The most beloved athletes are typically anointed with the most nicknames.

Big Move Bonne.

Bonne Bombs.

YBR.

Cuba’s 61 kg superstar Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez has bombed his way into the hearts of countless international wrestling fans with his high amplitude style and stoic demeanor. After winning a trio of Pan American titles from 2002-2005, Bonne seemingly fell off the face of the earth. The Cuban wrestling program is not well-funded, they typically only send one athlete per weight to the few tournaments they can actually afford to attend. Talents like Frank Chamizo Marquez kept Bonne out of the lineup for years.

Nearly six years later, Bonne reemerged at the 2011 Pan American Games, he’s been a lightweight staple ever since.

While the Cuban team generally peaks for World and Olympic tournaments, taking “bad” losses here and there, Bonne seemed particularly hot and cold. At his best, Bonne has always been a title threat, winning World bronze medals in 2014 and 2017.

It was at 34 years old that Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez finally put together the tournament of his life and broke through for gold in 2018.

Following is a chronological breakdown of Bonne’s performances at each of his World and Olympic tournaments, starting in 2014.

The Career of ‘YBR’ Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez

In the video above, Bonne explains the fundamental philosophy of his style. In freestyle, a single maneuver can earn as much as five points half of the requisite ten points needed for a technical fall. For contrast, in folkstyle you can take your man from their feet to their back, but if you fail to hold them with their back exposed to the mat for a number of seconds, it’s still only two points.

Any move that takes your opponent off their feet and exposes their back to the mat in freestyle is four points, and a perfect throw that takes your opponent directly to their back is a rare five points.

Wrestlers like Bonne come to a reasonable conclusion, why spend the effort of setting up and performing two two-point maneuvers, when I can work a little harder, once, for four points?

To maximize this approach, Bonne prepared for a few explosive sprints per match, meaning he’d take few risks and wrestle relatively conservatively in between bursts. MMA fans may be reminded of another prolific Cuban, Yoel Romero.

From the outside, Bonne shoots a high crotch and loads his opponent across his back, typically trapping the responsive underhooking arm. The fireman’s carry is an ideal “big move” takedown because if you have the pop, you can lift and toss your opponent head over heels and release for four points without even completing the takedown. An explosive double leg holds the potential to blow your opponent off their feet, but so often wrestlers just turn in and belly down before you get the chance.

The fireman’s carry also works from strong ties like off your opponent’s underhook, in fact that’s the preferred setup. Against wrestlers who love to push forward off underhooks, Bonne struggles with giving up mat control and getting pushed out, but the entry for his high C is usually there.

Once he has his man down, Bonne’s approach to par terre is pretty simple. He typically walks his feet out toward his opponent’s head and starts to work a crotch lock. If his opponent spreads out and tries to remain immobile, he has the athletic style to get the lock, hoist his opponent and attempt to toss them across their back.

However, this approach is the most effective when the defending wrestler takes the bait and attacks Bonne’s near leg, in hopes they can gain some sort of control and reverse for one point or expand for further scoring.

One of two things regularly happen. One, Bonne stands with his opponent latched on to his leg, which only serves to take some of the weight off and give him a more comfortable throwing opportunity. If Bonne has control of the leg and his opponent twists toward that same side to attack Bonne’s leg, their head’s proximity to their knee opens up the cradle, which Bonne will snatch up on first sight.

As definitive as cradles can be in folkstyle, the potential is even greater in freestyle, where the number of exposures are not limited per hold. Just as you can with a leg lace or gut wrench, Bonne has found opportunities to continuously readjust and roll through his cradles to rack up points.

The rest of Bonne’s game is defined by short shucks and shrugs from close ties, and elevator counters off his opponent’s single legs. If someone gets sloppy and puts their head underneath Bonne while latched onto his leg, he’ll grip the head, connect through to the overhook and kick back, using an elevator to launch his opponent overhead. NCAA champion and multiple-time USA World team representative Tony Ramos found out first hand how dangerous Bonne can be in that position.

Now that you’ve got a handle on the basics of Bonne, let’s walk through his World and Olympic tournaments.

Featured will be my highlights of most of Bonne’s matches, as well as the major tournament accomplishments of his most noteworthy opponents. My determination of which tournaments are worth mentioning is subjective, as fields vary, but if it’s listed, you can be sure the event is typically loaded with hammers.

