Punjab Panthers recorded their second successive win, beating Bombay Bullets 5-2 in the ongoing Big Bout Indian Boxing League at the Gautam Buddha University Indoor Stadium on Thursday night.
MC Mary Kom was the star of the night with her unanimous points win against 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Ingrit Lorena Valencia who she had beaten at the world championship last year as well.
Manoj Kumar’s defeat at the hands of Bombay Bullets’ Naveen Boora in the 69kg fourth bout of the night meant that the two captains stepped into the ring with much more than academic interest left in the match. And Mary Kom did enough to impress the judges in each of three rounds to beat the Colombian.
Uzbekistan’s Youth Olympic Games champion Abdulmalik Khalakov and PL Prasad earlier gave Panthers a headstart. Khalakov, in the 57kg bout, prevailed over Asian silver medallist Kavinder Singh Bisht despite five years junior. The 19-year-old dodged a swishing left hook and landed a left straight smack on the Bullets boxer’s face to impose a standing count in the second round and seal the deal.
Prasad, who suffered a reverse on the opening night, redeemed himself by using his speed and agility to counter Anant Chopade’s longer reach. Young Manisha, standing in for Sonia Lather who is on national duty in the South Asian Games in Kathmandu, sustained the momentum with a facile win against Spaniard Melissa Noemi Gonzalez in the women’s 60kg.
Once Mary Kom sealed the match in Panthers favour, Naveen Kumar eked out a 3-2 verdict against Spaniard Emmanuel Reyas in the 91kg bout before Bullets gained another consolation win through Prayag Chauhan who beat the 18-year-old Mohit in the 75kg bout through a split decision.
Earlier, in a combative 69kg contest, 20-year-old Boora was unfazed by Manoj’s reputation. Putting his height and reach to good effect against the experienced Manoj, Boora impressed with his ringcraft and fearlessness as he won the bout 4-1.