Bo Nickal cruised his way to a U23 World title at 92 kg in men’s freestyle on Wednesday at the 2019 U23 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Facing Russia Nationals champion Batyrbek Tsakulov of Russia in the gold-medal match, Nickal used his single-leg takedown to help him to a World medal.
Nickal took a 3-0 lead into the break, scoring a step out and then a takedown. Points were flying in the final two minutes of the match as the American netted back-to-back takedowns before Tsakulov responded with a takedown of his own. Moments later, the two were tied up near the edge and Nickal sent Tsakulov to his back for a four-point feet-to-back takedown. The Russian corner challenged, but it failed, resulting in a point for Nickal to close out a 12-2 technical fall.
With the win, the three-time NCAA champion for Penn State became only the second U23 World gold medalist in any style in U.S. history.
At 125 kg, Daniel Greg Kerkvliet lost in a controversial ending of the bronze-medal bout against Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur of Mongolia.
Kerkvliet had the advantage, 3-3, at the break. In the final frame of action, Munkhtur was dinged with a caution-and-one for fleeing the mat to give Kerkvliet an outright 4-3 lead. With less than 10 seconds left, Munkhtur was awarded a step out point to make it 4-4. Time ran out and it was Kerkvliet who was declared the winner by criteria, due to the caution against the Mongolian.
Munkhtur’s corner challenged the step out call from moments before, asking for a caution and one for Kerkvliet fleeing. The referees eventually ruled it in favor of the Mongolina, giving Munkhtur the win on criteria and leaving Kerkvliet without a medal for a fifth-place finish.