2014 World Wrestling Championship

For Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez, the 2014 World tournament was a coming out party. His lone World outing for Cuba thus far was in 2003, where he did not place. After returning to his starting spot, Bonne won the Olympic Qualification Tournament to make it to London, but unfortunately did not place at the 2012 Olympic Games either.

In the qualification round, he met Senegal’s Jean Bernard Diatta. To that point, Diatta had won multiple African Championship tournaments, but the level of wrestling in Africa is incomparable to what Bonne had become accustomed to.

Bonne manhandled and pinned Diatta in the first period.

Next up were the “1/8 finals”. While I don’t think “qualification round” and “1/8 finals” sounds any better than Round 1 and Round 2, before switching to quarter and semifinals, that is what they are called.

In said 1/8 finals, Bonne wrestled an overmatched Rahul Mann of India. Mann was a tough competitor as a cadet and junior, but did not quite pan out as a senior. A quick 10-0 tech put Bonne in the quarterfinals.

Bonne had a fortunate draw to reach the quarterfinals, but you can only go so far before running into a major world power. Aleksandr Bogomoev awaited.

Aleksandr Bogomoev (Russia)

Baku Golden Grand Prix Yasar Dogu Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix Waclaw Ziolkowski Memorial Alans International Tournament European Games
Baku Golden Grand Prix Yasar Dogu Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix Waclaw Ziolkowski Memorial Alans International Tournament European Games
2011 Silver 2012 Gold 2013 Silver 2014 Gold 2018 Bronze 2015 Gold
2012 Bronze 2015 Gold
2015 Bronze 2016 Gold
2018 Bronze

To reach the quarterfinals, Bogomoev teched the Georgian Beka Lomtadze, a future silver medalist at the 2016 non-Olympic World Championships.

In one of the most shocking results of the tournament, Yowlys Bonne laid waste to the Russian hammer, finishing him off for a 10-0 technical fall. It was a slightly uncharacteristic performance for Bonne, he had to tweak his style to open up opportunities. Russians are typically conservative, relying on excellent defense and positioning to draw out extended shots from their opponents and punishing them with crisp reattacks. Bonne pushed Bogomoev consistently, waiting on his opponent to touch his legs and open up the big move counters.

If you’re new to wrestling, what you’ll quickly find is that the world is good. The world’s “oldest and greatest” sport has deep roots in a number of cultures who have perfected their craft and national styles over centuries. Many know that Russia is the world’s greatest wrestling power, but after the break up of the Soviet Union, ex-Soviet states became contending giants in their own right. That, along with “transfers” between nations, have made it an incredible feat to medal at a World or Olympic tournament.

For example, in the quarterfinals you have a red-hot Russian, then in the semifinals you may encounter a pound-for-pound tier talent from Azerbaijan like Haji Aliyev.

Haji Aliyev (Azerbaijan)

Baku Golden Grand Prix Yasar Dogu Dan Kolov-Nikita Petrov European Championship European Games World Championship Olympic Games
Baku Golden Grand Prix Yasar Dogu Dan Kolov-Nikita Petrov European Championship European Games World Championship Olympic Games
2012 Gold 2013 Bronze 2014 Gold 2014 Gold 2015 Bronze 2014 Gold 2016 Bronze
2013 Silver 2016 Bronze 2019 Gold 2015 Gold
2014 Gold 2018 Gold 2017 Gold
2015 Gold 2019 Gold

Aliyev’s balanced approach and aggressive handfighting were not friendly to Yowlys Bonne’s style. Clean entries were not available from the outside, and Aliyev always made sure to take Bonne out of position before attacking legs himself in any committed fashion. Aliyev also tends to shoot head outside on the swing single, taking him away from Bonne’s usual elevator counter. Aliyev navigated the dangerous Cuban’s style for a 4-2 victory.

Aliyev would go on to defeat 2013 World bronze medalist Masoud Esmailpour for gold.

In international wrestling, there is no “double elimination” in the fashion American college fans are used to. You are not automatically guaranteed a chance to fight back through a consolation bracket if you lose. Instead, a “repechage” system is used. Repechage is fairly simple, if the wrestler that beats you does not make the finals, you’re out. UWW has moved to a “double bronze” approach, the wrestlers that lost to “Finalist A” before the semifinals will wrestle for a chance at the bronze match, where they will face the wrestler that lost to Finalist A in the semifinal. The wrestlers who lost to Finalist B will go through the same process. It is this very system that gave us Jordan Burroughs vs. Frank Chamizo in the same bronze medal match at the 2018 World Championship.

