Wrestling: USA’s Steveson upsets Rio champion Akgul as Dake crashes out

Gable Steveson stunned Rio Games champion Taha Akgul of Turkey in the quarter-finals of the men’s freestyle super heavyweight category on Thursday, the US wrestler advancing with an 8-0 victory.

Steveson led 2-0 at the end of the first period with a takedown. He went 4-0 up after the break with a double leg takedown before moving further ahead with two more points-scoring moves.

Akgul made no effort to claw back the deficit as the clock ticked down as Steveson jogged around the mat in the final seconds knowing victory was in the bag.

The 21-year-old American has yet to concede a point in Tokyo having beaten former Asian champion Aiaal Lazarev of Kyrgyzstan with a 10-0 victory by technical superiority after five takedowns in the first period.

Steveson’s compatriot Kyle Dake did not fare so well, losing 11-0 in the freestyle welterweight quarter-finals to Belarusian Mahamedkhabib Kadzimahamedau.

Kadzimahamedau led 9-0 at the break and wrapped up the bout in the second period with a takedown to set up a semi-final with Italy’s Frank Chamizo, a two-time world champion and Rio bronze medallist.

It was a stunning upset for Dake, the four-time NCAA champion from Cornell University who ended Jordan Burroughs’ decade of dominance in American wrestling at the US Olympic trials.

Russian Zaurbek Sidakov and Daniyar Kaisanov of Kazakhstan will compete in the second semi-final.

In the quarter-finals of the women’s freestyle bantamweight competition, Belarusian Vanesa Kaladzinskaya shocked medal favourite Vinesh Phogat of India.

Kaladzinskaya showed excellent defence and countered Phogat well in the second period. Despite a successful Indian challenge reducing Kaladzinskaya’s lead to 5-3 from 7-2, the Belarusian then managed to pin the reigning Asian champion to win 9-3.

Kaladzinskaya will next face China’s Pang Qianyu, who shocked Jacarra Winchester of the United States with a quick takedown seconds into the bout before going up 6-0 with two turns, ultimately winning the contest 6-2.

Two-time world champion Mayu Mukaida of Japan sailed through her bouts, beating Cameroon’s Joseph Essombe Tiako 10-0 before dispatching former European champion Roksana Zasina of Poland 12-2 in the first period.

In the semi-finals, Mukaida will face Mongolia’s Bat-Ochiryn Bolortuyaa, who defeated Ecuador’s Luisa Valverde 15-5.

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