Haryana Hammers produced a power packed performance to outplay UP Dangal 5-2 in a Pro Wrestling League (PWL) contest at the KD Jadhav Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Haryana stamped their authority on the proceedings right from the start and although UP managed to restore parity a couple of times, it proved to be a one-sided affair in the end.
The first bout saw former Asian champion Amit Dhankar of UP take on Haryana’s reigning world champion Magomed Kurbanaliev in the men’s 70kg category.
Magomed, who hails from Russia, displayed far superior technique than Amit and claimed an easy 8-0 win.
Magomed took the lead by taking two points with a takedown in the opening period. Another two pointer saw him take a 4-0 lead by the end of the first round.
Amit put up a much better defence in the second period, although the Russian used his superior technique to prevent him from scoring.
The world champion managed to breach Amit’s defence midway through the round and bagged a couple of points with a leg hold.
With barely 30 seconds left on the clock, a desperate Amit went on the offensive. But Magomed produced a successful counter to earn another two points and complete a comfortable win.
Elitza Yankova brought UP back on level terms with a hard fought, tactical victory over Indu Chaudhury of Haryana in the women’s 48kg category.
Indu picked up a point with a pushout and managed to win the first round 1-0. But Yankova took the second round by the same margin to win the bout.
Haryana forced themselves into the lead once again with Rajneesh outmuscling UP’s Ukrainian grappler Andrey Kviatkovski 5-1 in the men’s 65kg division.
Both wrestlers were equally matched in the first round. But Rajneesh managed to force the Ukrainian onto the defensive and earned one point through the passivity rule.
The Indian pulled off a superb tackle and lifted his opponent out of the safety zone at the end of the first round. It should have fetched Rajneesh four points, but unfortunately he did not earn any point with that move since time had already expired.
Andrey managed to pull level early in the second round. But Rajneesh managed to pull off a successful counter and force himself into a superior position to earn two points. The Indian then flipped his opponent immediately after to take another couple of points.
Andrey attempted a single leg hold towards the end, but Rajneesh successfully held him off to earn another point.
UP levelled the scores once again when Maria Mamashuk edged out Haryana’s Kiran 6-4 in the women’s 75kg bout.
Former world champion Abdusalam Gadisov of Russia handed the lead back to Haryana by defeating UP’s Mausam Khatri 8-0 in the men’s 97kg division.
Gadisov -- who has also won medals at the World Cup and Euro Games -- lived upto his credentials, opening up a formidable 6-0 lead by the break.
The Russian pulled off a takedown for two points immediately after the start. He held off several attempts by Khatri to attack his legs before producing another takedown.
The former world champion continued to rake in the points with his superior technique.
Khatri, who had taken bronze at the Asian Games in 2010, was more attacking in the second round. But Gadisov held off all his efforts before clinching another couple of points in the closing seconds.
Reigning European champion and Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sofia Mattson stunned the capacity crowd by pinning UP’s Babita Kumari within 46 seconds of the first round in the women’s 53kg category to extend Haryana’s lead.
Babita, whose life struggle was the subject of a recent Bollywood film, was the cynosure of all eyes. But Sofia, who has taken silver at three consecutive World Championships, proved to be far too superior.
With Haryana already enjoying an insurmountable 4-2 lead in the contest, Sandeep Tomar pushed home the advantage by outplaying former Asian champion Amit Dahiya of UP 8-0 in the men’s 57kg category.
Amit, who had taken silver at the 2013 World Championships, was forced out of action for several months last year due to a knee injury.
The 23-year-old, who took to the mat with a strapping on his left knee, was returning to competitive wrestling after a considerable period of time and seemed to be totally out of form.
Tomar, who represented India at the Rio Olympics, took full advantage by opening up a 6-0 lead by the end of the first round.
The reigning Commonwealth champion took another point in the second period with a pushout before increasing his lead further in the final minute.