J'Den Cox Shuts Down Bo Nickal To Win Final X, Team USA Spot at 92KG
Defending World Champion J'Den Cox won his Final X series over NCAA Champion and Hodge Trophy winner Bo Nickal to reclaim the world team spot at 92 kilograms. J'Den won 2 straight matches in their best-of-three series, without allowing Bo to score an offensive point. J'Den was able to score counter attacks and control the matches while Bo was only ever able mount significant offense once or twice a match. Cox is now the official representative of Team USA at the 2019 UWW World Championships in Nur-Sultan, where he will look to repeat his gold performance of 2018.
Learn the moves J'Den used at Final X from the man himself!
Early on, J'Den was mobile and constantly changing his angle and direction of attack, even changing levels to wrestle from his knees or from a downblock. Through both matches, he was really versitile in how he attacked, mixing in shots to both sides, underhooks, trips, and more. The result was Nickal always having to respect multiple attacks, slowing him down and forcing him into his more baseline offense (as opposed to the huge throws that electrified everyone during the NCAA season). Even from the tie ups, Bo couldn't get strong locks on the bigger J'Den (Bo ended up weighed about 5 kilos under the limit, which is really rare at this level).
Probably the single defining move of the series was a deep high crotch that Bo shot on J'Den, a move he's scored with at every level he has ever competed (including the senior world trials and US open), but J'Den's strong and deft hips were too much and Bo couldn't build up for any more control. Bo ended up only scoring on a shot clock point in the first match.
Now, J'Den stands as one of the returning world champions on the team, and so far he's the only world champion to get his spot back this year (with David Taylor out with injury and Kyle Dake yet to wrestle off). He has turned himself from the young college guy on the 2016 Olympic team to one o the team's leaders, and maybe our most reliable medal threat. In a non-Olympic weight the year before the Olympics, we expect impressive things from J'Den as he continues to establish himself among the all-time greats!