Because Bonne lost in the semifinals, he was automatically placed in the bronze medal match against Andrei Perpelita. Perpelita had lost to Haji Aliyev by technical fall in the quarterfinals. Perpelita himself defeated America’s representative Jimmy Kennedy in the round prior.

Andrei Perpelita (Moldova)

European Championship Waclaw Ziolkowski Memorial World Championship
European Championship Waclaw Ziolkowski Memorial World Championship
2010 Bronze 2017 Silver 2014 5th
2014 Bronze
2017 Bronze

The incredibly powerful and aggressive handfighter Perpelita proved to be a unique challenge for Bonne, who could not get to his usual attacks early on.

Eventually, Bonne was able to shoot into close quarters and time Perpelita’s underhook to get to his high C for a quick finish. From there, Perpelita took the bait, attacking Bonne’s “exposed” leg, opening himself up for a cradle. Bonne blew the match wide open, winning bronze for his first World medal performance.

2015 World Wrestling Championship

If you ask most American fans to tell you about the international scene, the word “corruption” will inevitably come up. Beyond in-match results, there are definitely issues with the world’s governing body. For example, this guy still has his job.

While this is sometimes a bit overblown, it’s hard not to notice some suspiciously convenient officiating and other signs of favoritism here and there. Russia, perhaps justifiably, often gets the worst of these accusations. One of the most undeniable cases is that of Viktor Lebedev. Please take a look at the concerning circumstances under which he made the 2016 Olympic team. The most prevalent theory is that Lebedev’s family has serious financial power, and that somehow has come into play in his wrestling career.

Viktor Lebedev (Russia)

Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix Baku Golden Grand Prix Waclaw Ziolkowski Memorial Yasar Dogu European Championship European Games World Championship
Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix Baku Golden Grand Prix Waclaw Ziolkowski Memorial Yasar Dogu European Championship European Games World Championship
2009 Silver 2010 Bronze 2014 Bronze 2015 Bronze 2010 Bronze 2015 Gold 2009 Bronze
2015 Gold 2010 Gold
2016 Bronze 2011 Gold
2015 Bronze

We may never know what exactly has gone on behind the scenes for Viktor Lebedev, but many can see with their own eyes how his 2015 World Championship match with Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez was officiated.

After taking next to zero attacks, while Bonne pressed on, it was Bonne who was continuously hit with passivity calls. The Cuban wrestler was put on the shot clock twice after clearly demonstrating himself to be the aggressor. Those passivity points would make the difference, Bonne lost on criteria. By the end of the match, the crowd was chanting “Cuba!” Watch for yourself.

Lebedev then lost to Iran’s Hassan Rahimi, eliminating Bonne from the tournament.

2016 Olympic Games

Bonne’s preferred class of 61 kg (134.5 pounds) is considered a non-Olympic weight. For clarity, at the World Championships, the weights have typically been 57, 61, 65, 70, 74, 86, 97, 125. Recently, 79 and 92 kg weight classes have been added. It was about time, 74-86 is a difference of 26 pounds, 86 to 97 is 24 pounds. For years, qualified candidates were missing out on making their teams because they were either too big or too small for the closest weight class.

Despite this wonderful change at the World level, the Olympic weights have not budged. Even in 2020, you will see just 57, 65, 74, 86, 97 and 125 kg classes. This is one of the main factors that makes the Olympic Games generally tougher than the World Championships, the talent condenses into the remaining weights.

So, in 2016, Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez made the choice to deplete himself and wrestle at 57 kg, a difference of nearly 10 pounds.

In the qualification round Bonne knocked off Uzbekistan’s Abbos Rakhmonov, an experienced, but outgunned competitor. It was a dominating 10-0 technical fall.

Next up was Adama Diatta, not to be confused with a previous opponent from Senegal, Jean Bernard Diatta.

Adama Diatta qualified for the Olympic Games in 2008, and boasts eight African Championship gold medals. The lanky Senegalese wrestler did well to stifle many of Bonne’s preferred attacks, even countering in spots.

While pushed, Bonne moved on with a 7-4 victory.

