New Delhi, January 12
UP Dangal rode on a heroic performance from former national champion Nitin to eke out a 4-3 win over Punjab Royals in the Pro Wrestling League here today.
Nitin beat reigning national champion Utkarsh Kale 8-7 in the decider after the two teams were locked at 3-3.
Kale did well to win the opening period 2-0. However, he could not counter Nitin’s attack in the final round to lose the crucial bout.
Down 2-3, Punjab’s Koumba Selene Fanta Larroque of France showed great character under pressure to score a 4-0 victory over Zsanett Nemeth of Hungary in the women’s 76kg category to keep her side alive in the contest.
In fact, UP Dangal were in sight of victory after taking a 3-1 lead. But reigning world champion Geno dished out a spectacular performance against Azerbaijan’s Jamaladdin Magomedov in the 125kg category to give Royals a new lease of life.
UP Dangal won the toss and blocked European Championships gold medallist Bekbulatov Ilyas of Russia, while Punjab kept world champion Vanesa Kaladzinskaya of Belarus out of action.
Captain Vinesh Phoghat entered the fray with UP 2-1 ahead in the tie. She registered a 16-0 victory through technical superiority over Nirmala Devi in the 50kg competition.
Earlier, Punjab suffered a setback when an unfortunate injury saw Mausam Khatri retire midway and concede the bout against Vicky, even though he was leading 4-2 in the 92kg category.
In the opening bout of the day, 2017 Asian Championships gold medallist Abdurakhmonov Bekzod of Uzbekistan got UP Dangal off to a great start, beating Jitender 9-0 by pinfall in the 74kg category. Royals pulled it back in the next bout after Latvia’s Grigorjeva Anastasija beat local favourite Geeta Phoghat in the 62kg category. The World Championship bronze medallist was in a punishing mood. She took a 10-2 lead in the opening period and further built on her lead in the second.