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At Home In New Jersey, Jordan Burroughs Starts Push For One More World Title At Final X

by Lynn Rutherford

Jordan Burroughs reacts after defeating Chance Marsteller in the men's freestyle 76-kilogram match at the 2023 Beat the Streets Wrestling Benefit on June 8, 2022 in New York City.


This Saturday’s Final X, held at Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center, is a homecoming for Jordan Burroughs, who will grapple in his native state for the first time since his sophomore year at University of Nebraska.
“It’s very special,” Burroughs, now 34, told reporters earlier this week. “It’s been almost 15 years since I’ve had a chance to wrestle in Jersey. We’ve been close — we’ve been in New York City a ton — but we haven’t been home in Jersey for a long time.”
After a career that includes 2012 Olympic gold, six world titles and two NCAA crowns, it’s only fitting that Burroughs, born in Camden, New Jersey, will be on home turf when he squares off in a best-of-three freestyle series against Chance Marsteller at 79 kg.
The stakes are high. Winners on Saturday qualify for the world championships that take place Sept. 16-24 in Belgrade, Serbia. And, if wrestlers competed in an Olympic weight class, they also receive byes to the finals of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for the Olympic Games Paris 2024. (Winners in non-Olympic weight classes gain byes to the Olympic trial semifinals.)
For Burroughs, there is even more on the line: If he qualifies, he says Belgrade will be his final world championships.
Qualifying in his home state would only make it sweeter.
“Since I’ve been back, I’ve had the opportunity to train close to family, to be back with the people who have helped me grow and develop in this sport,” Burroughs, who wrestled to state, regional and national titles at New Jersey’s Winslow Township High School, said.
“I got a chance to go to the New Jersey state tournament,” he added. “I started a club in South Jersey. There are a lot of things that have started to ingrain (in) me and begin a level of influence in this area, so to be in Jersey, it will be an awesome opportunity for people to see me and have a chance to see me compete.”
Burroughs is the reigning world champion at 79 kg., having claimed gold in 2021 and 2022. Still, winning a berth on Team USA’s formidable worlds squad is not assured. Marsteller, a two-time NCAA champion for Lock Haven University, pushed Burroughs to the limit at Final X last year, winning the second bout before the two-time Olympian defeated him 5-0 in the decisive third contest.
“I feel like I always have something to prove,” Burroughs said. “I have another opportunity to do something really cool, and it’s going to be a battle, maybe an absolute war, but it’s something I’m ready for.”
A seventh world title would cement Burroughs’ legacy as the most decorated U.S. wrestler of all time, in terms of world titles. Currently, both he and Adeline Gray — who will also be in action on Saturday — hold six world crowns. But Burroughs isn’t competing in Newark with his legacy on his mind. 
“Right now, I’m working hard on keeping my body healthy and staying impactful in everything I do, but more so just beating Chance Marsteller,” he said. “Breaking down certain positions, staying fit, staying in shape, maintaining a certain weight. That’s what I’m focused on, the minutia of making this world team, and not my legacy.”
Burroughs vs. Marsteller is just one of 10 men’s freestyle matchups at Final X. The packed card also features a star-studded match-up at 97 kg.: 2016 Olympic champion Kyle Snyder, a three-time world champion, against J’den Cox, a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and a two-time world champion. The longtime rivals are each considered more than capable of winning a world title in Serbia.
Reigning Olympic champion Gable Steveson continues his return to freestyle competition at 125 kg. after a brief foray in the WWE. He faces off against the NCAA heavyweight champion Mason Parris of University of Michigan, while David Taylor, the Olympic champion at 86 kg., takes on up-and-comer Aaron Brooks.

(L-R) Jordan Burroughs competes against Chance Marsteller during the men's frestyle 76-kilogram match at the 2023 Beat the Streets Wrestling Benefit on June 8, 2022 in New York City.


Other Olympians in action will include Tom Gilman, reigning Olympic bronze medalist at 57 kg., and four-time world champion Kyle Dake, the reigning Olympic bronze medalist at 74 kg..
“There are so many exciting matches,” Burroughs said. “You know what’s scary is there’s almost like a changing of the guard that’s occurring in wrestling. Now, I don’t want to see that because I’m one of the old guard, and we want to stay as well-positioned as we possibly can. But I see the men’s freestyle card is incredible.”
Ten Greco-Roman matchups will be contested on Saturday, as will 10 women’s freestyle contests.
One of the women’s marquee names, 2016 Olympic champion Helen Maroulis, was scheduled to square off against Xochitl Mota-Pettis at 57 kg., but the three-time world champion and reigning world silver medalist was granted a delay for medical reasons.
Like Burroughs, the 31-year-old Maroulis sees many potential world and Olympic stars competing in Newark.
“I think you can start to see there is a younger generation now,” Maroulis said at a press conference prior to receiving her medical delay. “For the last maybe two Olympic cycles, it’s kind of been the same group. … It’s cool to see that, but I’m still hungry.”
Maroulis added that with current prize money opportunities and sponsorships available to wrestlers, it’s possible to sustain a career through multiple Olympic cycles.
“I think if you look at the Jordan Burroughs, the Snyders, myself, we have more opportunities to stay around and to be able to wrestle,” she said. “(In wrestling) when you are young you have certain advantages, and when you’re older you have certain advantages, that experience and wisdom that puts matches together in a different way than when you were younger.”
Other big names in action will including reigning Olympic bronze medalist Sarah Hildebrandt, competing at 50 kg.; reigning world champion Dominique Parrish at 53 kg.; Amit Elor, reigning world champion at 72 kg.; and Kayla Miracle, reigning world silver medalist at 62 kg.
For the second straight year, Final X will serve as the Beat the Streets New York Annual Benefit, including a star-studded post-event gala. Each year, the benefits raise more than $1 million — some 75 percent of BTS’ annual operating budget — to support youth wrestling programs in New York City.
“I’ve watched (BTS) grow and I’ve been doing clinics and worked closely with BTS in NYC, Cleveland, Baltimore, L.A., Detroit, Chicago and now Philadelphia, which is my home,” said Burroughs, who has taken part in 11 BTS benefits.
“Working with BTS has been a really cool experience for me, because I grew up in the suburbs, in a predominantly Black neighborhood. The great thing about it is I get to teach brown kids like me (about) how wrestling can change your life, develop your character and provide opportunities.”

Lynn Rutherford has covered five Olympic Games, including the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing for Based in New York, she is a freelance contributor to on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.