The 57kg category bout between the two Indians, Ravi Kumar of Haryana Hammers and Naveen of UP Dangal, brought the best in the wrestlers and in the crowd too at the Pro Wrestling League Season 4 currently underway at the Tau Devi Lal Indoor Stadium in Panchkula on Wednesday.
Ravi, the 2018 World U23 Championships silver medalist took a point lead against the 2018 World Junior Championships silver medalist Naveen after a hard-fought first round. But despite his best effort, Naveen couldn’t create the opening he required and Ravi went on adding point after point to finally clinch the bout 7-2 and give last year’s runners-up Hammers a 4-2 winning lead in their first match this season.
The last bout of the evening in the 57kg weight category between the Haryana Hammers’ junior world champion Anastasia Nichita and UP Dangal’s 2017 Asian championships silver medallist Sarita in front of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar went in favour of the Hammers with the PWL debutant Anastasia pining the Indian down and clinching the bout 9-0. Hammers clinched the tie 5-2.
Before that, the European U23 silver medalist Iraki Misituri of UP Dangal tried his best to challenge the twice World Championships bronze medalist Haryana Hammers’ Ali Shabanov in their men’s 86kg category bout but fell behind by two points after the first round. The experienced Haryana wrestler kept up the pressure in the second round too and clinched the bout 6-1 to put the Hammers ahead after the first bout of the evening.
The 2018 World Championships silver medal winner Vanesa Kaladzinskaya didn’t have an easy time against the 2017 Commonwealth Championships gold medalist Seema in the 53kg category. Vanesa took a 2-0 lead at the break and held on to it for the most part of the bout. But Seema bagged two points towards the close to raise the expectation of the crowd of a close finish. But Vanesa’s experience came in handy in the end, and she clinched the bout 3-2 to help UP restore parity.
Last year’s national champion Rajneesh fought the most intense bout of the evening against Pankaj Rana, much unlike the 16-0 scoreline will suggest. Up against his countrymen UP Dangal’s Pankaj Rana in the 65kg category, Rajneesh capitalized on some costly mistakes by the Dangal wrestler to clinch the bout on technical superiority and put the Hammers ahead.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Haryana Hammers’ Kiran was expected to give a much tougher fight to the Estonian wrestler of UP Dangal Epp Mae in the 76kg category. But it was the foreign wrestler who clinched the technically challenging bout 5-0 to put UP Dangal’s campaign back on track.
In the first super heavyweight bout of PWL 4, Haryana Hammers’ Ukranian wrestler Khotsianivski Aleksander got the better of UP Dangal’s Georgi Sakandelidze 3-0 after an intense battle for supremacy to put his team ahead with two bouts to go.