J’Den Cox, Jordan Burroughs, Andy Bisek at the U.S. Olympic Team presentation in Iowa City, Iowa. Photos by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors
Competing against tough opponents from Iran in men’s freestyle will be 2012 Olympic champion, three-time World champion and 2016 Olympian Jordan Burroughs at 74 kg and 2016 Olympian and two-time NCAA champion J’Den Cox at 86 kg.
Two-time World bronze medalist and 2016 Olympian Andy Bisek will battle an Olympic and World champion from Korea at 75 kg.
Burroughs will face 2105 Asian champion Peyman Yarahmadi, who won bronze medals at the 2013 Junior World Championships and 2012 Cadet World Championships. Yarahmadi won the highly respected Takhti Cup held in Iran in 2015 and has also won a silver and a bronze at that tournament in other years.
Burroughs is considered one of the greatest wrestlers on the planet, and one of the most successful in U.S. history. He won World titles in 2011, 2013 and 2015, to go with his Olympic gold medal at the 2012 Games in London, England. Burroughs was a 2014 World bronze medalist, overcoming a leg injury in his first match. His career record is a remarkable 124-2. He is a four-time World Cup champion (2012-15) and two-time Pan American Games champion (2011, 2015). He was a two-time NCAA champion for Nebraska and won the Dan Hodge Trophy as the nation’s best college wrestler in 2011. He hails from Sicklerville, N.J. and was a New Jersey high school champion.
Burroughs has wrestled in the Beat the Streets international events five previous times and won all of his matches. Four of those events were in Times Square, where he beat Aniuar Gedeuv of Russia in 2011 (1-0, 2-1), Kamal Malikov of Russia in 2012 (8-0, 5-0), Atsamaz Sanakoev of Russia in 2014 (pin, 5:58) and Luis Quintana of Cuba (pin, 4:50). In 2013, when the event was held in Grand Central Terminal, Burroughs beat Saba Khubezhty of Russia (1-1, 5-0, 7-3).
Cox will be tested by Meisam Mostafa Joukar, who won both the Asian Games and the Asian Championships in 2014. Mostafa Joukar was a 2012 World University champion, and has won the respected Takhti Cup three times (2013-15).
Cox burst onto the Senior freestyle scene in the last month, after winning his second career NCAA title as a junior for the University of Missouri. He came into the U.S. Olympic Team Trials as a No. 9 seed in the Challenge Tournament, winning three matches to reach the championship finals, where he defeated four-time NCAA champion Kyle Dake in a memorable three match series. Two weeks later, in his first international event ever, Cox won five matches to claim the gold medal at the World Olympic Games Qualifier in Mongolia, qualifying the USA and himself for the Rio Olympic Games. This will be Cox’s first Beat the Streets appearance.
Bisek has drawn 2012 Olympic champion and 2013 World champion Kim Hyeon-Woo of Korea in the featured Greco-Roman match. Kim was also a 2011 World bronze medalist and 2006 Junior World silver medalist. Kim boasts a 2014 Asian Games title and three Asian Championships gold medals.
Bisek won World bronze medals in both 2014 and 2015, and qualified for his first Olympic Games in April. He has been on four U.S. World Teams. Bisek won a gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games and boasts two Pan American Championships title. He competed for the USOEC program at Northern Michigan University before moving on to the U.S. Olympic Training Center. This will be his first Beat the Streets event appearance.
There will be five 2016 U.S. Olympians competing in Times Square. Previously, the two women’s freestyle matches were announced, as 2016 Olympian and three-time World champion Adeline Gray will face Canada’s Justina Distasio at 75 kg, while 2016 Olympian and 2015 World champion Helen Maroulis will battle Canada’s Samantha Stewart at 53 kg.
There will also be four Junior-level matches between the United States and Iran in men’s freestyle, the first age-group international matches in Beat the Streets event history. These Junior matchups, as well as additional youth competition, will be announced at a later date.
Billed as “United in the Square,” this will be the second time that Iran has been featured as part of the Beat the Streets Gala competition. In 2013, the event dubbed “The Rumble on the Rails,” was hosted in historic Grand Central Terminal and featured dual meets between Team USA, Russia and Iran.
