PWL: A must win match for Punjab Royals

Last year’s runner-up Haryana Hammers will look to get its record straight when it takes on defending champion Punjab Royals in the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) Season-4 at the Gautam Buddha University Indoor Stadium in Greater Noida on Saturday.

Haryana Hammers will rely heavily on Ali Shabanov.   -  Special Arrangement

Last year’s runner-up Haryana Hammers will look to get its record straight when it takes on defending champion Punjab Royals in the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) Season-4 at the Gautam Buddha University Indoor Stadium in Greater Noida on Saturday.

The Hammers had lost to the Royals in two consecutive finals in the last two seasons. But on Saturday, the pressure will be on Punjab Royals to score a win. Haryana, with three wins has already cemented its place in the semis and Punjab, if it loses, will be in a do-or-die situation against UP Dangal next.

All eyes will be on the men’s 74 and 86kg categories and female 53 and 62kg categories. In the men’s 74kg category, Amit Dhankhar of Punjab Royals, who has come to this weight category recently, will lock horns with Praveen Rana of Haryana Hammers. They both are experienced wrestlers but their performance in this league has been very mediocre so far.

READ: Vinesh Phogat helps Mumbai Maharathi down Haryana Hammers

In the men's 86kg category, Olympic medallist Punjab's Dato Marsagishvili will take on Haryana's European champion Ali Shabanov in what is expected to be one of the most exciting bouts of this edition. Ali is an experienced wrestler but he has mostly fought in the 79kg weight category whereas Dato has shown excellent result in the 86kg weight category in the last five international competitions. And Ali being the icon player, this category can’t be blocked, so a cracker of a contest is definitely on the cards.

Young and upcoming sensation Anju of Punjab, who upset Ritu Phogat in the previous tie, will take on the experienced Seema in the 53kg category. In the women's 62kg category comeback girl Anita is up against European championships bronze medallist Tayana Omelchenko. Anita, who was a complete mismatch in national competitions till two years ago, have come back strongly to win the national title and stamp her authority.

Punjab Royals team owner Dharampal Rathi said that his team won't disappoint their fans and added: “I am very confident that all our domestic and international players will give our fans in Punjab and Haryana a lot to cheer about.”

The Haryana Hammers co-owner Bhupender said that his team has surprised one and all by its three-match winning streak at the start of the tournament and it will try to maintain the momentum.

SQUADS

Haryana Hammers: Seema (53 Kg), Anastasia Nichita (57 Kg), Ravi Kumar (57 Kg), Tayana  Omelchenko (62 Kg), Rajnesh (65 Kg), Praveen Rana (74 Kg), Kiran (76 Kg), Ali Shabanov (86 Kg), Khotsianivski Aleksander (125 Kg).

Punjab Royals: Anju (53 Kg), Mimi Hristova (57 Kg), Nitin Rathee (57 Kg), Bajrang Puniya (65 Kg), Anita (62 Kg), Amit Dhankhar (74 Kg), Alina Stadnik Makhynia (76 Kg), Dato Marsagishvili (86 Kg), Korey Jarvis (125 Kg).

Catch the action live on Sony Six, Sony Ten 3, Sony Liv and Set Max from 7pm.