Harpal Singh Bedi / New Delhi
Putting behind successive defeats Odisha Warriors, staged a fine comeback chalking out afacile 6-1 victory over Bengaluru Brawlers to keep their hopes alive for a berth in last four spots in the Big Bout Indian Boxing League here on Saturday.,
Skipper Jakhongir Rakhmanov and Naman Tanwar scored victories to place Odisha Warriors in the front. And after Simranjit Kaur pulled one back for the Brawlers, Youth Women’s 57kg National champion Jasmine and a brave Gaurav Solanki turned up the ante to make sure that the team from India’s east coast would go home a happy unit.
Jakhongir Rakhmanov overturned a sluggish start against Dinesh Dagar to gain a split verdict in the 69kg bout and give Odisha Warriors a winning start while Naman Tanwar beat back a spirited challenge by Reyal Puri in the 91kg bout as Odisha Warriors showed how eager they were to leave behind memories of losses to Punjab Panthers and Gujarat Giants.
Clearly under pressure after the first two bouts in the seven-bout match, Bengaluru Brawlers heave a sigh of relief when Simranjit Kaur beat Priyanka Chaudhary in the women’s 60kg bout. Jasmine expectedly beat National Youth bronze medallist Priti Banekar, cruising to a unanimous points decision to leave Odisha Warriors needing one more win.
Bengaluru Brawlers were hoping that Gaurav Bidhuri would find the winning sequence against Gaurav Solanki in the high-intensity 57kg bout, but those expectations were belied. Solanki strained his every sinew in a quality clash, showing enormous mental strength in bouncing back from a 2-3 loss to Mohammed Husamuddin two nights ago and in keeping Bidhuri at bay.
Deepak returning to the Odisha Warriors line-up after missing the clash with Gujarat Giants beat Ashish Insah in a unanimous verdict in the 52kg bout. That gave Odisha Warriors a fifth win for the night, one more than the squad had managed from the two earlier matches put together.
Debutant Pramod Kumar, replacing Neel Kamal Singh in the line-up, secured the judges’ nod in the 75kg fight with teenager Nitin Kumar to let the Odisha Warriors’ cup of joy overflow on Saturday. Bengaluru Brawlers were without ace Pinki Rani Jangra, away on National duty in the South Asian Games, but Odisha Warriors chose to block the women’s 51kg bout.
The Big Bout Indian Boxing League,approved by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), is a unique three-week team competition for top Indian and international boxers in which six 14-member squads are competing for Rs. 3 crore prize money.