A season nothing short of spectacular will soon come to an end, as the finals of the 2023 Beach Wrestling World Series are approaching. After a worldwide tour of four stops that took us from the southern hemisphere to the Côte d’Azur and across the Black Sea, we are now ready to return to magical Mugla, Turkey, for the fifth and final leg. Bringing the world championships back to the host venue of the 2018 world championships, where the east meets the west, the world champions will be unveiled, as will the final leg winners.
The pristine location of Sarigerme Beach in Mugla, Turkey, sets the scenes to host a strong lineup of wrestlers for the final fights. We can expect to see over 70 athletes from 15 nations from North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa, all prepared to claim victorious. Some noteworthy participants include returning German athletes from the recent stop in Romania, a return of the Iranian team and new teams from Bangladesh and Guinea-Bissau are expected to make an appearance, all prepared to put on a show in the sand ring.
With a slightly different points system from the previous stops this season, the finals in Mugla offer four times the points available, which should cause a stir in the overall rankings. This opens an exciting opportunity for more contention of who will be crowned the 2023 Beach Wrestling World Champions. As eight champions are to be crowned, all is at stake.
In the women’s divisions we’ve seen a lot of consistency across the board as well as some rouge appearances. Home crowd favourite Emine CATALOGLU (TUR) is a strong contender to take home the women’s 50kg division overall gold this season. Considering her main rival, the Princess of Power, Stefania PRICEPUTU (ROU) won’t be making it to finals, and her home sand crowd cheering her on, it could be a chance for the 27-year-old to battle through to victorious.
The women’s 60kg division could see Daria MEDVETSKA (UKR) maintain the strength she’s shown all season, but with more points up for grabs, strong contention from her fellow teammate Anastasiya KRAVCHENKO is sure to be felt. With Elena Simona IONESCU (ROU), who currently sits at the top of the overall rankings, sitting this one out, we could see a one-two Ukrainian domination.
Soaring ahead so far in the women’s 70kg overall rankings is Oksana KUKHTA HERHEL (UKR), who has two wins under her belt and a significant lead ahead of strong contender and teammate Olena NIKITINSKA (UKR). With more points available, an upset is always a possibility.
While the +70kg women’s division has seen consistency from Angelique Carole GONZALEZ of France, American powerhouse and youngster Eliana BOMMARITO proved herself with her incredible win at the penultimate stop in Romania. At just 19 years old, she has shown skill and class against her older peers and is one to watch out for. Defending world champion Catalina AXENTE of Romania, could stir up the competition as she’s shown strength already with one win under her belt this year. Nevertheless, this division will be one to keep your eyes on for a potential plot twist.
The men’s 70kg division has been dominated by Oleksii BORUTA of Ukraine. Having already secured three wins across the three stops he participated in, his presence this season is a force to be felt. With more points up for grabs, home crowd favourite Yunus COSKUN (TUR) and defending champion Levan KELEKHSASHVILI (GEO) could also climb up in the overall rankings over the weekend with plenty of challenge for points and medals.
Dominating the 80kg men’s division rankings is Georgian Nika KENTCHADZE, who likely will be sitting out the final leg of the season. With his absence and with more points available during the finals, his competitors will be seeking to pass him in the overall. Could we see some fresh faces make a statement with newcomers from Bangladesh and Guinea-Bissau? Nonetheless, this division is always full of action, and a show from the likes of American Tyler Mackenzie LOETHEN, who always keeps us on our toes, is more than likely.
In the men’s 90kg division, it will be a fight till the end, as the Turkish delight, Mahmut Seyfi OZKAYA will be pushing up against this season’s main superstar, Ibrahim YUSUBOV (AZE). The defending champion from Azerbaijan has shown no mercy time and time again so far this season, but with more points on the line, many will be rising to the occasion to secure what they can.
The men’s +90kg division power players can expect formidable force from home-sand hero and defending world champion Fatih YASARLI of Turkey, who has so far this season already secured a win. He will strive to overtake in the overall rankings Mamuka KORDZAIA (GEO), who currently sits at number one and will also be pushing to secure a world title.
As we anticipate a thrilling final stop and world championship weekend, who will be crowned the kings and queens of sand at the 2023 Beach Wrestling World Series remains unknown until October 14th and 15th. We hope to see you sand side at the iconic Sarigerme Beach for all the action and glory, otherwise, be sure to catch the live rounds streaming on the Beach Wrestling World Series YouTube Channel.