NEW YORK– J’den Cox, who won bronze at 86 kg the 2016 Olympics in Rio, will take on Princeton’s Patrick Brucki at the “Grapple at the Garden” Beat the Streets (BTS) benefit, May 6 at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. The marquee matchup is part of today’s announcement of five new matchups for the 10th annual event, completes the lineup of scheduled matches at 13.
Cox, a three-time NCAA Champion at Missouri (2014, 2016-17), has competed in two of the past three BTS events: 2018 and 2016, the year in which he burst onto the international wrestling scene and rode that success through the U.S. Olympic Trials and World Qualifier all the way to the bronze in Rio. Since winning his Olympic medal, Cox won a World bronze medal in 2017 and became a World champion in 2018. In his three years on the international scene, Cox has won a World or Olympic medal all three times.
Brucki completed his sophomore season last month 33-3 at Princeton, becoming the 11th Tiger to gain All-America status and placing fourth at 197 lbs. in the NCAA Championships. A former Illinois state high school champion, the Orland Park native ranked as high as No. 3 this year and went 10-1 against ranked competition before the NCAA Championships.
“We are excited that a great champion like J’den Cox will be returning to Beat the Streets as a featured match on our already amazing card,” said Brendan Buckley, Beat the Streets Inc Executive Director. “And we couldn’t be more pleased with the rest of the newly announced matches that really make the evening an unbelievable experience for everyone.”
The other matches announced today include:
• Nathan Tomasello vs. Jack Mueller, 57 kg
• Jordan Oliver vs. Joseph McKenna, 65 kg
• David Taylor vs. Drew Foster, 86 kg
• Nick Gwiazdowski vs. Derek White, 125 kg
Taylor, a 2018 World champion, will battle 2019 NCAA champion Foster from Northern Iowa. Gwiazdowski, a two-time World bronze medalist, faces 2019 NCAA runner-up Derek White of Oklahoma State. Oliver and McKenna, top Olympic hopefuls at their weight class, have both won age-group World freestyle medals for Team USA. Tomasello, a past NCAA champion for Ohio State and Mueller, a 2019 NCAA runner-up for Virginia, also have extensive freestyle achievements.
The five matchups enhance an already impressive slate that includes previously announced featured bouts between 2012 Gold Medalist Jordan Burroughs and 2008 Olympian Ben Askren; 2016 Gold Medalist Kyle Snyder vs. Canada’s Nishan Randhawa; two-time National Champion Yianni Diakomahlis (Rochester, N.Y.) vs. Bajrang Punia (India); a match between current NCAA champion Nick Suriano (Paramus, N.J. / Rutgers Univ.) and 2018 World bronze medalist Joe Colon (Clear Lake, Iowa / Univ. of Northern Iowa); women’s bouts between 2018 World Silver Medalist Sarah Hildebrandt (Granger, Ind.) and Canada’s Dana Weicker, and 2018 Senior World Championships Bronze Medalist Mallory Velte (Sacramento, Calif.) vs. Linda Morais, also of Canada; an all-New Jersey matchup between James Green (Willingboro) and Anthony Ashnault (South Plainfield); and a battle of local State Champions in Jo Jo Aragona (Pope John XXIII HS/New Jersey) vs. Adam Busiello (Eastport-South Manor HS/New York).
The full list of matches and weight classes announced to date is available below; the order is still to be determined. “Grapple at the Garden” supports Beat the Streets (www.btsny.org), the largest grassroots inner city wrestling program in the United States, serving as both a fundraiser for the organization and to celebrate its athletes as they compete on the biggest stage in the center of the world.
Tickets for the evening’s action are available now via TicketMaster, priced starting at $30 at https://www.ticketmaster.com/event/3B005668AA091B69. A variety of donation packages which include “Grapple in the Garden” tickets are also available at https://www.btsny.org/btsevents or by emailing email@example.com, beginning at $1000. Doors open on May 6 at 5:30 p.m., with the main event starting at 6 p.m.
For the fifth straight year, FloSports will provide live and on-demand coverage on FloWrestling.com.
Beat the Streets Benefit competitions, which began in 2010, have since become a major showcase of the best of international wrestling. This unique and electrifying annual event has helped Beat the Streets raise millions of dollars to support local youth wrestling programs which empower young people in New York City.
The first Beat the Streets Benefit was held on the U.S.S. Intrepid, an aircraft carrier docked on the west side of Manhattan. Since then, the benefit has taken place at other notable New York City spots like Grand Central Station and Times Square. Team USA has faced off against teams from around the world including Japan, Cuba, Russia and Iran. Last year, the competition was hosted at the new Pier 17 in the Seaport District and included the highly anticipated Burroughs vs. Frank Chamizo match.
New York City’s Madison Square Garden is one of the most famous sporting and entertainment venues in the world. The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden is an impressive venue with the capacity to seat over 5,000. The theater has hosted notable wrestling events including the 1998 Goodwill Games wrestling competition and the 2017 Grapple at the Garden college wrestling event.
About Beat the Streets
The mission of Beat the Streets is to develop the full potential of the urban youth and to strengthen the culture of New York City wrestling. BTS works directly with the New York City Department of Education in a public-private partnership to bring the life changing sport of wrestling to over 3,000 New York City student-athletes to help them achieve their personal and athletic goals. Through the operation of wrestling programs in middle and high schools in the five boroughs, BTS and the DOE provide a safe, positive atmosphere in which disadvantaged and at-risk youth can learn the essential life lessons of grit, personal responsibility and teamwork, physical fitness and nutrition, and life-long learning. The goal of fostering strong, well-rounded student-athletes is delivered through coaching, after-school programs, life skills workshops, and summer camps. More information can be found at www.btsny.org.
About USA Wrestling
USA Wrestling is the National Governing Body for the Sport of Wrestling in the United States and, as such, is its representative to the United States Olympic Committee and United World Wrestling, the international wrestling federation. Simply, USA Wrestling is the central organization that coordinates amateur wrestling programs in the nation and works to create interest and participation in these programs. It has over 230,000 members across the nation, boys and girls, men and women of all ages, representing all levels of the sport. Its president is Bruce Baumgartner, and its Executive Director is Rich Bender. More information can be found at TheMat.com.
Beat the Streets Wrestling™ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. If you would like to support our mission to improve the lives and futures of New York City public school students by giving them the opportunity to wrestle, please click the donate button below: