Another exhilarating edition of Pro wrestling League Season 3 came to its conclusion, with mighty Punjab Royals winning the trophy. Defending champions Punjab Royals retained the title in a clinical performance in the final to hand Haryana Hammers, yet another heartbreak. Haryana who had lost out to Punjab in PWL 2 final as well, once again failed to break the jinx losing out once again.
A Clinical performance by Punjab Royals
Defending champions Punjab Royals produced a clinical performance to beat Haryana Hammers by a convincing margin of 6-3 to retain the title. Haryana Hammers, who were the runner-ups in the previous two seasons as well failed to overcome the Punjabis. This is Punjab’s second consecutive PWL title. They had beaten Haryana Hammers in the final in 2017 as well. Haryana began the match on a positive note with Vladimir Khinchegashvili winning his bout against the Punjab wrestler. They lost the rhythm soon after and Punjab did not give them many chances to make a comeback.
The final was an electric affair with audiences thronging the Siri Fort Sports complex to witness the summit clash. Veteran Bollywood star Dharmendra also marked his presence to cheer for his team Punjab royals who did not disappoint them either.
Punjab Royals are the PWL 3 Champs – As it happened
India’s Pooja Dhanda stunned World and Olympic Champion Helen Maroulis to set up Punjab Royals’ second straight title triumph in the Pro Wrestling League season 3. The 2013 and 2017 Commonwealth champion, Pooja, who had beaten Helen in the league stage too, repeated her feat in the sixth bout of the day that sealed Haryana Hammers’ fate.
World Championship gold medallist Zurabi Iakobishvili showed his class in the next clash, to win 4-0 and clinch the championship for Punjab Royals 5-2 in front of a packed house.
Before them, Anastasija Grigorjeva and Koumba Larroque had won two fights for the Royals. For the Hammers, Vladimir Khinchegashvili and Khetik Tsabolov gave them a good start, and locked the nine-bout tie at 2-2 after four clashes.
Haryana Hammers go 2 up against Punjab Royals
Reigning Olympic champion Vladimir got the Hammers off to a winning start, scoring a comprehensive 4-0 victory over India’s Naveen Kumar in the 57-kg competition. Georgia’s Vladimir lived up to his reputation, dominating the opening period and racing to a healthy 4-0 lead straightaway. After the breather, he used all his skills and strength to ward off the Indian and comfortably defend his lead to put his team ahead in the nine-bout duel.
Punjab Royals get back and go level
The Royals drew level in the second bout, through 2017 World Championship bronze medallist Anastasija Grigorjeva. In an intense fight, she steamrolled India’s Sarita Mor 7-2 in the 62-kg women’s contest.
Anastasija took an early 1-0 lead but Sarita jumped ahead to 2-1 with a smart move. But, Anastasija fought back to make it 2-2 by the break. She was on song thereafter, taking a 5-2 lead and wrapping up the bout 7-2.
The Hammers’ slipped into a 2-1 lead, with Khetik Tsabolov, the 2017 World Championship runner-up, taking down India’s Jitender Kinha 15-0 by technical superiority in the 74-kg competition. In the opening period, Khetik spent majority of the time getting a measure of Jitender and taking a slender 2-0 lead. In the second round, the Russian was at his ruthless best, blitzing his way to victory without breaking into sweat.
Then Frenchwoman, Koumba beat Pooja Sihag 7-0 to level the tie.
Punjab Royals steady the ship and win the league
In the battle of super heavyweights, Punjab’s icon player Geno Petriashvili wrestled with élan to send his side 3-2 up. The World Champion started off slowly but soon got into his groove to thrash India’s Sumit Malik 15-0. Geno cruised to an 11-0 lead in the opening round and comfortably won the bout. He has remained unbeaten through the entire league.
In the most-awaited clash, Pooja began on the back foot, losing the initial point to favourite Helen. She didn’t give up the fight though, giving it her all to take a slender 2-1 lead.
The dying moments proved to be nerve-wracking
Dhanda continued her glorious run in the tournament after she beat current World and Olympic champion Helen Maroulis 3-2 in a thrilling encounter. The US wrestler began well leading 1-0 in the opening period. She defended well in the second period and it looked like she would avenge her loss, but the Indian showed great resilience to win the humdinger of a clash.