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Unstoppable Rollercoaster of Surprises at 2023 Wrestling World Championship as Legendary 4x World Champion Takes a Fall against Underdog Sensation

Published 09/24/2023, 9:38 AM EDT

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The 2023 iteration of the World Wrestling Championship has officially yielded yet another great upset. The series of upsets in the freestyle wrestling category permeated into Greco-Roman wrestling on 23rd September 2023. Quite shockingly, the four-time world champion wrestler was sent back with a silver medal because of a technical loss.

The Belgrade World Wrestling Championships continued its legend-shattering streak when Gabriel Rosillo caused an upset in the 97kg category. The Cuban wrestler snatched the victory from Armenian Greco-Roman wrestling giant, Artur Aleksanyan. In fact, Rosillo sneaked in a last-second move to claim an upsetting win without even outscoring Aleksanyan.

Upset season leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of Armenian fans

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Gabriel Rosillo and Artur Aleksanyan had crossed paths at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, while the Armenian took home the silver medal, Rosillo went back empty-handed. In a surprising turn of events, Aleksanyan won a silver medal once again, but this time, it was Rosillo who stole the gold from him. In fact, the Cuban Greco-Roman wrestling sensation beat the defending champion to earn his first world championship medal. Aleksanyan and Rosillo were almost evenly matched in the 97kg Greco-Roman wrestling finals. However, the 31-year-old Aleksanyan’s battle experience easily outweighed that of the 24-year-old Rosillo. 

The Cuban wrestling giant compensated for his lack of experience with unpredictable spontaneity and cold but calculated patience. Aleksanyan was leading the match with a score of 1-3 but was defeated in the last 30 seconds of the match. Rosillo seized his chance when the clock had just 21 seconds remaining and scored a surprising takedown. The Cuban followed the offensive maneuver with an absolute defense, denying even a single point to the Tokyo gold medalist. When the match time elapsed, the referee granted the win to the younger wrestler on the basis of last-point criteria. The great upset followed the losses of world wrestling champions Kyle Snyder, Kyle Dake, and Jacarra Winchester. While it may appear that the match reached its climax in those 21 seconds, Rosillo’s body was working for it for a long time.

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2023 Greco-Roman wrestling champion’s road to victory

Rosillo had entered the Tokyo Olympics with a staunch 2019 run. The Cuban wrestling sensation had won the 2019 Pan American Games and the 2019 Pan American Championship. Despite the momentum he carried, his Olympic dream was reduced to a medal-less campaign. This made Rosillo take the resolve to work hard and emerge at the top.

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After his 97kg weight-class triumph, the Cuban wrestler said, “I trained well for these World Championships.” The world champion further added, “I was thinking of winning the gold medal and trained so hard to get it.” While the 24-year-old may have scored a technical win, even that involves excellent presence of mind and faultless execution. The reigning world champion will now look to cross paths with Aleksanyan at the Olympics once again. Will the Cuban’s wrestling prowess prevail at the grand stage of Paris in 2024 as well?

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Written by:

Ankit Singh

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Ankit Singh is a pro writer for US Sports at Essentially Sports. This surfing enthusiast has kept his watchful eye on all things Kelly Slater. With his prior experience as a senior writer for popular blogs in the country, Ankit brings his attention to detail to the nuances of every turn, snap, 360, and alley-oop on the surfboard.
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Edited by:

Abhishek Das