(Poland, June 19) The XXV W. Ziółkowski Freestyle Wrestling Memorial 2016 finished in Spala, Poland. In the heavy weight division at 125 kilograms the 3x World Champion Bilyal Makhov took the first place defeating Olympic Champion Khadjimurad Gatsalov and the 2016 Russia Freestyle Wrestling Champion Muhamagazi Magomedov.
– Are you happy with the wrestling that you had showed at the Ziolkowski Wrestling Memorial?
In principle, everything is going according to the plan. The tournament in Poland was particularly intriguing, because among the participants there was also Khadjimurad Gatsalov, and when I found out about it, I got an extra focus, that really motivated me. Gatsalov – a competitor that makes you prepare a little differently.
– Before facing Gatsalov you wrestled three matches, and none of them had finished with the total domination – you defeated 8:0 (+ 3rd passivity call) the wrestler from Bulgarian, 8:0 Polish and 6:0 Chinese wrestlers. Moreover, you wrestled from the “number two” stand point position, waiting and waiting for your opponents’ mistakes, showing a passive style of wrestling. Deliberately without trying to make 10 points difference to get a technical wins. Was it a part of a tactic – saving energy for Gatsalov?
During the morning wrestling session I had to wrestle four matches, despite the fact that the break between the matches was too short. It was not important for me get an early win but to go out to the mat each time with the “cold” head. I didn’t try to risk, wrestled thoughtfully, set the task to get the mat feeling. Yes, and the opponents come to wrestle with me with a great desire and with minimal activity – with the task not to get taken down.
– The whole day yesterday on the internet the wrestling fans were discussing your wrestling match against Gatsalov that was eight years ago. Then, in 2008, within the framework of “the Absolute World Championship” during the CSKA Cup you lost 0:2 by periods. It is clear that you were far from the optimal shape due to the poisoning, but nevertheless that match was the only official match that you have had previously against Gatsalov. Did you watch it before the competition?
Yes, I revised it, and more than once. That loss gave me a lot of experience. Yes, I was then a “green” (unexperienced) hotheaded, coming to the competition with another focus – made a lot of mistakes. But I do not hide my tactic for today’s match against Khadjimurad Gatsalov. If then, eight years ago, I made the emphasis on tactics and techniques, so today I just used my weight to defeat Gatsalov, because I’m 20kg heavier than him.
– So, the tactical preparation against Gatsalov was different from the usual matches?
Yes. I used what I have had the advantage of.
– Did you talk to Gatsalov before the match or after?
Yes, I came to Khadjimurad and said that I sincerely hope that there are no negative issues between us. Khadjimurad – is our oldest friend, an example for all the wrestlers that are stepping on the mat today. We talked with him in a very warm and friendly manner. The wrestling cannot spoil our good relations.
– The wrestling cycle began with the fact that you were taking care of your injury, and the “hole” in the heavyweight division was closed Gatsalov – and very successfully …
Yes, Khadjimurad’s results speak for themselves. You can just look at those results that Gatsalov have showed during the course of his wrestling career and you will find out that nothing can be added. But the heavy weight is a heavy weight. I think it’s very hard to compete against the opponents whose weight is much higher than yours. First of all, it is very hard physically. And that fatigue during the day accumulates. I watched all the matches that Gatsalov had today and technically he never gave in. He was just much smaller and lighter than others. His victory at the World Championships 2013 at the heavy weight division gave the fans a special joy. The fact that Gatsalov wrestled at upper weight brought the additional interest and a new intrigue, and thus a creating a new momentum in popularizing freestyle wrestling.
– Did you watch Gatsalov’s matches today?
I have seen few matches. I can say that he wrestled and grind out the victory on his tough character. Today Khadzhimurat did not climb to the highest step of the podium, but once again he gave reason to be proud of and respect him.
– What do you think about your opponent at the finals – the current Russia Champion 2016 Muhamagazi Magomedov?
– The mat brought us together with Muhamagazi for the first time. He showed good wrestling today, won strong contenders. Looking at his match against the US guy – he pulled out a victory right at the end of the match. When I was going to wrestle against Muhamagazi, I knew that the match will not be easy. I think that Russian heavy weight wrestlers will get much better in the near future. I would like to say thank you to the newly formed Russia wrestling team coach Mahach Murtazaliyeva, our current results – much to his credit. He gave timely and useful tips, prepared for the matches. The fact that Muhamagazi Magomedov had such a good matches is his credit too. The Makhach’s advices helped me as well to stay focused and control myself without letting me to go with emotions during the match.
– Two weeks ago, you wrestled at the Russia Greco-Roman Wrestling Championship in Grozny, where you took a third place. Did that start help?
I had to have it, it was vital for me. I had, as they say, “go down into the pit,” to re-gain momentum.
– You were preparing together with the Russian national team at training camp in Adler for the tournament in Poland. How was the training atmosphere out there?
Stable. Nobody thinks about the bad stuff, all treat each other and everything with understanding. Everybody is charged to the battle.
– With the victory in Poland, you are likely to have booked a spot at the Russia Olympic Freestyle wrestling team. What are the plans for the near future?
So far, nobody has told me that. On 24 June we are starting a camp in Kislovodsk, where I will need to meet with the team leaders, with the coaching staff, to communicate, to learn their thoughts after all recent events … And then we can talk about inclusion in the Olympic team. It is too early to say something right now.