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Bombay Bullets claimed an important 5-2 victory over Bengaluru Brawlers in a high-voltage clash in Big Bout Indian Boxing League at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium Complex here tonight. It was the first win in two matches for the Bombay Bullets while the Brawlers faced their third successive defeat in the Boxing Federation of India-approved league.
Bombay Bullets lifted themselves to the fourth place on the league table with seven points from two matches behind Punjab Panthers (10 points from two matches), Odisha Warriors (10 from two) and Gujarat Giants (9 from two) and ahead of NE Rhinos (seven from two) Bengaluru Brawlers (six from three).
Needing a win to lift themselves from the fifth spot on the table, Bombay Bullets were relieved that skipper Ingrit Lorena Valencia, a 2016 Olympic Games bronze medallist, and National champion Naveen Boora came up trumps against the hard-working Anamika and Dinesh Dagar in the women's 51kg and men's 69kg bouts.
After Bengaluru Brawlers' skipper Simranjit Singh extended her record to three wins in as many starts, this time with a conquest over Spain's Melisa Neomi Gonzalez, Bombay Bullets increased their lead through Kavinder Singh Bisht who inflicted a second successive defeat on Gaurav Bidhuri with a split verdict in a very close fight.
Though Meenakshi clawed back with a win for the Brawlers against Priya Kushwaha in the youth women's 57kg battle, Bombay Bullets southpaw Prayag Chauhan defeated Pawan Kumar to secure the match for his side after a split verdict in a 75kg slugfest that may not have pleased the purists. Like Naveen Boora, Prayag Chauhan has been a reliable player with 100 per cent win record.
To her credit, the 2018 World Youth Championships finalist Anamika was fearless when squaring up with the Colombian and seemed to hold the edge in the first two rounds. However, the southpaw PanAmerican Games champion used her experience to find gaps in Anamika's defence and turn the tables on the young Indian for a unanimous verdict.
Given that Railways' Dinesh Dagar was looking to settle scores after he had been outfoxed by Naveen Boora in the quarterfinals of the National championships recently their bout was easily the most looked forward to on Monday night. The 20-year-old Armyman from Hissar held sway as he was well prepared to answer any tactic that his desperate rival came up with.
The contest between 2017 World Championship bronze medallist Gaurav Bidhuri and Kavinder Singh Bisht was so balanced that little separated them. Yet, the younger boxer ran home a 3-2 winner after having done a lot more than Gaurav Bidhuri to impress the judges. The 26-year-old Brawlers' star strove hard to stage a rally but could only narrow the gap rather than secure a win.
Spaniard Emmanuel Reyas secured the fifth win of the night for Bombay Bullets with superior ring-craft against Harshpreet Singh. It was important for the team since it helped the team climb to the fourth spot in the race for the semifinals. Had the Brawlers managed to win any of the last three bouts, Bombay Bullets would still have been placed fifth in the league.
The Bombay Bullets captain, Ingrit Lorena Valencia won the toss and blocked the men's 52kg class bout which pit her team's Ananta Chopade against National Championship finalist Ashish Insah. It turned out to the team's advantage. The system of a toss-winning skipper blocking one category is an attempt to bring in team strategy in what is primarily an individual sport.