Cup and the Kunaev Tournament while registering a runner-up finish at the Poddubny Tournament to #17 (65) Alik Khadartsev (RUS) and taking fifth at the Yasar Dogu.

23. #8 (65) Yianni Diakomihalis (United States of America)

Yianni Diakomihalis earns the number blank spot in the Wrestler of The Year rankings for his silver medal at the Senior World Championships that broke a 16-year drought for the United States at 65/66kg going back to Bill Zadick’s gold medal over Otar Tushishvili of Georgia at the 2006 World Championships. Diakomihalis’s path to the finals saw him outscore his competition 34-0 with wins over #14 (65) Bajrang Punia (IND), #15 (65) Vazgen Tevanyan (ARM), Vladimir Dubov (BUL), and Sebastian Rivera (PUR). In the finals, Diakomihalis dropped a high octane 13-8 match to #1(65) Rahman Amouzad of Iran. Diakomihalis would be higher in the rankings but is held back by losses at the World Cup to #22 Tulga Tumur Ochir (MGL) and #8 Rahman Amouzad (IRI).

24. #3 (74) Taimuraz Salkazanov (Slovakia)

Building on his excellent 2021 campaign that saw him win his first Senior European title and take silver at the world championships, Taimuraz Salkazanov cemented his status as a top 74 KG title contender in 2022. Beginning the year by winning his second Senior European championships title by beating two-time Senior World champion #4 (74) Frank Chamizo of Italy and won titles at the Bolat Turlykhanov Cup and Matteo Pellicone Tournament before finishing with his second consecutive world silver medal to #2 (74) Kyle Dake of the United States. Going into the 2023 season, Salkazanov owns three Senior World medals to his name and looks poised to add a fourth in 2023 to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

25. #3 (125) Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur (Mongolia)

Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur makes the number twenty five spot in the Wrestler of The Year rankings due to his win over three-time world champion #4 (125) Geno Petriashvili of Georgia at the 2022 Senior World Championships. Munkhtur’s victory of Petriashvili was the first loss for the Georgian to a non World/Olympic champion since the 2018 International Ukrainian Tournament finals to 2019 world bronze medalist Oleksandr Khotsianivski of Ukraine.


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