Bassett drops opening match in Greco-Roman world championships

Jul. 24—Bo Bassett’s quest to become a double gold medalist at the Cadet World Wrestling Championships came to a quick end in Budapest, Hungary, on Saturday.

Russia’s Ruslan Lukiaev needed just 1:13 for an 8-0 technical fall over Bassett in the 45-kilogram weight class. That was a far different outcome than in freestyle, where Bassett dominated the field — recording three pins and a technical fall — on his way to a gold medal.

It also highlighted the difficulty of winning in two styles of wrestling that are so different.

Greco-Roman does not allow wrestlers to use any holds below the waist or to use their own legs to score points or to block their opponents from scoring, meaning many of the maneuvers that make a freestyle wrestler so effective are of no use in Greco-Roman.

Lukiaev used an arm spin for a takedown and 2-0 lead over Bassett. He then turned Bassett twice with a gut wrench. The match was stopped after 43 seconds and Bassett was called for a leg foul, which gave the Russian an 8-0 technical fall.

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The United States challenged the call, and it was overturned on replay review, giving the 14-year-old Bishop McCort Catholic student another chance, but Lukiaev ended the match with another arm spin takedown.

Bassett still has a chance to medal but his hopes will be riding on Lukiaev. If the Russian reaches the championship bout, Bassett could wrestle for a bronze medal but if Lukiaev loses prior to that, Bassett will be eliminated from competition.

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Bassett was looking to become the first U.S. Cadet gold medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling since Cohlton Schultz in 2017 and just the third in the past quarter-century.

No U.S. wrestler has won world titles in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, and most don’t attempt the feat. Of the 18 U.S. wrestlers in Budapest, Bassett and heavyweight Jimmy Mullen were the only two to compete in both styles.

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