Unfortunately for Bonne, his quarterfinal opponent was having the tournament of his life. Japan’s young Rei Higuchi was relatively unheralded coming into Rio. He had no major senior level medals until that year when he won the tough Ziolkowski tournament over lightweight staple and two-time World medalist Vladimir Dubov.

Rei Higuchi (Japan)

Waclaw Ziolkowski Memorial Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix Asian Championship U23 World Championship Olympic Games
Waclaw Ziolkowski Memorial Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix Asian Championship U23 World Championship Olympic Games
2016 Gold 2017 Bronze 2017 Bronze 2018 Gold 2016 Silver

While Higuchi’s speed was certainly a factor, his style presented similar problems as Haji Aliyev’s back in 2014. He could get to swing singles from space and attack Bonne from safe angles without risking counters going underneath the explosive Cuban.

Ultimately exchanges were won by Higuchi’s ability to scramble and keep solid positions long enough to find clean finishes on his shots. Bonne adjusted, keeping Higuchi’s head inside and underneath him and getting to his elevator on a subsequent attack. In the end, Higuchi reliably got to his shots and outhustled Bonne, 8-4. Even though Bonne is a “big move” wrestler, he doesn’t have the best style to come back from a deficit, given that he is largely counter-focused.

Higuchi faced Iran’s Hassan Rahimi in the Olympic semifinals. Rahimi had ended Bonne’s tournament in 2015 with a semifinal win, but this time Higuchi prevailed, sending Rahimi to the bronze match and pulling Yowlys Bonne back into repechage.

While Higuchi did not win Olympic gold, he is still in the hunt for his first senior title. Higuchi is now up at 65 kg, where he knocked off 2018 World champion Takuto Otoguro in the Japan Championship. Higuchi subsequently lost to Otoguro in their 2019 World team wrestle-off, but it shows while under the radar, Higuchi is a threat.

To reach the bronze match, Bonne faced a credentialed North Korean, Kyong-Il Yang.

Kyong-Il Yang (North Korea)

Asian Championship Asian Games World Championship Olympic Games
Asian Championship Asian Games World Championship Olympic Games
2009 Silver 2010 Silver 2009 Gold 2012 Bronze
2010 Bronze 2014 Gold
2011 Gold
2013 Silver

Yowlys Bonne seemed unconcerned by Yang’s accomplishments, disposing of him by 11-1 technical fall early in the second period in vintage Bonne fashion.

They had shared brackets several times at the highest level, but now it was finally time for Bonne and Hassan Rahimi to meet.

This is the man who ended his 2015 World tournament, and the only thing between him Olympic bronze.

Hassan Rahimi (Iran)

Junior World Championship Asian Championship World Championship Olympic Games
Junior World Championship Asian Championship World Championship Olympic Games
2008 Silver 2009 Bronze 2011 Bronze 2016 Bronze
2009 Gold 2012 Gold 2013 Gold
2014 Bronze
2015 Silver

As you can see from the medal table, things did not go Bonne’s way.

The strong underhooks of Rahimi kept Bonne predictably pressuring forward, playing right into Rahimi’s single leg setups. The key for Rahimi seemed to be shelving the leg of Bonne on his hip for his single leg finishes. This technical adjustment kept Bonne away from his elevators and allowed Rahimi to send Bonne straight to his back numerous times.

In hindsight, Rei Higuchi had an incredible tournament, defeating fantastic and credentialed wrestlers in Kyong-Il Yang, Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez and Hassan Rahimi.

This should shed some light on the incredible form that Georgia’s 2016 Olympic champion Vladimer Khinchegashvili was in. “King Vlad” has been in the mix at major tournaments since then, but we have not seen that level of performance from him again. He defeated World silver medalist Nurislam Sanayev, Haji Aliyev, Vladimir Dubov and Rei Higuchi to win Olympic gold.

2017 World Wrestling Championship

Returning to 61 kg, Bonne got right back to work, representing Cuba at the 2017 World tournament. While Bonne hit a consistently tough lineup of opponents, he was not faced with a horrendously stacked type of lineup we’d seen in past brackets.

In the qualification round, Bonne hit China’s Minghu Liu, a relatively unestablished talent at the time. Liu held Bonne to a conservative 3-0 win. Bonne scored early and, perhaps disliking what he felt from the physicality of Liu, relied on his defense to get by.

After this, Liu would win bronze at the 2018 U23 World Championship, then silver at the senior level at the 2019 Asian Championship.

