Fix, Retherford drop bouts and are not eligible for repechage in men’s freestyle at World Championships

NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan – The first two U.S. men’s freestyle wrestlers competed on Thursday morning at the World Wrestling Championships, and both suffered heartbreaking losses.

Daton Fix (Sand Springs, Okla./Titan Mercury WC/Cowboy RTC) went 1-1 at 57 kg/125.5 lbs. in his first appearance in a Senior World Championships.

Fix won his opening match handily, defeating 2019 European bronze medalist Vladimir Egorov of Northern Macedonia. Fix scored three first period takedowns to lead Egorov at the break, 6-1. In the second period, Fix added three more takedowns to close out the technical fall.

In the next round, Fix lost a tight 4-2 match to 2017 World champion and 2018 World bronze medalist Yuki Takahashi of Japan.

Fix scored the only takedown of the match early in the second period. Takahashi scored two points, with Fix being placed on the shot clock twice, once in the first period and once in the second period. As time was winding down, the score was 2-2 with Fix holding criteria. Takahashi forced the action and received a step out call with 16 seconds left to lead 3-2. The USA challenged and after a lengthy video review, the challenge was denied, giving Takahashi his final point.

Takahashi was defeated in the quarterfinals by Kumar Ravi of India, 6-1, which means Fix was not eligible for repechage. To compete in repechage, a wrestler must lose to a gold-medal finalist.

Zain Retherford (State College, Pa./(Nittany Lion WC) was defeated at 65 kg/143 lbs. in his opening bout, and also is not eligible for repechage.

In the first round, Retherford lost a heartbreaking 10-9 decision to two-time World bronze medalist Alejandro Valdes Tobier of Cuba.

Valdes jumped to an early 6-0 lead, with a takedown and two turns. A Retherford takedown made it 6-2 at the break. In the second period, Retherford added a double leg to close it to 6-4. After a 2-and-2 action, the score was 8-6. There was a break to tape up blood on both wrestlers, Retherford initiated a shot. Officials called it a 2-and-2, with both wrestlers getting exposure. Retherford ended up on top with a reversal, making the final score 10-9.

Valdes won his next match, but then was defeated in the third round by Haji Mohammed Ali of Bahrain, 11-6,

Retherford placed 11th at the 2017 Senior World Championships and was a 2011 Cadet World champion at 63 kg. Retherford was a three-time NCAA champion and Dan Hodge Trophy winner at Penn State.

At Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, September 19

Finals pairings
57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Suleyman Atli (Turkey) vs. Zavur Ugaev (Russia)
65 kg/143 lbs. – Gadzhimurad Rachidov (Russia) vs. Daulet Niyazbekov (Kazakhstan)

Semifinals results

57 kg/125.5 lbs.
Suleyman Atli (Turkey) dec. Nurislam Sanayev (Kazakhstan), 5-3
Zavur Ugaev (Russia) dec. Kumar Ravi (India), 6-4

65 kg/143 lbs.
Gadzhimurad Rachidov (Russia) dec. Izmail Muszakajev (Hungary), 3-2
Daulet Niyazbekov (Kazakhstan) dec. Bajrang (India), 9-9

U.S. Men’s freestyle performances on Thursday

57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Daton Fix, Sand Springs, Okla. (Titan Mercury WC/Cowboy RTC)
WIN Vladimir Egorov (Northern Macedonia), tech. fall 12-1
LOSS Yuki Takahashi (Japan), 4-2

65 kg/143 lbs. – Zain Retherford, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)
LOSS Alejandro Valdes Tobier (Cuba), 10-9