Wrestling

Jordan Burroughs and Adeline Gray set for titanic tussles on 9 January

Adeline Gray will meet fellow world champion Tamyra Mensah-Stock, sharing top billing with the grudge match between Jordan Burroughs and David Taylor.

By Ken Browne ·

The New Year brings a treat for wrestling fans with two spectacular all-American bouts scheduled for 9 January.

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that London 2012 freestyle gold medallist Jordan Burroughs would be facing 'Magic Man' David Taylor after a protracted war of words on social media.

Now there is a women's clash to match with reigning 68kg world champ Tamyra Mensah-Stock taking on five-time world champion Adeline Gray on the same bill.

Burroughs and Mensah-Stock will both go up a weight class to try and gain bragging rights over their compatriots after the USA skipped this month's Individual World Cup in Belgrade.

The last two years have seen Mensah-Stock establish herself in wrestling's elite, the 28-year-old Texan following up her bronze medal at the 2018 Worlds in Budapest with gold at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima and than a first world title at Nur-Sultan 2019.

With seven World Championship medals, 29-year-old Gray is very much the standard-bearer for women's wrestling in the United States although an Olympic medal is missing from her collection.

Gray won their only previous meeting at the 2017 Dave Schultz International, but Mensah-Stock has improved greatly since then and will be quietly confident of springing a surprise.

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Burroughs and Taylor to settle differences on the mat

Burroughs steps up from 74kg to 86kg to take on 2018 world champion Taylor.

The pair have met four times in the past with Burroughs winning on each occasion, but their last clash was over six years ago at the 2014 World Team Trials finals.

These days Taylor is the world number one at 86kg and will carry a sizeable weight advantage over his opponent.

But Burroughs has shown he can overcome that hurdle recently, weighing in at 80kg ahead of his win over Zahid Valencia who was four kilos heavier.

It was far from a walkover with Burroughs trailing 4-0 at halftime before rallying to win 8-5 with two takedowns and two step-outs in the final 90 seconds.

And after the fight, following a number of messages between the two on social media, Burroughs called out Taylor.

READ: Five things to know about Olympic wrestling champion Jordan Burroughs

Taylor's response was in the affirmative.

READ: Five things you did not know about USA wrestling star David Taylor

The jabs and jibes between the two started back in October when the USA decided it would not send wrestlers to the World Championships in Belgrade which later became the Individual World Cup.

It was Burroughs who laid down the gauntlet.

Before Burroughs went toe-to-toe with Valencia, Taylor had to remind him who was king of the 86kg class as the rivalry heated up between the two global wrestling stars.

Wrestling trash-talk fans began rubbing their hands at the prospect of this fight when Burroughs responded with a zinger.

With the fire well and truly lit, the fight was announced on 10 December to take place the following month.

After 2020's calendar was all but wiped out by the COVID pandemic, this match-up in the New Year has wrestling fans seriously hyped with the bill being broadcast by FloWrestling.

Rio 2016 bronze medallist and two-time 92kg world champion J'den Cox will also be on the card, going up against Hayden Zillmer at 97kg.

The athletes will then focus on the USA Olympic Trials scheduled for 9-11 April at State College, Pennsylvania.

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