Next up in the 1/8 finals was the Iranian, Behnam Ehsanpour.

Behnam Ehsanpoor (Iran)

Junior World Championship Ali Aliev Tournament Baku Golden Grand Prix Asian Championship
Junior World Championship Ali Aliev Tournament Baku Golden Grand Prix Asian Championship
2012 Gold 2014 Bronze 2012 Gold 2015 Silver
2016 Silver
2017 Gold
2019 Gold

Bonne’s performance against Ehsanpoor holds many similarities to his 2014 match against Bogomoev. Bonne took frequent shots off the pressure of the Iranian and felt out his reactions, later capitalizing on the motion of his opponent.

It’s worth mentioning that Yowlys Bonne’s energy differs from match to match. Sometimes he’s rather slow of foot, and opponents can snatch up ankles or get to their attacks by simply out-speeding the Cuban. In other matches, his reactive defense is instantaneous, he’s prepared for what’s coming and has cooked up a nasty counter or agile scrambling situation. This could be mental, physical, or a factor of the matchups he’s in. It’s hard to say, but there is a noticeable difference from match to match.

Against Ehsanpoor, he looked sharp, winning 7-2.

He would need to be on his A-game, because in the quarterfinals awaited a continental beast.

Meet a relatively unknown killer, Daulet Niyazbekov.

Daulet Niyazbekov (Kazakhstan)

Baku Golden Grand Prix Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix Ali Aliev Tournament Waclaw Ziolkowski Memorial Intercontinental Cup Yasar Dogu Asian Championship World Championship
Baku Golden Grand Prix Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix Ali Aliev Tournament Waclaw Ziolkowski Memorial Intercontinental Cup Yasar Dogu Asian Championship World Championship
2015 Bronze 2013 Bronze 2012 Bronze 2016 Gold 2016 Silver 2018 Bronze 2013 Bronze 2011 Bronze
2019 Bronze 2014 Bronze
2015 Gold
2016 Gold
2017 Bronze
2018 Gold

Even though Niyazbekov hasn’t made the podium since his 2011 World bronze performance, he has been a consistently tough draw for anyone in every tournament he’s entered. The Kazakh’s absurd strength lends itself to a draining underhook and front headlock game that can grind down the most dynamic wrestlers.

An impressive athlete himself, Yowlys Bonne could not resist being moved around the mat by Niyazbekov.

Watch Bonne dig deep and chain together all of his signature attacks to pull off an incredible 10-8 win over a 61 kg dark horse.

In par terre, Bonne hit his bread and butter, baiting the leg and looking for the crotch lift once his opponent grabbed hold. Early and often, Bonne found Niyazbekov’s head within range, hitting his trusty cradle. To seal off the match, Bonne was able to switch off the cradle back to the crotch lift for his final exposure.

It was an inspiring performance from both wrestlers, there’s no doubt they left a lot on the mat.

Perhaps that explains Bonne’s bizarrely apathetic performance against Haji Aliyev in the semifinals.

I can neither confirm nor deny the idea the Cuban wrestlers are paid to take dives in big matches. I’ve certainly heard stories, but it’s impossible to prove it. Typically those hypothetical matches directly or indirectly influence Russia’s tournament, but Aliyev represents Azerbaijan, and the Russian representative was a non-factor at that point.

In the words of international wrestling expert Seth Petarra, “Azerbaijan doesn’t have ‘dive’ money.”

The semifinal loss put Bonne directly in the bronze match where he faced Japan’s Rinya Nakamura. Nakamura was a Cadet World bronze medalist in 2011, but didn’t have much to show for himself otherwise. In this particular tournament, he knocked off our old friend Andrei Perpelita before losing to Haji Aliyev. Nakamura would go on to win 2018 U23 World gold.

But for now, he was cannon fodder for a rejuvenated Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez. A clinical 10-0 technical fall gave Bonne 2017 World bronze. It was the signature Bonne cradle that opened up multiple exposures for the win.

2018 World Wrestling Championship

To be honest, I thought Bonne looked terrible.

After being seeded high, Bonne advanced straight to the 1/8 finals against Ivan Guidea, a two-time gold medalist at the ranking series Dan Kolov-Nikita Petrov tournament, as well as a two-time European Championship bronze medalist.

