Kyle Dake survives last-second scare to edge Frank Chamizo in wrestling thriller
The run-up to the event in Austin, Texas, organised by FloWrestling was fueled by trash-talking between the two two-time world champions. Unsurprisingly, both men came flying out the blocks on the night, no doubt releasing some of the pent-up energy they would have been hoping to expend at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics right now.
Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Chamizo drew first blood from a shot clock point, but his fellow two-time world champion Dake wrestled back the lead by the end of the first period through a late step out.
In the second period an entertaining grapple resulted in a rare exposure for defensive guru Chamizo, which Dake exploited with a reversal and gut wrench to put him up 4-3.
Fittingly, the drama didn’t stop there. With less than 10 seconds remaining, Chamizo showed his champion spirit by firing a single shot to come within centimetres of a take down and the victory, but the American successfully countered to win the day.
Frank Chamizo: The glamour man with a divided heart
Frank Chamizo: The glamour man with a divided heartItaly's two-time world champion Frank Chamizo does not shy away from making bold statements even calling himself "a legend". The Cuban-born wrestler is representing Italy while his training is in the United States. Next on his agenda: Gold at Tokyo 2020. "Unitil I get to the top I'm not happy," he told us.
“I’ve been working on [my gut wrench] every day still, just to make sure I don’t lose anything,” Dake said after. “Frank is a great competitor, and having to go out there and wrestle him is no easy feat. Hats off to him. I’m just excited to be back out here again.”
The two wrestlers showed their respect for each other with a warm embrace at the end, but it didn’t take long for the Chamizo’s competitive spirit to re-emerge online.
In reference to competing at a non-Olympic catch weight of 79kg (174 lb) - in which Dake is the two-time reigning world champion - the Cuban-born 74kg (163 lb) specialist tweeted this:
With London 2012 gold medallist Jordan Burroughs the favourite to win the U.S. Olympic Trials at 74kg (163 lb), and David Taylor strong favourite at 86 kg (190 lb), Dake’s path to the Olympics is far from secure.
But it is clear from his post-game tweeting about ‘other guy’ Burroughs, that Dake fully intends to take the Team USA 74kg (163 lb) berth in Tokyo.
‘Magic Man’ David Taylor beats Myles Martin
In the co-headline act of the night, the 2018 86kg (190 lb) world champion David Taylor’s experience and class shone through as he defeated short-notice opponent Myles Martin in an all-American affair.
Despite a long injury lay-off, Taylor clearly hasn’t lost any of his competitive sharpness, hitting a pair of single-leg shots for a step out and takedown early in the match.
Taylor kept the pressure on with an array of leg attacks to build a 9-0 edge over the former NCAA champion, before dominating Martin with one last shot to take the match 11-0.
Taylor’s last tournament was the 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier in March, where he qualified the USA for the Olympics at 86 kg (190 lb), but must still win the U.S. Olympic trials in order to represent the red, white and blue at the Olympics in Tokyo.