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Burroughs, Green Looking for World Gold

Former Huskers Jordan Burroughs and James Green will attempt to win World Gold starting Sunday

2014 FILA Freestyle Wrestling World Cup
Jordan Burroughs
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After going through the Team USA World Team Trials unscathed, Jordan Burroughs and James Green are set to compete at the 2021 World Championships in Oslo, Poland.

You can see the full breakdown here, but Burroughs and Green looked impressive while earning another World Team together. This will be Burroughs’ 10th World/Olympic team while Green will be competing in his sixth World Championships.

Colorado v Nebraska
Jordan Burroughs (right) and James Green
Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Burroughs and Green have been World Team teammates every year since 2015.

Burroughs will compete Sunday and Monday, while Green will compete Monday and Tuesday.

Jordan Burroughs

79 kg

Despite being the old guy in the room now, Burroughs is the big favorite at his new weight class, as he’s the only guy in the field with a World or Olympic medal...and he has eight (5 golds, 3 bronze)

In fact, Burroughs has the opportunity to join rarefied air this week. If he in fact can win his sixth gold medal, Burroughs would tie John Smith for the most World/Olympic golds in Team USA history. Smith, widely considered the best wrestler in US history, won six golds in a row before retiring and taking over Oklahoma State as head coach. He’s still there in Stillwater.

After falling to Kyle Dake at the Olympic Trials, Burroughs moved up from 74 kg to 79. He has only faced one other wrestler in his forthcoming bracket. But that may be to his advantage. Burroughs thinks so, as he’s mentioned that he thinks he always has the advantage in a first-time meeting because there’s no way to prepare for him and his ability until you see it for the first time.

The real question is how healthy Burroughs will be. He left the mat after clinching his World Team spot in noticeable pain while limping heavily. There hasn’t been much news at all about his status going into Worlds.

In the field are a few guys that could give Burroughs a challenge, led by Georgia’s Nika Kentchadze, a U23 World Champ and two time bronze-medalist at the European Championships.

Also a possible hurdle will be Russia’s Radik Valiev who is making his debut at the Senior World Championships. He has some solid international results, but he’s also been very competitive against his Russian countrymen. He’s pushed World and Olympic champs in Russian tournaments.

Also in the field will be 2021 European gold medalist Akhsarbek Gulaev of Slovakia and Mohamed Nokhodi of Iran. The Iranian was a Junior World gold-medalist earlier this year after finishing with silver at the 2019 U23 Worlds.

The field is packed with young up-and-comers from around the globe. Burroughs will show the world he’s still one of the best in winning another gold medal.

James Green

70 kg

For James Green, it’ll be a tougher road if he wants to win his first World gold medal. After taking bronze in 2015 and silver in 2017, Green is hungry to add the gold to his collection.

Freestyle World Cup 2017 in Iran
James Green (left)
Photo by Meghdad Madadi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Green went through the World Team Trials undefeated, downing Team USA’s Olympic Trials winner at 65 kg Jordan Oliver in the semifinals. In the best-of-3 finals, Green defeated Ryan Deakin twice in a row.

The only World Champ in the field will be Georgia’s Zurabi Iakobishvili, who won gold in 2017 at 65 kg, so there really aren’t any returning world champs at 70 kg competing.

Green should be considered the co-favorite along with Russia’s Evgeni Zherbaev, the 2021 Russia Nationals silver-medalist.

Poland’s Magomedmurad Gadzhiev is a two-time World medalist and the 2020 World Cup gold-medalist. He also won the European Championships in 2016 and 2020.

Georgia’s Zurabi Iakobishvili won World gold in 2017 and World bronze in 2018, while Turkey’s Hayden Yaruz took silver at the 2020 World Cup and bronze at the European Championships that same year.

Outside these contenders, the field is packed with Junior gold-medalist, U23 champs and Asian gold-medalists. It’ll be a tough test for Green, but without a returning World champ in the field, the time is now for him to get his first World gold.