Pro Wrestling League: Mumbai beats holder Punjab in opener

Asian Games gold-medallist Vinesh Phogat clinched the tie for Mumbai Maharathi by winning the sixth bout to give her team an unassailable 4-2 lead.

Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat at the 2018 Asian Games.   -  PTI

Vinesh Phogat and Bajranj Punia shone as Mumbai Maharathi beat defending champion NCR Punjab Royals 4-3 in the first match of the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) Season 4 here Monday.

It was Asian Games gold-medallist Vinesh who clinched the tie for the Mumbai team by winning the sixth bout of the evening to give her team an unassailable 4-2 lead with one bout to go.

The other Asiad gold medal winner, Bajrang, who fought the last bout against national champion Harphool, reduced the winning margin by clinching the final bout of the evening.

Though up against the Asian champion, Harphool showed no nerves and displayed tremendous grit and determination before going down 2-8.

As expected, the 53kg category bout between Anju and Vinesh turned out to be a one-sided one. Anju, who won the gold in the girls U-17 53kg category in Khelo India Youth Games two day’s ago, couldn’t keep the Asian champion at bay for too long and lost 8-0 when the referee stopped the bout.

Earlier, former European under-23 champion Russian, Ibragim Ilyasov of Mumbai Maharathi won the first bout, defeating Nitin Rathee 9-7 in the 57kg category to give Mumbai the lead.

In the women’s 57kg category Mumbai Maharathi’s Bulgarian wrestler Mimi Hristova took a huge 14-3 lead against Punjab Royals’ Venezuelan wrestler Betzabeth Angelica after the first round and was looking like running away with the bout. But the Punjab wrestler had different ideas and she turned the tables on Mimi to win 17-16 in what can be regarded as one of the finest comebacks in PWL history.

While the 57kg bouts saw lot of aggression from the wrestlers, the 74kg bout between Mumbai's Sachin Rathi and Punjab’s Amit Dhankhar was full of caution with the Royals wrestler taking a 2-0 lead after the first round. After the break, Rathi pushed Amit out of playing arena to take a 3-2 lead and finally clinch the bout to put Mumbai ahead.

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