Ashish Kumar's victory over Odisha Warriors' Neel Kamal Singh in the second bout of the match inspired Gujarat Giants to comeback from behind and register its maiden victory of the 2019 Big Bout Indian Boxing League match at the Gautam Buddha University Indoor Stadium in Greater Noida on Wednesday.
Kumar dominated his 75kg clash with Neel Kamal Singh, imposing two standing counts on his opponent in the third round, before forcing him to retire in the same round. Courtesy Kumar's win, Gujarat drew back level after losing the first fight.
Uzbekistan’s Jakhangir Rakhmonov gave Odisha an early lead when he drew first blood and claimed victory with a split verdict over 33-year-old Duryodhan Singh Negi in the 69kg class bout.
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It was no surprise that a weary Neel Kamal Singh retired in the third round so that Gujarat Giants could draw level with the team from east India that had taken the lead with a win for Uzbekistan’s Jakhangir Rakhmonov in the opening bout. After seeming to not convince all judges in the first two rounds when he held the upper-hand, last year’s Asian Youth semifinalist dominated the third round and yet could only get a 3-2 win.
Rakhmanov had to post that early victory to keep his is side in the hunt, considering that his teammates would be up against the likes of Sarita Devi in the women’s 60kg bout and Mohammed Husammuddin (57kg) and Amit Pangal (51kg). But with Neel Kamal unable to sustain the momentum in the second bout, Odisha Warriors was staring at a massive challenge.
Gujarat Giants won the toss and opted to block the Youth Women’s 57kg bout that would have seen Jyoti Kanwar go up against Odisha Warriors’ Jasmine. The option of blocking one of the bouts allows teams to bring strategy into play. Gujarat Giants were aware that Jasmine had picked up one of the two victories for Odisha Warriors in its 2-5 loss to Punjab Panthers on Monday.