In what turned out to be an electrifying clash in the Super Boxing League, Asha Roka-led North East Tigers hammered Bahubali Boxers with a margin of 12-9 to start their league campaign on a high here last evening.
It was North East Tigers' Nanao Singh, Jeevan Singh and captain Asha Roka who gave their side a 12-0 lead after three bouts, in the presence of dignitaries such as Hockey India CEO Elena Norman, Bahubali Boxers' owner and Bollywood ace Suneil Shetty, Jaura Group Chairman RS Jaura, Intex Technologies' Director Keshav Bansal, and North East Tigers' supporter & Bollywood actress Daisy Shah.
Bahubali Boxers did try their best to turn the momentum in their favour as they won through Sombhir Shastri, Dushyant Shrivastav and Kuldeep Singh in the latter three bouts but each of the boxers could only win three points each for their side, which was not enough to match Asha Roka's Knock Out win over her opponent earlier in the match.
The first bout of the night was between Sunil Sharma from the Bahubali Boxers and debutant Nanao Singh from the North East Tigers in the Feather Weight category. The boxer from the North East Tigers, Nanao Singh started the bout on the front foot as he threw some good combinations on his opponent in Round 1 and 2.
Bahubali Boxers' Sunil Sharma could not utilize his height advantage throughout the fight. 26-year old Singh showed his real strength and stamina in Round 4 as he forced some enthralling combinations on Sharma to bag the fight by Unanimous Decision to give the lead to the North East Tigers.
In the second bout of the night, it was upto to Bahubali Boxers' Joseph Emmanuel to cut down the lead for his team as he faced Jeevan Singh from the North East Tigers in the Welter Weight category.
However, it was Singh who started Round 1 looking like a man-on-a-mission as he took his opponent to the corner and barged him with some hard punches. This put Boxers' Emmanuel on the back-foot early on but he weathered the storm to keep his composure, and showed signs of a comeback in Round 2.
He waited for the opportunity to strike Singh, but the latter kept his composure at the key moments to counter Emmanuel's tactics. Both the boxers exchanged some mind blowing one-twos and jabs to keep the crowd interested as the fight reached its last Round. In the end, Singh's efforts were deemed more impressive by the referees as he was awarded the victory by Unanimous Decision to put his side 6 points ahead.
The responsibility of cutting short the lead for her team was presented to Tulsi Helen of the Bahubali Boxers as she took on the captain of the North East Tigers in the Female Fly category. The third bout of the night was important for Tulsi Helen as she had the opportunity to utilize her experience to hit back on the North East Tigers. However, the impressive 18-year-old Asha Roka had other plans in mind as she started the bout aggressively. Roka hit her opponent with combinations of three-four punches which got her the victory as she beat her opponent in the first Round itself to extend her team's lead to 12 points. The North East Tigers were awarded six points as Roka was declared the winner over Helen by Knock Out.
The score line read 12-0 in favour of the North East Tigers after the halfway stage on the night as Bahubali Boxers struggled to open their account. It was Boxers' Sombhir Shastri who was given the duty to close the points' gap as he took on Tigers' Noba Meitei in the Middle Weight category.
In Round 1, Shastri landed some body shots on his opponents but Meitei was the more impressive of the two boxers as he was quick on his feet and struck the punches with more precision. Round 2 saw both the boxers maintain their offense and defence as neither wanted to lose. In Round 3, both the boxers waited for the opportune moment to strike their opponent, but it was difficult for either to get an opening. However, Round 4 started with high energy and high aggression as Shastri pushed Meitei into the corner, and barged him with strong punches. The former needed a Knock Out victory to secure all 6 points for his team, but Meitei held on and fought back as he produced some combinations of his own. However, it was Sombhir Shastri who kept his cool and won the bout by Unanimous Decision to grab the maiden three points for his team.
The fifth match saw Bahubali Boxers' hopes riding on their pugilist Dushyant Shrivastav, as he took on North East Tigers' Jitender Nandal in the Super Middle Weight category. The first two Rounds saw both the boxers fight it out with equal venom as they aimed to establish their supremacy on the fight. Some jabs and one-twos from both the boxers was the highlight of the first two Rounds, but it was Shrivastav who took the initiative in Round 3 as he aimed to get his side back on track on the points tally with a win. The 26-year-old focused on hooks and uppercuts to get the better of Nandal as the latter struggled to find his mojo. In, what was a do-or-die moment for the Boxers, their talisman Shrivastav held his nerve to produce a huge combination in Round 4 to seal the victory over Nandal as he won by Unanimous Decision to put the scores 12-6 in Boxers' favour with one bout to go.
Bahubali Boxers' Kuldeep Singh was presented with the tough and unlikely ask of beating his opponent, North East Tigers' Ashish Ahlawat by a Knock Out in order to equal the scores for both the teams on the night. Round 1 saw both the pugilists launching and exchanging punches to start the bout with aggression. It was difficult to adjudge who the better boxer was until Round 3 where Boxers' Kuldeep Singh came into his own to strike the composure out of Ashish Ahlawat. The former dominated the bout throughout, but he could not Knock Out his opponent, which eventually meant that could only get three points for his side as he was awarded the win by Unanimous Decision. At the end of six bouts between the two sides, it was the North East Tigers who came out on top against the Bahubali Boxers as they won the match 12-9.