Greater Noida, Punjab Panthers carried too many guns for Bombay Bullets to rake up their second successive 5-2 victory in the Big Bout Indian Boxing League (IBL) at the Gautam Buddha University Indoor Stadium here on Thursday.
The icing on the cake was skipper M.C. Mary Kom’s unanimous points win against 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Ingrit Valencia of Colombia.
Manoj Kumar’s defeat at the hands of Bombay Bullets’ Naveen Boora in the 69 kg 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 the three rounds to beat the Colombian like she did in the World Championships last year.
Uzbekistan’s Youth Olympic Games champion Abdulmalik Khalakov and P.L. Prasad gave Punjab Panthers a headstart in the quest for the second win in as many outings.
Khalakov (19) held sway in the 57kg bout with Asian silver medallist Kavinder Singh Bisht despite being five years younger. 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 Punjab Panthers’ favour, Naveen Kumar eked out a 3-2 verdict against Spaniard Emmanuel Reyas in the 91kg bout before Bombay Bullets gained another consolation win through Prayag Chauhan who beat 18-year-old Mohit in the 75kg bout through a split decision.
The Big Bout Indian Boxing League, approved by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), is a three-week competition for top Indian and international boxers. Six 14-member teams are competing for the Rs 3 crore prize money.