First the United States, now Canada, next up the world? Tony Ramos' 2014 world conquest tour continued rolling along last weekend with an impressive showing at the Canada Cup in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. The tournament was meant to be a tune-up for Ramos prior to September's World Championships, but he did more than just work out the kinks on his trip to the Great White North -- he kicked their roody poo(utine) candyasses on his way to another freestyle triumph.
Ramos claimed the gold medal at 57 kg (125.5 lbs) by crushing Dillon Williams of Team Impac via technical fall, 11-0. Only one of his four matches was close, a 2-1 victory over Germany's Marcel Ewald in the second round. He smashed Sam Jagas (of Brock Wrestling Club) via 10-0 technical fall in his first bout, then cruised past Canada's own Steven Takahashi in the semifinals, 6-1. As you can see from the video (embedded below), Tony had it all clicking in the finals match with Williams: he did a great job of getting to Williams' legs and finishing his shots when he got there, but he also used stout defense to fend off any attacks from Williams, too. This was the dominant, aggressive, point-scoring Tony that Iowa fans fell in love with during his storied career at Iowa.
Did you know that Tony Ramos is undefeated in 2014? 2013 was a pretty frustrating year for Ramos; his junior campaign at Iowa ended with close losses to Ohio State's Logan Stieber (with the NCAA Tournament loss being especially frustrating, given how close Ramos came to maybe kinda sorta pinning Stieber) and his senior campaign got off to a rocky start with a pair of losses in December, including a pinfall loss to UNI's Joe Colon in the finals of the Midlands Championships. As shocking as that defeat was, Ramos' response to stumbling there has been impeccable -- he simply hasn't lost a match since then. At all.
Tony went undefeated in the 2014 portion of his senior campaign, highlighted by a pair of tense, ugly wins over Wisconsin's Tyler Graff in the Big Ten and NCAA Tournament finals. He's kept that momentum rolling since the beginning of his freestyle campaign, too. Ramos proved many observers (including me) dead wrong at the United States World Team Trials, showing that he was not there just to get a taste for freestyle competition after several years focusing on folkstyle competition; he was there to win -- which is precisely what he did, winning the entire event at 57 KG and booking himself a spot on the U.S. team vying for gold in September. And now he's followed that impressive victory up with a thorough #BEATEMDOWN at the Canada Cup.
To be sure, the competition Ramos will face is going to ramp up considerably at the World Championships; the field at the Canada Cup was not exactly replete with world beaters (or world champions, for that matter). While the World Team Trials saw him face some strong competition, the World Championships are likely to be another order of magnitude beyond what Ramos has seen so far. But it's impossible to argue with the results he's been getting and he seems to be getting stronger and stronger with each match he has in freestyle. There's also no doubting his confidence and self-belief, two key attributes for any elite wrestler. Best of luck to Tony in Uzbekistan in September.
57 KG (125.5 LBS): TONY RAMOS -- GOLD MEDAL
W, TECH FALL (10-0) Sam Jagas
W, DEC (2-1) Marcel Ewald
W, DEC (6-1) Steven Takahashi
W, TECH FALL (11-0) Dillon Williams
* * *
Of course, Tony Ramos is far from the only current (or former) Iowa wrestler seeking to claim freestyle medals this summer. Former teammates Matt McDonough, Brent Metcalf, and Thomas Gilman will also be vying for international glory this summer. Here's a quick rundown of the events.
WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES
WHERE: Pecs, Hungary
WHEN: July 7-12, 2014
IOWA CONNECTION: Matt McDonough is representing the U.S. at 57 KG.
JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
WHERE: Zagreb, Croatia
WHEN: August 5-10, 2014
IOWA CONNECTION: Thomas Gilman is representing the U.S. at 55 KG.
WHERE: Tashkent, Uzbekistan
WHEN: September 8-14, 2014
IOWA CONNECTION: Ramos and Brent Metcalf are representing the U.S. at 57 KG and 65 KG, respectively.
(Big H/T to Ross at IAWrestle for his excellent coverage of Ramos' performance at the Canada Cup and especially for finding the video of his match in the finals. Be sure to make IAWrestle.com a regular destination to keep up with all things Iowa wrestling-related.)