USA’s 2023 World Wrestling Champion Delivers Heart-Warming Gesture, Dedicates 3rd World Championship to Rival

Published 09/25/2023, 2:30 PM EDT

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While rivals in sports stand in one’s way to achieve the top prize, they also increase their value. Acknowledging the worth of his longtime rival, a US wrestler dedicated his third World Championship win to his rival. Speaking to the media after his win, the wrestling champion highlighted the role of his Iranian rival in bolstering his strength.

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American wrestling phenomenon David Taylor bagged the 2023 World Wrestling Championship in the 86kg weight class after a stunning victory. The US wrestler claimed the world title after facing the same man who guarded the gold medal in Tokyo. Delivering a heartwarming gesture, the American created headlines by dedicating his win to Olympian rival, Hassan Yazdani.

Yazdani forces me to get better: David Taylor

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David Taylor reached the finals of the 2023 World Wrestling Championship after a grinding campaign. The world champion wasn’t surprised to see Hassan Yazdani between him and the Belgrade gold medal once again. In fact, this was the third consecutive year they faced each other in the World Wrestling Championship finals. After a grueling six-minute match, Taylor managed to pin Yazdani with just 2.6 seconds left on the clock. United World Wrestling shared a post on their official Instagram handle where Taylor crowned Yazdani as the reason for his 9-3 win

According to Taylor, “I truly am grateful for him. He forced me to get better. When I was on top, and even when I lost to him because he’s forced me to get better. You know, and if I don’t get better, whatever gap that I have, he will close it. My job right now is to keep that gap and hopefully try to widen it if I can.” Apparently, Taylor once wanted to quit wrestling and wasn’t sure if he wanted to compete anymore after the Tokyo Olympics. However, Hassan Yazdani kept the competitive flame going in the 32-year-old US wrestling star.

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From almost quitting wrestling to winning two more championships

David Taylor had been constantly thinking of retiring from wrestling last year. Speaking to NBC Sports, the 3x World Wrestling Champion once said, “I just didn’t know if I wanted to do it anymore.” Taylor said this after winning the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics but losing the 2021 World Championships. Both times, he faced Hassan Yazdani in the finals. However, Yazdani clicked something in the US wrestler, who kept competing, despite facing several injuries and a knee swelling.

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The duo will now face each other at the upcoming Paris Olympics where their story will come full circle. David Taylor currently leads the head-to-head competition against Yazdani with a lead of 3-1. Going to the Olympics, Taylor stands a chance to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals, a feat that hasn’t been done this century. But will Hassan Yazdani allow him to do that? The 28-year-old Yazdani won the 2016 Olympics gold in the 74kg weight class. He took the silver against Taylor in 2020 despite shifting to the 86kg category. After three years and three world titles, who will emerge victorious on the grand stage of Paris?

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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:

Yeswanth Praveen

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