Haryana Hammers entered the final of the Pro Wrestling League after pipping Punjab Royals 4-3 in a thrilling second semifinal contest in the inaugural edition of the event on Saturday.
Haryana Hammers will clash with table toppers Mumbai Garuda in the final on Sunday.
It was a good effort from Haryana who registered a come-from-behind win to make it to the final.
Punjab Royals took an early 2-0 lead after winning the first two bouts before Haryana Hammers tied the scores by bagging the next two in front of a full house crowd of 5000 at the IGI stadium here. A win each for Punjab and Haryana in the following two bouts and scores were tied yet again.
The crucial deciding bout was won by Haryana’s Livan Lopez Azcuy 5-1 against Punjab’s Praveen Rana, who got injured in the beginning of the bout and it was difficult for him to make a comeback.
Althoiugh he showed a lot of character, he failed to topple his Cuban rival.
In the absence of injured captain Yogeshwar Dutt, Haryana Hammers fielded little-known Vishal Rana against Rajneesh of Punjab Royals in men’s 65kg.
In a one-sided contest, Rajneesh overpowered Vishal 12-2 by technical superiority in just four minutes and 32 seconds.
Royals’ Vasilisa Marzaliuk prevailed 4-0 over Geetika Jhakhar of Haryana in women’s 69kg. The World Championship bronze medallist from Belarus, who had superior technique and power, had it easy against the Indian wrestler.
Earlier on Friday, Mumbai Garudas continued their winning run, outmuscling Bengaluru Yodhas 5-2 in the first semi-final.
The Garudas had won all five of their matches in the league stage and their superb run means they will be the favourites to lift the maiden PWL trophy.
Mumbai had defeated Haryana in the last contest of the league stage on Thursday.
But if their fans had any apprehensions that fatigue will hamper their team’s performance, they were quickly dispelled when Odikadze Elizbar outgrappled Bengaluru’s Pavlo Oliynik 7-2 in the men’s 97kg category.
Elizbar, who had lost to Haryana’s Adritsev Valeriy just 24 hours earlier, brushed aside that disappointment to take a 3-2 lead in a heavily fought first round. He then increased his lead with a throwdown in the opening minute of the second round and held on to the advantage till the end.
Ritu Phogat (women’s 48kg) increased Mumbai’s lead when she successfully pinned Bengaluru’s Alyssa Lampe for a byfall win.
Trailing 0-4 after the first round, Ritu came out all guns blazing in the second, picking up six points at a stretch. Having brought her American opponent down on the mat, Ritu proceeded to build up a 10-4 lead before managing to pin her.
Giorgi Sakandelidze gave Mumbai a formidable 3-0 lead with a hard fought 7-4 victory over Davit Modzmanashvili of Bengaluru in the men’s 125kg division.
The first round was keenly contested with the two rivals locked 2-2 at the break. Davit put up a strong fight in the second round as well, but Giorgi’s superior technique turned the tide.
Commonwealth Games champion Odunayo Adekuoroye continued her winning streak, brushing aside Bengaluru’s Lalita Sehrawat by technical superiority (10-0) and gifting the Garudas an unassailable 4-0 lead in the process.
Captain and icon player Narsingh Pancham Yadav (men’s 74kg) pulled one back for the Yodhas by overpowering Mumbai’s Pradeep 7-0.
The 2015 World Championships bronze medallist opened the scoring with a single leg hold and never looked back from there.
But Mumbai captain Adeline Gray underlined her team’s dominance by overpowering Bengaluru’s Navjot Kaur by technical superiority (10-0) in the women’s 69kg bout.
The three-time World Champion forced her advantage right after the start with the Fitley move, cruising to a 6-0 lead within 30 seconds. Navjot did try her best, but it was never going to be enough as her American opponent clinched the winning points with 40 seconds still remaining in the first round.
Bajrang Punia gave the Bengaluru fans something to cheer about in the last bout with a clinical 10-4 victory over Amit Dhankar in the men’s 65kg section.
In a fast paced, keenly contested encounter, Bajrang brought down Amit with a throwdown before coming up with a successful Fitley move to lead 8-0 after the first period.
Amit picked up two points in the second period with a leg hold, but Bajrang increased his lead with a double leg attack.