Russia’s Anzor Khizriev proved too powerful for Georgia’s world under-23 champion Givi Matcharashvili as he won the freestyle 125 kilograms final to earn a third gold for his country on the opening medal day of men’s freestyle wrestling at the European Games here.
Earlier in the evening at a packed, noisy and actually steamy wrestling venue, Khizreiev’s team-mates Dauren Kurugliev and world champion Zaurbek Sidarov won titles at 86kg and 74kg respectively.
The only non-Russian winner on the night was Azerbaijan’s Mahir Amiraslanov in the 57kg class.
In the top weight men’s freestyle final, the young Georgian was competing against an opponent who looked as if he had been constructed on a larger scale and, despite a courageous effort, Matcharashvili was thumped to the ground in the concluding seconds as the mighty Russian, a European bronze medallist, fully asserted himself.
Bronze medals went to Ukraine's Oleksandr Khotsianivskyi, a 2-1 winner over Fatih Yaşarlı of Turkey, and Jamaladdin Magomedev of Azerbaijan, who defeated Rares Chintoan of Romania 12-2.
Four-times world medallist Ali Shabanau carried home hopes into the men’s 86kg final, where he met Kurugliev, but the Russian won a tense contest 3-2.
Bronze medals went to San Marino’s Nazem Amine, who got the verdict over Alexander Gostiyev of Azerbaijan after they had finished at 3-3, and Germany's Ahmed Dudarov, a 10-8 winner over Fatih Erdin of Turkey.
Russia's world champion Sidakov made short work of his Turkish opponent Soner Demirtaş, pinning the Rio 2016 bronze medallist to the ground inside the first minute to claim the 74kg gold.
Georgia's Avtandil Kentchadze beat home athlete Azamat Nurykau to bronze 8-5, and in the other bronze medal match, Azerbaijan's Khadzhimurad Gadzhiyev beat Vasyl Mykhailov of Ukraine 9-1.
Amiraslanov won his 57kg gold medal match against Serbia's Stevan Micic 9-1.
Earlier Zavur Ugaev of Russia and Suleyman Atli won the first medals of the night – bronze - by respective scores of 10-2 and 12-9 against Bulgaria’s Georgi Vangelov and Taras Markovych of Ukraine.
In the earlier round of semi-finals in the evening session, Georgia’s Vladimer Khinchegashvili beat Russia’s Akhmed Chakaev 8-2 and will now meet Azerbaijan’s Haji Aliyev, who beat Ukraine’s Hor Ohannesian, in the men’s 65kg final.
Russia’s Rio 2016 champion and world number one Abdulrashid Sadulaev won his 97kg match against home wrestler Aliaksadr Hushtyn 6-0 and will meet Azerbaijan’s Nurmagomed Gadzhiyev, who beat Ukraine’s Murazi Mchedlidze 7-0.
Sweden’s Sofia Mattsson progressed to the final of the women’s 53kg class with a 10-2 win over Germany’ Nina Hemmer, and she will meet Ukraine’s Yuliia Khavaldzhy, who beat Russia’s Stalviar Orshush 7-4.
Russia’s double European champion Anastasiia Bratchikova won a tough match against current European champion and world number one, Anna Cherkasova of Ukraine, 4-2 to earn a place in the final of the 68kg category.
There she is set to meet Latvia’s Anastasija Grigorjeva, a 10-3 winner over Danute Domikaityte of Lithuania.