Jordan Burroughs bids for fifth 74kg freestyle title as competitions get underway in Budapest, Hungary.

The World Wrestling Championships began in Budapest on Saturday with 30 titles at stake in the Hungarian capital.

This is the first year where there will be 10 weight divisions (up from eight) in each of men's freestyle, men's Greco-Roman and women's wrestling.

With just six classes in Olympic competition, this represents a last chance for some athletes to compete at their optimum weight before trying to secure qualification for Tokyo 2020.

Burroughs bids for handful of world crowns

Jordan Burroughs is hoping to put himself in some esteemed company in Budapest.

When he won his first freestyle world title in 2011, Burroughs said he wanted to break John Smith's American record total of six world and Olympic titles.

Seven years on, the London 2012 gold medallist can match Smith's tally if he claims his fifth 74kg world crown this weekend.

But the 30-year-old will not have things his own way in Hungary.

Italian wrestler Frank Chamizo defeated Burroughs at July's prestigious Yasar Dogu event in Turkey.

Cuban-born Chamizo is seeking a fourth World Championships medal in a fourth different weight category after winning bronze at 55kg in 2010, 65kg gold in 2015 and 70kg gold last year in Paris.

The Rio 2016 bronze medallist has been training in the Russian Republic of Dagestan, a hotbed of wrestling and the home of UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov who recently beat Conor McGregor.

Frank Chamizo in action at the 2017 World Championships in Paris
Frank Chamizo in action at the 2017 World Championships in ParisFrank Chamizo in action at the 2017 World Championships in Paris

Chamizo and Burroughs are on course for a semi-final showdown this weekend with both in the top half of the draw.

Kyle Snyder is the other American man defending his title in Budapest.

Still only 22, Snyder is seeking a third consecutive 97kg global crown having also won Olympic gold in Rio.

Snyder edged out Russia's Olympic 86kg champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev in the final in Paris last year, but both men are unseeded so could meet at any stage.

Japanese women on course for big haul

With 10 titles now up for grabs, Japan's women have a great chance to add to their tally of four golds from Paris in 2017.

The lightest weight is now 50kg, but defending 48kg world champion Yui Susaki will be hard to stop in Budapest.

Susaki emerged from a strong pack, including World U23 champion Miho Igarashi, to win at June's All Japan Invitational Championships which served as national trials for the World Championships.

Yui Susaki gets the better of Miho Igarashi in the All Japan Invitational 50kg semi-finals
Yui Susaki gets the better of Miho Igarashi in the All Japan Invitational 50kg semi-finalsYui Susaki gets the better of Miho Igarashi in the All Japan Invitational 50kg semi-finals

Last year's 55kg victor, Haruna Okuno, has dropped to 53kg while last year's 53kg runner-up and 2016 55kg world champion, 2014 Youth Olympic Games champion Mayu Mukaida, has reverted to 55kg which is not an Olympic weight class.

Both will be major contenders for gold with Belarus' two-time world champion Vanesa Kaladzinskaya defending her 53kg title.

In the hunt for a medal at 55kg is Sweden's Sofia Mattsson.

The Rio 2016 bronze medallist won her first and only world title back in 2009 and gave birth to her first child last November.

Sweden's Sofia Mattsson celebrates winning 53kg bronze at Rio 2016
Sweden's Sofia Mattsson celebrates winning 53kg bronze at Rio 2016Sweden's Sofia Mattsson celebrates winning 53kg bronze at Rio 2016

The 28-year-old returned to competition with victory in July's Spanish Grand Prix and, with six global medals to her name, Mattsson's experience could prove crucial.

New for 2018 are the 57kg and 59kg classes, either side of the Olympic 58kg division, with defending 60kg champ Risako Kawai the favourite at 59kg.

Kawai won gold in Rio at 63kg and produced one of the best celebrations of the Games, twice throwing her coach onto the mat.

But the 59kg field looks the deepest of all with China's 2016 world champion Pei Xingru, two-time world silver medallists Alli Ragan of the United States and Russia's Irina Olgonova, and Tunisia's Olympic bronze medallist Marwa Amri all taking part.

Kawai's sister Yukako competes at 62 kg as will Sofia Mattsson's sister Johanna.

World U23 champion Ayana Gempei should put up a strong challenge in the 65kg class at her first senior World Championships.

Hiroe Minagawa Suzuki is also expected to contend for a medal at 76kg although she has lost out to China's Zhou Qian in the finals of the Asian Championships and the Asian Games this year.

Defending champion Yasemin Adar of Turkey, last year's runner-up Vasilisa Marzaliuk of Belarus, and three-time world champion Adeline Gray of the USA - back after taking 2017 off to recover from surgery - make the heaviest category one of the most competitive.

