PWL: Punjab sets up title clash with Haryana

Punjab Royals knocked defending champion Mumbai Maharathi to advance to the final where it will face last season's runner-up Haryana Hammers.

Pro-Wrestling League

Punjab Royals will face Haryana Hammers in the final.   -  PTI

Pankaj Rana came back from a 0-6 deficit to not just level scores 8-8 against youngster Pritam, but also win the bout and, with it, the match to help Punjab Royals advance into the final of the Pro Wrestling League at the KD Jadhav Stadium here on Wednesday, knocking defending champion Mumbai Maharathi out with a 5-4 victory.

With this win, Punjab also avenged its narrow loss in the league stage and with the semifinals featuring all nine weight categories as against seven in the league, Punjab proved its superiority. Punjab would now take on last season's runner-up Haryana Hammers in the title clash on Thursday.

Mumbai captain Erica Wiebe struggled against Vasilisa Marzaliuk in a completely defensive contest and only managed to win by virtue of earning two penalty points against one conceded, keeping her unbeaten record intact. Her Punjab counterpart, Vladimir Khinchegashvili, however, was more dominant, managing not just a series of take downs but also an overhead throw of Rahul Aware to win 12-5 in the 57kg.

The first two bouts on the day featured the categories blocked in the earlier face-off with Jabrayil Hasanov and Odunayo Adekuoroye, giving both teams a win each, both on technical superiority against their respective opponents. While Hasanov ended with an 18-2 win against Jitendra with 10 seconds left in the 74kg, Odunayo remained unbeaten in the competition with a 16-0 win against Lalita Sehrawat in four and half minutes in the 53kg.

Ilias Bekbutalov, who replaced Toghrul Asgarov for Punjab in the 65kg, proved he was in no way inferior to the Olympic medalist and was in a hurry to end the bout, wrapping it up in just one minute 10 seconds with a 15-0 lead. The referee, however, continued play for another few seconds, in which time the Russian garnered a couple of points more to comprehensively stamp his authority.

Pavlo Oliynik led 4-0 at the end of Round One before taking down Krishan Kumar and rolling him over repeatedly to win 12-0 in the 97kg, while Sarita bettered her own victory margin against Manju Kumari with 9-0 in the 58kg for the other Mumbai wins. For Punjab, Nirmala Devi tied on points with Carolina Castillo in the 48kg but won the bout by virtue of having managed a take-down.

The results: Punjab Royals bt Mumbai Maharathi 5-4.

Women: 48kg: Nirmala Devi (Pun) bt Carolina Castillo (Mum) 2-2; 53kg: Odunayo Adekuoroye (Pun) bt Lalita Sehrawat (Mum) 16-0; 58kg: Sarita (Mum) bt Manju (Pun) 9-0; 75kg: Erica Wiebe (Mum) bt Vasilisa Marzaliuk (Pun) 2-1.

Men: 57kg: Vladimir Khinchegashvili (Pun) bt Rahul Aware (Mum) 12-5; 65kg:Ilias Bekbulatov (Pun) vs Vikas Kumar (Mum) 17-0; 70kg: Pankaj Rana (Pun) bt Pritam (Mum) 8-8; 74kg: Jabrayil Hasanov (Mum) bt Jitendra (Pun) 18-2; 97kg: Pavlo Oliynik (Mum) bt Krishan Kumar (Pun) 12-0.