Troy, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Capital Region has seen it’s fair share of great wrestlers, but this weekend is different. Hudson Valley Community College is hosting a global affair: the Journeymen Wrestling World Classic.
“I think it’s an unbelievable feather in our cap to be able to bring the best people in the world in our game to here, right to our hometown,” said Journeymen Wrestling’s Frank Popolizio.
500 competitors from all over the world have come to the Capital Region to compete in this weekend’s World Classic tournament. It’s an event that’s been around for over a decade, making it’s return after COVID cancellations. It’s not an easy event to put together. “You have to deal with the visa process,” said Popolizio. “You have to deal with communication with the state department and the embassies and more importantly you have to get people willing to come here and we did that. We had 19 countries come here.”
Among those international athletes is Chigozie Ijeoma, representing the Bahamas, a sport not known for it’s wrestling. He’s looking to change that. “Just being around all these different people from different countries is amazing,” said Ijeoma. “I’d be a great pioneer for the Bahamas in wrestling because it’s pretty small back home. I wouldn’t be the first one to travel internationally but I’d be the first one to really go further because I want to go all the way. I’m all in, 100%.”
The tournament also features some of the best wrestlers in the United States, like Tennessee’s Cody Chittum. Touting a number one ranking in the country, Chittum has taken notice of the differing styles across the globe. “It’s really fascinating having a lot of international kids come in from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and all them, and having a different kind of feel,” said Chittum. “America, we’re really intense, and it’s almost like a gladiator sport while in other countries it’s more like an art.”
Of course the tournament also has it’s local flare, with competitors such as Burnt Hills’ Tyler Rossini “It gives, at least me personally, a chance to locally compete with people from all over the world and country where otherwise, especially the other country aspect, I wouldn’t even have a chance to do so,” said Rossini.
The competition wraps up on Sunday at HVCC, beginning at 9:00 AM.