New Delhi, Jan 4: Haryana Hammers posted their second consecutive win in the second edition of the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) by defeating UP Dangal 5-2, here today, January 4.
Haryana Hammers won the toss and decided to block the men's 74kg category, while Uttar Pradesh team chose to block women's 58kg, thereby denying the spectators a chance to watch much fancied Geeta Phogat in action against Rio Olympics bronze medallist Marwa Amri of Tunisia.
The Phogat sisters -- Geeta and Babita -- have been in the limelight after the Aamir Khan-starrer biopic on their struggles, 'Dangal', has turned out to be a huge box office success.
But even Babita failed to make up for her sister's absence from the mat as she was quickly handed a 0-4 defeat by fall verdict by Rio Games bronze medallist Sofia Mattsson of Sweden in women's 53kg as Haryana Hammers took an unassailable 4-2 lead in the match.
Call it the 'Dangal' effect, the stadium was near about full and the title track of the Bollywood movie added to the excitement to an action-packed evening at the K D Jadhav Indoor Stadium here.
But the UP team could not capitalise on all the hype. With foreign wrestlers like Magomed Kurbanaliev, Elitsa Yankova, Abdusalam Gadisov and Sofia Mattsson dominating the show, Haryana registered a comprehensive win.
However, it was not the star wrestlers who hogged the limelight today but the lesser known Indian girls in Indu Chaudhary and Kiran.
Although both of them lost their respective bouts but not before giving a tough fight to two Rio Olympic medallists.
They showed a lot of character and a never say die attitude during the two most keenly fought contests of the evening.
Earlier, the first bout was contested between Amit Dhankar of UP Dangal and Russia's Magomed Kurbanaliev, representing Haryana, in men's 70kg.
The 2016 World Championship gold medallist Magomed began aggressively, scoring points early on to make life difficult for the Indian and went into the break with a comfortable 4-0 lead.
The Russian continued to dominate in the second round also and eventually sealed it off with an easy 8-0 victory.
The surprise package of the evening was the duel between Indu Chaudhary and Rio Olympics bronze winner Elitsa Yankova in women's 48kg.
The Indian grappler stunned one and all with the way she fought against her more experienced opponent.
Indu not just gave a tough fight to the Olympic medallist but also eked out one point in the first three minutes to take a 1-0 lead after round one.
Indu continued to attack and defend well in the second Indu continued to attack and defend well in the second round also, not giving a chance to the Bulgarian.
However, Elitsa managed to earn one point, banking on her experience and power to outdo Indu at the end.
Elitsa won on the basis of gaining the last point as the bout ended 1-1. Haryana once again took the upper hand when Rajneesh defeated Andrey Kviatkovsky 5-1 in men's 65kg in the next tie.
Initially, both wrestlers were unable to score points before the Ukrainian gave away a point to Rajneesh due to passivity.
In the second round, Rajneesh came back with more purpose and bagged four points to outplay the two-time Olympian.
In women's 75kg, Kiran took inspiration from Indu and shocked Maria Mamashuk, Rio Olympics silver medallist, with a 2-0 lead after the opening round.
What was supposed to be a cakewalk for Maria turned out to be rather difficult with Kiran continuing to pose a huge threat to her opponent.
However, Maria, with all her experience, bounced back and got the lead with four points. But Kiran showed no signs of nerves as she kept applying pressure on the rival and gained another two points to make it 4-4.
But Maria gained crucial two points in the last minute to prevail over the Indian, who went down fighting in the end in a closely fought encounter.
With two teams tied 2-2, 2015 World championship silver medallists Abdusalam Gadisov of Russia was the next grappler from Haryana to clash with UP's Mausam Khatri in men's 97kg.
Khatri proved a cropper against the Russian, who kept scoring throughout the match to register a comprehensive 8-0 win to give Haryana lead.
Sofia ensured that she wrapped up the match for her team as she took little time to pack off star Babita in the first round itself.
Asian champion and Rio Olympian Sandeep Tomar, who lost his last bout to Rahul Aware of Mumbai team in the previous match, put up a dominating performance against Anmit Kumar Dahiya of UP in men's 57kg.
Sandeep bagged six points in the first round and then kept on extending it to eventually win his bout 8-0.