U.S. beats Russia, 5-2 in freestyle wrestling in Beat the Streets Gala in Times Square

May 5, 2011
(PRESS RELEASE) -- With an opening victory from 2008 Olympic champion Henry Cejudo and an inspired performance throughout the lineup, the United States defeated Russia in a freestyle wrestling dual meet in Times Square on Thursday.

The event was held in Duffy Square in New York City , located in the historic Times Square setting. Thousands of people packed the seats and stood around the raised stage, as thousands of others watched on a large screen overlooking the scene. The event was held as part of the Beat the Streets Gala, a fundraiser for local wrestling programs.

“Times Square. America. Wrestling. That was the difference today,” said National Freestyle Coach Zeke Jones. “The training, the confidence, the relaxed atmosphere. The team energy was good. We were intent on winning today. They were going to get this. They would not be denied.”

Cejudo won his first time on the mat since his dramatic victory at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing , China . He stopped Junior World bronze medalist Rasul Mashezov, 2-0, 4-3 at 55 kg. He had a key three-point move late in the second period to claim the period and capture the match.

“I feel like a wrestler again. It’s a good start. I’m not where I was in 2008 but I will get there. I want to do it again for my country. I am a patriotic American,” said Cejudo.

Russia rebounded at 60 kg/132 lbs., with Rasul Murtazaliev defeating 2009 U.S. World Team member Shawn Bunch, 3-0, 3-0.

The U.S. took a lead in the next match, one which it would never surrender. 2010 World Team member Brent Metcalf stopped Magomedmurad Gadzhiev of Russia, 1-0, 4-1, 1-0. Metcalf scored the winning the winning takedown in the third period of a competitive bout.

At 74 kg/163 lbs., 2010 U.S. Open champion Jordan Burroughs won his first match ever facing a Russian opponent, stopping Aniuar Geduev of Russia, 1-0, 2-1. Burroughs was able to get his effective double leg attack to work against a strong opponent.

Russia closed the gap to 4-2, when X Junior World champion Andrey Valiev of Russia defeated 2009 World silver medalist Jake Herbert, 3-1, 3-2 at 84 kg/185 lbs. Valiev won the key positions in a close match.

The U.S. victory was clinched at 96 kg/211.5 lbs., when 2009 U.S. World Team member Jake Varner stopped Shamil Akhmedov of Russia, 5-0, 0-1, 4-0. Varner had a strong third period to put the match away. Akhmedov defeated Varner by injury default in a bout in Russia earlier this year, when Varner was unable to complete the bout.

The final U.S. win came at 120 kg/264.5 lbs., when 2009 World bronze medalist Tervel Dlagnev swept Barsag Kesaev in two straight periods, 3-0, 3-1. Dlagnev avenged an loss to Kesaev earlier this season in Russia .

The USA vs. Russia dual meet was being billed as The Battle on Broadway, with “New York Is Wrestling” as the theme of this year’s event. The event was free to the public, and was streamed live on TheMat.com and Flowrestling.

Each year, the Beat the Streets Gala is held to celebrate wrestling and raise funds for Beat the Streets Wrestling, Inc., the successful program which has provided wrestling opportunities for thousands of middle school and high school students in New York City .

A card of eight exhibition matches featuring young athletes who wrestle in the Beat the Streets youth program, as well as high school wrestlers from the Public School Athletic League was held prior to the match. Results will be posted shortly at TheMat.com.

2011 BEAT THE STREETS GALA Duffy Square – Times Square at 46th Street in New York , N.Y. , May 5
USA 5, Russia 2
Battle on Broadway in Times Square
New York, N.Y., May 5, 2011
55 kg/121 lbs. – Henry Cejudo ( USA ) dec. Rasul Mashezov, 2-0, 4-3
60 kg/132 lbs. –. Rasul Murtazaliev ( Russia ) dec. Shawn Bunch ( USA ), 3-0, 3-0
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Brent Metcalf ( USA ) dec. Magomedmurad Gadzhiev ( Russia ), 1-0, 4-1, 1-0
74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs ( USA ) dec. Aniuar Geduev ( Russia ), 1-0, 2-1
84 kg/185 lbs. – Andrey Valiev ( Russia ) dec. Jake Herbert ( USA ), 3-1, 3-2
96 kg/211.5 lbs. –Jake Varner ( USA ) dec. Shamil Akhmedov ( Russia ), 5-0, 0-1, 4-0
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Tervel Dlagnev ( USA ) dec. Barsag Kesaev ( Russia ), 3-0, 3-1
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