Bajrang leads Indian challenge

Bajrang Punia is India's best hope of gold in Budapest after taking Commonwealth and Asian Games titles at 65kg this year.

A 60kg world bronze medallist back in 2013, the 24-year-old is enjoying his best season to date including victory in a strong field at the Yasar Dogu.

Rio 2016 bronze medallist Sakshi Malik has struggled this year, taking Commonwealth bronze and finishing out of the medals in the Asian Games, and will be hoping to return to form in the 62kg class.

But bigger things are expected of Navjot Kaur who became the first Indian woman to win an Asian Championship crown in Kyrgyzstan in March.

Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat has been ruled out with an elbow injury with cousin Ritu Phogat replacing her at 50kg.

Aleksanyan bids for four-peat

Armenia are one of the powerhouses of Greco-Roman wrestling with Artur Aleksanyan the standard-bearer.

The Rio 2016 champion is bidding for his fourth consecutive world title but at 97kg which has replaced the old 98kg class.

Artur Aleksanyan grapples with Yasmany Lugo in the Greco-Roman 98kg gold medal bout at Rio 2016
Artur Aleksanyan grapples with Yasmany Lugo in the Greco-Roman 98kg gold medal bout at Rio 2016Artur Aleksanyan grapples with Yasmany Lugo in the Greco-Roman 98kg gold medal bout at Rio 2016

While Aleksayan is a dominant force, he can be beaten.

The 26-year-old comes into this competition on the back of a shock semi-final exit at last month's Poland Open to American hopeful G'Angelo Hancock.

Aleksanyan's fellow Armenian Maksim Manukyan competes in the new 82kg class after winning at 80kg in last year's World Championships.

Manukyan showed the extra two kilograms has not hindered him by taking the European title in Dagestan in May.

The new 77kg division is expected to be fiercely contested with Russia's double Olympic champion Roman Vlasov leading the contenders.

The Rio 75kg gold medallist finished out of the medals in Paris last year at 80kg, but a drop in weight should see him in the hunt for a third world title.

Vlasov's old rival, London 2012 66kg champion Hyeonwoo Kim of South Korea, Serbia's reigning world 75kg champion Victor Nemes, and home favourite Tamas Lorincz - a three-time medallist at global level - make this an extremely tough competition.

With Cuba's three-time Olympic champion Mijain Lopez not competing, Turkey's Rio 2016 silver medallist Riza Kayaalp is strongly fancied to claim his third consecutive 130kg crown and his fourth world title in all.

Maroulis returns after concussion-hampered year

Reigning Olympic and world champion Helen Maroulis spoke exclusively to Olympic Channel in June after a scary few months.

The American suffered a concussion competing in the India Pro League in January which altered her personality and left her ultra-sensitive to light and sound.

Maroulis was left on the sidelines again after receiving another blow to the head in June.

Maroulis on the reality of concussion

Maroulis on the reality of concussion

After her interrupted campaign, the 27-year-old had to come through a special bout with youngster Alex Hedrick earlier this month to take the final spot on the US team.

Now Maroulis - who once trained with former MMA king Conor McGregor - is a warm favourite to secure a fourth global title in a fourth different weight category.

The Maryland wrestler competes in the new 57kg division after her 2015 world title at 55kg, Rio 2016 gold at 53kg, and another world crown last year at 58 kg.

Her biggest threat could come from Nigeria's 2017 55kg silver medallist Odunayo Adekuoroye who pushed Maroulis hard at May's Beat The Streets event in New York.

Russian and Iranian freestylers seek to dethrone USA men

The United States claimed the men's freestyle team title 12 months ago and will be trying to retain it for the first time.

Despite failing to win an individual gold in Paris, Russia finished just one point behind the USA and they will be strong contenders to regain the crown.

At 70kg, Magomedrasul Gazimagomedov is bidding to win back the title he won in 2015 while fellow Dagestan wrestler, European champion Akhmed Gadzhimagomedov, is one of the favourites in the new 79kg division.

Iran are always to be respected with Olympic and world champion Hassan Yazdanicharati defending his 86kg crown although he has a tough opener against the USA's second seed David Taylor.

Georgia also boast some very capable wrestlers with last year's 65kg victor, Zurabi Iakobishvili, stepping up to 70kg.

Rio 2016 bronze medallist Geno Petriashvili defends his 125kg title with Turkey's Olympic champion Taha Akgul, a beaten finalist last year, seeking revenge and a third world crown.

The two cannot meet in the final this time with both men in the bottom half of the draw.

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