Bo Bassett’s quest to become a double gold medalist at the Cadet World Wrestling Championships came to a quick end in Budapest, Hungary, on Saturday.
Russia’s Ruslan Lukiaev needed just 1:13 for an 8-0 technical fall over Bassett in the 45-kilogram weight class of the Greco-Roman tournament.
That was a far different outcome than in freestyle, where Bassett dominated the field – recording three pins and a technical fall – on his way to a gold medal.
“Obviously, I wanted to win two world titles – but coming home with one world championship isn’t too bad,” Bassett said in a phone interview from Budapest.
Bassett’s loss highlighted the difficulty of winning in two styles of wrestling that are so different.
Greco-Roman does not allow wrestlers to use any holds below the waist or to use their own legs to score points or to block their opponents from scoring, meaning many of the maneuvers that make a freestyle wrestler so effective are of no use in Greco-Roman.
“It’s almost a different sport,” Bassett said.
Lukiaev used an arm spin for a takedown and 2-0 lead over Bassett. He then turned Bassett twice with a gutwrench. The match was stopped after 43 seconds and Bassett was called for a leg foul, which gave the Russian an 8-0 technical fall.
The United States challenged the call, and it was overturned on replay review, giving the 14-year-old Bishop McCort Catholic student another chance, but Lukiaev ended the match with another arm spin takedown.
“He looked like he’d been doing it ever since he was born,” Bassett said of Lukiaev’s proficiency in Greco-Roman wrestling. “I want to wrestle and compete. Back at world team trials, I put in for freestyle and thought why not try Greco? I want to compete and get after it.”
Bassett’s hopes for a medal ended when Nurbolot Berdikulov, of Kyrgyzstan, beat Lukiaev in the next round.
Bassett was looking to become the United States’ first Cadet gold medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling since Cohlton Schultz in 2017 and just the third in the past quarter-century.
No U.S. wrestler has won world titles in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, and most don’t attempt the feat.
Of the 18 U.S. wrestlers in Budapest, Bassett and heavyweight Jimmy Mullen were the only two to compete in both styles.
“I’m going to continue Greco in the USA,” Bassett said. “I’m a little unsure if I’ll wrestle Europeans next year. I’ll wrestle at team trials and in Fargo. I want to make history, too. I want to medal and win gold in both.”
Bassett will return to the United States on Monday.
“I’m excited to get back and see my friends, family and community,” Bassett said. “Twelve days is pretty long, but I enjoyed it.”