Haryana Hammers entered the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) final for the second consecutive year with a comfortable 6-3 win over Jaipur Ninjas in their semi-final contest at the KD Jadhav Indoor Stadium in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Haryana Hammers, who had lost to Mumbai Garudas -- now renamed as Mumbai Maharathi -- in the final of the inaugural Pro Wrestling League last year, registered a splendid comeback after conceding a 0-2 deficit in the early stages.
They will meet the winner of Wednesday’s second semi-final between defending champions Mumbai and Punjab Royals in the title clash.
Jaipur took the early lead when Jakob Makarashvili registered a comfortable 10-0 win over Sumit Sehrawat of Haryana in the men’s 74kg category.
The 2016 World Cup bronze medallist from Georgia was far too superior in terms of technique and experience and hardly allowed Sumit a chance to score.
Jaipur’s lead soon swelled to 2-0 when Ritu Phogat beat Haryana’s Indu Chaudhary 8-0 in the women’s 48kg category.
Magomed Kurbanaliev kick-started Haryana’s comeback with a hard fought 5-0 verdict over Vinod Kumar of Jaipur in the men’s 70kg division.
The bout was a bitterly contested affair till the very end with Vinod giving a very good account of himself against the reigning world champion.
He conceded a single point in the first round thanks to the passivity rule and troubled his opponent till the final 30 seconds when he erred while attempting a takedown and Magomed pulled off a successful counter-attack to seal the issue.
Tunisian star Marwa Amri levelled things up for Haryana, outclassing Jaipur’s Pooja Dhanda 10-0 in the women’s 58kg bout.
Haryana then took the lead through Rajneesh who fought off a strong challenge from Jaipur’s Rahul Mann to register a hard-earned 8-6 win in the men’s 65kg category.
Rajneesh grabbed the early advantage, opening up a sizeable 6-0 lead before the opening two minutes were up. The second round saw some exciting, fast paced action as Rahul fought back to go within touching distance of a win. But the Haryana grappler held on for the win.
Jaipur fought back to level terms with former world champion Jenny Fransson outplaying Haryana’s Kiran 8-0 in the women’s 75kg event.
Sandeep Tomar wrested a dramatic 5-4 win over Jaipur’s Utkarsh Kale in the men’s 57kg division to hand the advantage back to Haryana.
Trailing 3-0 with around a minute to go, Kale bagged four points with a takedown and rollover. But with just three seconds to go, Tomar pulled off a takedown to take two points and clinch the nail biting contest.
Swedish star Sofia Mattsson clinched the contest for Haryana when she defeated Jaipur’s Betzabeth Arguello by fall in the women’s 53kg contest.
The 2016 Olympics bronze medallist and current European champion dominated her Venezuelan opponent right from the start and was leading 8-0 in the second when she managed to pull off the pin.
Abdusalam Gadisov ended the proceedings in style for Haryana with a hard-fought 5-4 win over Jaipur’s Georgian powerhouse Elizbar Olikadze in the men’s 97kg category.
Gadisov executed a takedown and rollover to enjoy a 4-0 lead at the break. But with less than a minute remaining in the contest, Olikadze came up with a four-point move to level things up.
But the Georgian turned a tad defensive in the final 30 seconds which prompted the judges to award a penalty point to Gadisov.