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Chris Bono, Brent Metcalf talk up their upcoming bout at Agon Wrestling II

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The Iowa-Iowa State rivalry will head north to Michigan when Chris Bono, 1996 NCAA champ for the Cyclones, will wrestle Brent Metcalf, Hawkeye two-time NCAA titlewinner, at the Agon Wrestling II event in Flint, Mich. Dec. 22.

Bono and Metcalf provided a preview of that rivalry during an Agon II media conference call Monday.

Although the two never wrestled each other in college, Bono was an assistant coach for Iowa State who coached against Metcalf when he wrestled for Iowa. Both are physical specimens, experienced in both collegiate folkstyle as well as freestyle, who have earned a reputation as hard-charging, never-say-die competitors on the mat. Yet trash-talk was not part of the conversation Monday.

“Let’s see who can go the hardest and shake hands afterwards,” said Bono, a three-time All-American for the Cyclones.

“I am trying to dominate and score a lot of points in practice,” added Bono, now head coach at South Dakota State University. “My guys are excited to see me wrestle. This is a big deal for my athletes and for me.”

From Metcalf’s comments, it would seem that scheduling an appearance at the Agon II event in his native Michigan was something of a challenge… a challenge he accepted.

“No slack at all for taking this match,” said Metcalf, now on the coaching staff at Iowa. “No time is a good time for me to get a match in.” Yet the former Hawkeye, who won titles in 2008 and 2010, added, “It was easy for me to get involved with a guy like Ben Askren” referring to the two-time University of Missouri champ who is involved in the Agon Wrestling organization, and competed at Agon’s first event in Las Vegas in October.

Agon Wrestling II, slated for Sunday, Dec. 22 at Perani Arena & Event Center in Flint, Mich., will feature four matches featuring former top college wrestlers. In addition to Bono vs. Metcalf, other bouts scheduled include Max Askren vs. Jon Reader, Cam Simaz vs. Ben Bennett, and Andy Simmons vs. Kellen Russell.

The match-ups are calculated to appeal to the home crowd… while catching the attention of wrestling fans anywhere. In addition to Metcalf, Reader, Simaz, Bennett, and Simmons are originally from Michigan; Simmons wrestled at Michigan State, while Russell competed at University of Michigan.

For fans unable to make it to Flint, Agon Wrestling II will be webcast live for free at the organization’s website..

Agon Wrestling II will cap off an entire day of wrestling, including NUWAY Mat Mayhem youth wrestling tournament, along with a dual between perennial Michigan prep powers, Lowell and Davison high schools. (Davison is Metcalf’s alma mater.)

“The Agon Wrestling Championships were formed in 2013 by a consortium of former Division I wrestlers that recognized the tragic implications of the International Olympic Committee’s decision to remove wrestling from the core program of the Olympic Games,” according to a press statement from the organization. “As a result the Agon Wrestling Championships were created to bring a twenty-first century model to the world’s oldest sport.”

The Agon II event in Flint follows on the heels of the inaugural Agon Wrestling event in Las Vegas on Oct. 27. At Agon Wrestling I: The Revolution, 2010 Iowa mat champ Jay Borschel defeated Aaron Simpson, former All-American for Arizona State… Jordan Oliver, a two-time NCAA champ from Oklahoma State, shut out former Ohio State All-American Lance Palmer… Stephen Abas, a three-time NCAA champ for Fresno State a decade ago, edged four-time Michigan State All-American Nick Simmons… and, in the main event, Ben Askren dominated two-time Penn State champ Quentin Wright.

At the first event, matches were wrestled following unique rules that drew heavily from collegiate folkstyle. One significant difference: the Agon bouts were nine minutes (three equal three-minute periods) instead of seven minutes in college. Agon I had the look of a big-time MMA event, from the promotional posters to the weigh-in ceremonies, pre-event video interviews, and, yes, ring girls.

Bono: Been there before? In 2005, Chris Bono participated in Real Pro Wrestling, a paid form of amateur wrestling featuring former college wrestlers, shown on cable TV. The venture lasted only one season. For photos and info, visit the unofficial Real Pro Wrestling Fans Yahoo group.

About the photo: In what looks like a big-time MMA poster, Brent Metcalf and Chris Bono pose bare-chested for a promotional poster for Agon Wrestling II event.

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