Guidea was not uncredentialed by any means, but for the returning World medalist, he should not have presented the challenge he did.

While Bonne had bright spots early, he struggled immensely to get pop on his crotch lifts and ended up slumping back to the mat unsuccessfully after a few attempts. Bonne clearly faded, holding on for a 4-2 win.

In the quarterfinals he faced a fresh-faced Iranian, Mohammadbagher Yakhkeshi. Yakhkeshi was hot off a gold medal performance at the 2018 Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix, historically one of the world’s top three toughest tournaments.

Early on Bonne found his way around the stiff underhooking game of Yakhkeshi and hit his usual attacks and counters to lead 5-0 after the first period. But once again, he faded hard.

The match slipped away, Yakhkeshi scored one pushout after another.

Prepare for one of the goofiest comebacks you’ve ever seen.

Yakhkeshi was up 8-6, Bonne was beyond exhausted. Nearly dead to rights defending a single leg, Bonne dove underneath Yakhkeshi for a single of his own. Completely flat on his stomach, with only 20 seconds left, things looked hopeless.

Still completely extended and flat, Bonne let go of the single and locked his hands around the lower back of Yakhkeshi. With only 10 seconds left, Bonne based up enough to put weight on one foot. He wobbled, but powered up to his knees, and then, with 5 seconds left, to his feet.

With three seconds on the clock, Bonne inside tripped off his bodylock and planted Yakhkeshi flat on his back. Completely spent and with the match now out of reach, the Iranian conceded the pin.

Insanity. Don’t let anyone tell you Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez doesn’t have heart.

In the semifinals, he met the gritty American, “Prison Strength” Joe Colon.

A 2014 NCAA 3rd place finisher, Colon was fresh off a technical fall over two-time World medalist Vladimir Dubov. That year Colon had broken through on the international stage, taking the bronze medal at the Ziolkowski tournament. Even more impressively, Colon was USA’s alternate, he had lost to a now injured Nahshon Garrett at Final X.

Unfortunately for Joe Colon, an underhook specialist, Bonne had wrestled enough international opponents with that same style that he was more than prepared to build a comfortable lead on the American before things got hairy.

A 9-4 victory. Colon would go on to make his nation proud with a bronze medal finish, defeating Yakhkeshi.

2018 World Championship Finals

Bonne’s draw had been incredible thus far, never before had he had a less intimidating path to the finals, on paper at the very least.

But next to Haji Aliyev and Hassan Rahimi, Bonne was set to face perhaps the most dangerous opponent of his career.

Gadzhimurad Rashidov dispatched World bronze medalist Tumenbileg 2-1 and non-Olympic World silver medalist Beka Lomtadze 10-0 to reach the finals.

Gadzhimurad Rashidov (Russia)

Ali Aliev Tournament Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix Dan Kolov-Nikita Petrov Tournament Waclaw Ziolkowski Memorial U23 European Championship European Championship World Championship
Ali Aliev Tournament Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix Dan Kolov-Nikita Petrov Tournament Waclaw Ziolkowski Memorial U23 European Championship European Championship World Championship
2012 Bronze 2016 Bronze 2018 Gold 2018 Gold 2017 Gold 2016 Gold 2017 Silver
2017 Silver 2018 Gold 2018 Silver
2018 Gold
2019 Bronze

Like many Russians, Rashidov has impeccable positioning, any attack you take is an opportunity for him to counter with deadly efficiency. While he’s incredibly slick from collar ties, Rashidov isn’t afraid to lean on athletic, sprinting flurries of offense to get to his ideal scoring positions.

In one way, however, his style did favor Yowlys Bonne. He was willing to feel out the match and wrestle at a slower pace, a godsend for a clearly limited Bonne.

By the end of a fairly tepid first period, Bonne’s impressive balance and the threat of his counters kept things close, Rashidov lead by just two points. As the second ticked down leading to the break, Bonne unleashed the fireman’s carry heard ‘round the world, a five-point move.

But he still had a full period to fend off a surging Russian. In one of the most anxiety-provoking periods of wrestling of all time, Bonne survived eye pokes, near-pushouts and short offense from Rashidov, holding on just enough to maintain an edge on criteria. At one point, Bonne drops to his butt to elevator counter, fails, and pops back to his feet without giving up exposure.

In one of the gutsiest performances of all time, Yowlys Bonne cemented his status as an international hero and won gold.

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