The men's freestyle category is set to feature nine of ten defending champions returning ©UWW

The European Wrestling Championships is set to start tomorrow in Croatia's capital Zagreb, with continental titles up for grabs prior to the start of the Paris 2024 wrestling qualification period later this year.

Of the ten champions in 2022, nine will be returning in the men's freestyle categories to defend their titles.

In the 61 kilogram event, Zelimkhan Abakarov of Albania will be competing in his first competition since the World Cup in December.

Facing him will be defending champion Arsen Harutyunyan of Armenia and 57kg champion Vladimir Egorov of North Macedonia.

Turkey's Taha Akgül, who will be looking to win his tenth European Championship title, is set to compete against Geno Petriashvili of Georgia, whom he defeated in the final last year in the 125kg category.

Iszmail Muszukajev of Hungary will be looking to defend his 65kg title, as he goes up against Haji Aliyev of Azerbaijan, who faced him in the finals last year.

Slovakia's Tajmuraz Salkazanov, winner of the 74kg title for the last two years, will be looking to add to his collection.

In the women's freestyle, eight champions are set to make their return.

Yasemin Adar won four European titles consecutively from 2016 to 2019 ©UWW
Yasemin Adar won four European titles consecutively from 2016 to 2019 ©UWW

Turkey's Yasemin Adar will be headlining the returning champions, having claimed her fifth European title last year in the 76kg category.

Her compatriot Evin Demirhan will also be defending her title in the 50kg.

Sweden's Emma Malmgren will be looking to defend her title for the third consecutive time in the 53kg category.

Irina Rîngaci will also aim for her third straight European Championship as the Moldovan competes in the 68kg event.

Her teammate Anastasia Nichita will be competing in the 59kg category, as she looks to defend her title and achieve her third ever gold.

Also returning to defend their titles are Andreea Ana of Romania at 55kg, Alina Hrushyna of Ukraine at 57kg and fellow Ukrainian Tetiana Rizhko at 65kg.

In the Greco-Roman, all ten of the competitors who won titles last year will be looking to defend their honours.

Azerbaijan's Eldaniz Azizli is set to make a return to defend his 55kg title.

Riza Kayaalp is looking for his 12th European title, which would tie the all-time record ©UWW
Riza Kayaalp is looking for his 12th European title, which would tie the all-time record ©UWW

Turkey's Kerem Kamal will be defending his Championship win in the 60kg from last year.

In the 63kg, Georgia's Leri Abuladze, the world's number one ranked wrestler, will be looking to retain his title.

Robert Attilas Fritsch of Hungary will be defending his title in the 72kg where he could potentially face world champion Ali Arsalan of Serbia.

Azerbaijan's Rafiq Hüseynov is set to defend his title in the 82kg category, while Denmark's Turpal Ali Bisultanov will be looking to take care of business once again in the 87kg.

Kiril Milov of Bulgaria and Artur Aleksayan of Armenia could face one another once again, as Milov, who won last year's European Championship, lost the world final to Aleksayan.

Rıza Kayaalp of Turkey will be looking for his 12th European title in the 130kg category, as he aims to tie Aleksandr Karelin of Russia for the most European titles of all time.

Competition at the European Championships is set to run until April 23.

The wrestling qualification period for Paris 2024 is set to begin in September 2023, and run through to May 2024.