Bo Nickal becomes only the 2nd American to win Gold at the U23 World Championships in any style in US History being held in Budapest, Hungary.
Nickal started off the tournament by defeating returning bronze medalist Hossein Shahbazigazvar of Iran by a score of 12-2.
Nickal’s next match only lasted 1:13 as Nickal catches Takumi Tanizaki of Japan in a cradle for the fall. Next match Nickal defeated defending U23 World champion Shamil Zubairov of Azerbaijan by a score of 9-1 in the semifinals.
In the finals Nickal would face the Russian National Champion Batyrbek Tsakulov in the gold-medal match. This would be the same Batyrbek Tsakulov whom defeated Nickal in the 2013 Cadet World Championships @ 76kg. The 3 previous matches Nickal had the ankle pick working like a charm hitting the right ankle of his opponent almost everytime. In the finals Tsakulov was expecting the ankle pick on the right leg and was quick on the anticipation when Nickal would reach. So Nickal changes it up and after he gets a step out Nickal goes to the left leg ankle pick for his fist take down ending the 1st period 3-0 Nickal. 2nd period comes with another ankle pick to the left leg making it 5-0. half way through the 2nd period Nickal goes back to the right leg ankle pic for another 2. Then Tsakulov does a quick duck under and gets a take down himself and with a crazy effort couldn’t turn Nickal. Nickal then gets another right leg ankle that turns into a double and a flip giving Nickal a 4 point take down making score 11-2. Tsakulov challenges the decision and loses giving up the 1 point on a lost challenge giving Nickal the revenge after 6 years and the 92kg U23 World Title.
This Gold medal win gives Nickal an entry into the Olympic Team Trials that will be held in his back yard @ State College PA April 4-5th. Also as Nickal defeated multiple World Ranked Wrestlers this win should put him in the top 10 as Tsakulov was ranked 6th in the World at 92kg.
92 kg: Bo Nickal (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC) – GOLD
WIN Hossein Shahbazigazvar (Iran), 12-2
WIN Takumi Tanizaki (Japan), fall 1:13
WIN Shamil Zubairov (Azerbaijan), 9-1
WIN Batyrbek Tsakulov (Russia), 12-2
Photo by Kadir Caliskan, United World Wrestling.