Reigning world champion Metehan Başar headlines a packed field for the United World Wrestling (UWW) Zagreb Open, due to take place this weekend at the Croatian capital’s Dom Sportova Arena.
The Turk was one of four non-Russian Greco-Roman wrestlers to triumph at last year’s World Championships in Budapest in Hungary.
He defeated 2015 world champion Zhan Beleniuk of Ukraine in the 87 kilograms final to make it back-to-back global crowns.
Başar comes into the Zagreb Open, this year's first UWW Ranking Series event in Greco-Roman, heavily favoured to win the 87kg title.
His two biggest competitors will be a pair of Hungarian wrestlers, Viktor Lőrincz and Erik Szilvassy.
Lőrincz, a Rio 2016 Olympian, is a two-time world bronze medallist and has represented Hungary at every World Championships since 2011.
Szilvassy, the under-23 world champion at 85kg in 2017, will use this weekend as an opportunity to try to overthrow Lőrincz and take national supremacy before the selection process begins for Hungary's 2019 World Championships team.
Although Başar is the only world champion competing in Zagreb, the field also features two silver medallists and five bronze medallists.
The silver medallists are Turkey’s Emrah Kuş and Bulgaria’s Kiril Milov, who will contest the 82kg and 97kg categories respectively.
Among the bronze medallists are Turkey’s Ekrem Öztürk at 55kg and Rahman Bilici at 63kg.
Bulgaria’s Aik Mnatsakanian and Poland’s Gevorg Sahakyan also feature on the five-strong list and will be battling for honours at 72kg, while South Korea’s Kim Minseok, a 130kg competitor, completes the quintet.
There will be at least one world medallist in seven of the 10 weight classes.
South Korea’s Kim Hyeonwoo and Uzbekistan’s Elmurat Tasmuradov are the two past Olympic medallists that are traveling to Zagreb to compete for the eight first-place UWW Ranking Series points.
Kim, a London 2012 champion and Rio 2016 bronze medallist, will be in one of the deepest weight classes, 77kg, while Rio 2016 bronze medallist Tasmuradov will be vying for glory at 67kg.
Qualification and elimination rounds are set to be held tomorrow.
The repechage bouts, bronze medal matches and finals are then due to follow on Sunday (February 10).