Greatest Greco-Roman wrestlers of all time

This is a ranking of the best wrestlers in the world in Greco-Roman wrestling of all time. The athletes are ranked according to their World Championship and Olympic Games titles. If the number is the same, silver and bronze medals are also considered. Wrestlers who are still active and who can theoretically move up in the ranking, their names are highlighted in red. In 2022, Rıza Kayaalp is a newcomer to the ranking list. By adding another world title to his collection, he directly takes sixth place. (last updated: 2022)

1. Aleksandr Karelin

Russian, representing Soviet Union and Russia

12 world level titles

1988 Olympic champion

1989 world champion

1990 world champion

1991 world champion

1992 Olympic champion

1993 world champion

1994 world champion

1995 world champion

1996 Olympic champion

1997 world champion

1998 world champion

1999 world champion

Karelins record in his wrestling career is 887 wins and two losses.

2. Mijaín López

Cuban, representing Cuba

9 world level titles

2005 world champion

2007 world champion

2008 Olympic champion

2009 world champion

2010 world champion

2012 Olympic champion

2014 world champion

2016 Olympic champion

2020 Olympic champion

López is the only wrestler in the world to have won the Olympic gold medal four times.

3. Valery Rezantsev

Russian, representing Soviet Union

7 world level titles

1970 world champion

1971 world champion

1972 Olympic champion

1973 world champion

1974 world champion

1975 world champion

1976 Olympic champion

Rezantsev has not suffered a single defeat in all the international championships in which he has participated.

4. Hamid Sourian

Iranian, representing Iran

7 world level titles

2005 world champion

2006 world champion

2007 world champion

2009 world champion

2010 world champion

2012 Olympic champion

2014 world champion

Sourian is the first Iranian wrestler to win a gold medal in Greco-Roman style at the Olympic Games for Iran.

5. Nikolay Balboshin

Russian, representing Soviet Union

6 world level titles

1973 world champion

1974 world champion

1976 Olympic champion

1977 world champion

1978 world champion

1979 world champion

At the 1976 Olympics, Balboshin pinned all five of his opponents.

6. Rıza Kayaalp

Turkish, representing Turkey

5 world level titles

2011 world champion

2015 world champion

2017 world champion

2019 world champion

2022 world champion

By winning his eleventh title, Kayaalp became the second most decorated wrestler in European tournaments.

7. Armen Nazaryan

Armenian, representing Armenia and Bulgaria

5 world level titles

1996 Olympic champion

2000 Olympic champion

2002 world champion

2003 world champion

2005 world champion

Nasarjan’s son Edmond became European champion in 2020 at the age of 18.

8. Hamza Yerlikaya

Turkish, representing Turkey

5 world level titles

1993 world champion

1995 world champion

1996 Olympic champion

2000 Olympic champion

2005 world champion

In 1993, at the age of 17, Yerlikaya broke the record as the youngest world champion ever.

9. István Kozma

Hungarian, representing Hungary

5 world level titles

1962 world champion

1964 Olympic champion

1966 world champion

1967 world champion

1968 Olympic champion

Between 1959 and 1969 Kozma won 15 Hungarian championship titles, five of them in free style.

10. Roman Vlasov

Russian, representing Russia

5 world level titles

2011 world champion

2012 Olympic champion

2015 world champion

2016 Olympic champion

2021 world champion

Originally from Siberia, Vlasov is coached by, among others, Viktor Kuznetsov, who also trained the exceptional athlete Alexander Karelin.

11. Petar Kirov

Bulgarian, representing Bulgaria

5 world level titles

1968 Olympic champion

1970 world champion

1971 world champion

1972 Olympic champion

1974 world champion

Kirov started wrestling as a teenager and did not compete in an international championship until he was 24.

12. Roman Rurua

Georgian, representing Soviet Union

5 world level titles

1966 world champion

1967 world champion

1968 Olympic champion

1969 world champion

1970 world champion

Between 1966 and 1970, Rurua was unbeaten internationally.

13. Aleksandar Tomov

Bulgarian, representing Bulgaria

5 world level titles

1971 world champion

1973 world champion

1974 world champion

1975 world champion

1979 world champion

With his additional 3 silver medals at the Olympic Games and 5 European titles, he is considered one of the most successful super heavyweights.

14. Gogi Koguashvili

Georgian, representing Russia

5 world level titles

1993 world champion

1994 world champion

1997 world champion

1998 world champion

1999 world champion

Koguashvili participated in 4 Olympic Games.

15. Viktor Igumenov

Russian, representing Soviet Union

5 world level titles

1966 world champion

1967 world champion

1969 world champion

1970 world champion

1971 world champion

After his active career Igumenov was head coach of the Soviet Union. At the 1976 Olympics, his Greco-Roman team won 7 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze out of 10 medals.


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