Richard Figueroa III made his hometown of Selma proud as he placed second at the 2018 Cadet Freestyle World Championships at 48 kg in Zagreb, Croatia. Figueroa was all business on his debut at the World Championships as he earned a 54-second fall over his first-round opponent Xiaolong Ye (China), before disposing of a dangerous individual in Valerii Androsov (Russia) 10-0.
In the semifinal round, Figueroa had his only match that lasted the full four minutes, as he outlasted Mykyta Abramov (Ukraine) 10-4 to advance to the finals and attempt to win a gold medal for the United States in three consecutive years as Kurt McHenry was a Cadet World Champion in 2016 and 2017 at 46 kg.
Figueroa’s finals opponent was Alihasan Amirli of Azerbaijan, a 2017 Cadet World champion at 42 kg. Figueroa took a 1-0-point advantage on the match, as Amirli was put on the shot clock but was not able to score before the break.
In the second period, Figueroa was caught by Amirli with a feet-to-back takedown for a 4-1 lead with a minute left on the match. Attempting to come back on the match and get Amirli to his back, Figueroa went for a throw but ended on his back to give two more additional points to Amiril and lose a 6-1 match.
Figueroa became the third Selma grappler to earn a World Championships medal as his sister Gracie Figueroa, and Alleida Martinez both place in the international stage in previous years.