662nd Annual Turkish Oil Wrestling Championships Held

Turkish Oil Wrestling Championships

Yusuf Can Zeybek claimed the title at the 662nd annual Kirkpinar, the championship of Turkish oil wrestling, Sunday in Edirne, Turkey. Probably the world's oldest continually held combat sports event, Kirkpinar features oil-covered wrestlers clad only in leather pants wrestling throughout the day in an open field. Matches are won by throwing a wrestler cleanly on to his side or turning a downed opponent on to his back.

In a grueling 49 minute final match, Zeybek faced Ismail Balaban who had defeated him in two recent, smaller wrestling competitions. A two-time Kirkpinar champion, Balaban had his best opportunity for victory at the 30 minute mark when he grabbed a single leg that forced Zeybek to stumble to the ground. But Zeybek landed on all fours and the match continued with Balaban riding him for the next minute trying to turn him over until Zeybek regained his feet.

With no clear cut winner after 40 minutes, the match went to overtime where any takedown could win. Finally, at the 49 minute mark, Balaban shot in on a double leg attempt. Zeybek defended leaving Balaban off balance as Zeybek immediately seized a single leg dumping his opponent down to capture the championship.

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