The world-class competition has been hosted in Times Square four previous times. In 2011, the United States defeated World Champion Russia, 5-2, the first sports event ever held in historic Times Square. In 2012, another U.S. vs. Russia dual meet was held in Times Square, along with the U.S. Olympic Team Wrestle-off for the 60 kg/132 lbs. position on the U.S. Olympic Team in men’s freestyle. In 2014, Team USA defeated a World All-Star Team in Times Square, 8-3. In 2015, “Salsa in the Square” featured a meeting between Team USA and Team Cuba in the three Olympic styles, held shortly after the historic change in USA and Cuban political relations.
This will be the seventh straight year in which a major international-style wrestling competition will be hosted as part of the Beat the Streets Gala activities. In 2010, an all-star challenge featuring top U.S. wrestlers was held on the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier docked on the west side of Manhattan.
Top Beat the Streets youth wrestlers will take the mat showcasing their skills in exhibition matches beginning at 3:45 p.m to start the evening. A new feature to be held is the PSAL Girls Freestyle Dual Meet Championships finals, featuring the two top New York City girl’s freestyle wrestling high school teams from the spring girl’s freestyle season. Then it's Team USA vs. Iran and other guests at 6 p.m., followed by the Beat the Streets Gala Celebration.
The Beat the Streets competition requires a ticket for reserved seating in Times Square, but is an outdoor event. Pedestrians and non-ticket holders are encouraged to watch. Admission tickets may be bought in advance at www.btsny.org or 212.245.6570. A ticket is required for the Gala Celebration at the PlayStation Theater. More details are available at http://www.btsny.org/gala.
The Gala Celebration will follow the wrestling competition. This unique and electrifying annual event helps Beat the Streets (BTS) raise significant funds to further its mission. Whether it’s providing a safe, constructive outlet for our urban youth, fighting childhood obesity, empowering women, or uniting entire nations, wrestling teaches persistence, dedication, and the value of working hard to achieve one’s goals, creates opportunities for personal and universal growth. BTS currently serve over 3,000 student-athletes every year.
“United In The Square,” Beat the Streets Matchups
In New York City, May 19, 2016
Men’s freestyle 74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs (USA) vs. Pehman Yarahmadi (Iran)
Men’s freestyle 86 kg/189 lbs. – J’Den Cox (USA) vs. Meisam Mostafa Joukar (Iran)
Greco-Roman 75 kg/165 lbs. – Andy Bisek (USA) vs. Kim Hyeon-Woo (Korea)
Women’s 53 kg/116.5 lbs. – Helen Maroulis (USA) vs. Samantha Stewart (Canada)
Women’s 75 kg/165 lbs.– Adeline Gray (USA) vs. Justina Di Stasio (Canada)
Note: Four USA vs. Iran Junior freestyle matches to be announced next week.
3:45 p.m. – Beat the Streets Youth Exhibition Matches between 42nd and 43rd Streets
4:45 p.m. – New York City Girl’s Freestyle Dual Meet Championships Finals between 42nd and 43rd Streets
6:00 p.m – World Class Wrestling: Team USA vs. Team Iran, Canada, Korea between 42nd and 43rd Streets
Followed by Gala Celebration
About Beat the Streets
The mission of Beat the Streets is to develop the full human and athletic potential of the urban youth and to strengthen the culture of New York City wrestling. BTSW works directly with the New York City Department of Education in a public-private partnership to help New York City's student-athletes achieve their personal and athletic goals. Through the operation of wrestling programs in middle and high schools in the five boroughs, BTSW and the DOE provide a safe, positive atmosphere in which disadvantaged and at-risk youth can learn the essential life skills of physical fitness, teamwork, and self-empowerment. The goal of fostering strong, dedicated, and optimistic kids is delivered through coaching, after-school programs, and summer camps. More information can be found at www.btsny.org.
About USA Wrestling
USA Wrestling is the National Governing Body for the Sport of Wrestling in the United States and, as such, is its representative to the United States Olympic Committee and United World Wrestling, the international wrestling federation. Simply, USA Wrestling is the central organization that coordinates amateur wrestling programs in the nation and works to create interest and participation in these programs. It has over 220,000 members across the nation, boys and girls, men and women of all ages, representing all levels of the sport. Its president is James Ravannack, and its Executive Director is Rich Bender. More information can be found at TheMat.com.