LAS VEGAS — Although he entered the week ranked No. 17 in the world, Tony Ramos went 2-2 at Saturday’s United World Wrestling Championships in Las Vegas, leaving the former Iowa Hawkeye ineligible to compete for a medal.
“When guys come here, it’s a different ballgame,” Ramos said after being eliminated from the 44-man field in the 57-kilogram division. “It doesn’t matter what happened throughout the year. This is the world championships.”
Ramos battled slow starts throughout the day, and he was ultimately booted from the tournament by Belarus’ Asadulla Lachinau, who downed him 7-1 in the first round of the repechage bracket.
“It stings a lot,” Ramos said. “It’s not a good feeling.”
Ramos fell behind 3-0 and did not break into the scoring column until nearly halfway through the second period.
With the disappointing performance, the 24-year-old Iowa City resident will now turn his attention toward qualifying for the 2016 Summer Olympics, though he knows he’ll need to turn in a better performance if he hopes to medal in Rio de Janeiro.
“I didn’t get what I wanted,” Ramos said. “I’ve got to get over that hump.”
Ramos was eliminated from the main draw in the round of 16 after he fell short in a spirited match with No. 3-ranked Iranian Hassan Rahimi, a former world champion. Another slow start saw Ramos fall behind 1-0 due to passivity at the 1:55 mark of the first frame, a score that would last into the rest period.
As supporters for both wrestlers came to life in the second period, Ramos picked up the pace and nearly scored a takedown 30 seconds into the frame. He would instead have to settle for a single point for forcing Rahimi out of bounds. But as Ramos pressed forward on the restart, a seasoned Rahimi countered with a key takedown with just 19 seconds remaining, giving him a 3-1 lead that would hold up as a final result.
Rahimi won two more matches to make his way to the night’s final, which gave Ramos more life as a part of the tournament’s repechage.
Earlier in the night, Ramos and Uzbekistan’s Makhmudjon Shabkatov struggled to make anything happen, and their round-of-32 match was largely a frustrating stalemate. In the final minute, Shabkatov pushed Ramos out of bounds, earning a point and a crucial 2-1 lead. But with the crowd chanting in support, Ramos rebounded with a clutch takedown with 25 seconds left, taking a 3-2 lead.
Shabkatov tried to return the favor and was able to level the score by forcing Ramos out of bounds with seven seconds remaining, but the American was awarded the win based on criteria.
In keeping with the day’s theme, Ramos’ tournament started briefly off on the wrong foot, as he gave up the first point in his qualifying round match against Colombia’s Wber Euclides Cuero Munoz. However, Ramos would go on to earn four takedowns and 10 unanswered points as he cruised to an easy win.