THE FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND boxing league in India, Super Boxing League started off here today as Delhi Gladiators beat Haryana Warriors with a margin of 12-6 in the presence of its CEO & founder Bill Dosanjh and Chairman, Olympic medalist boxer Amir Khan. The inaugural fight night saw boxers from both teams impress the crowd at the Siri Fort Squash & Badminton Stadium where Delhi Gladiators produced a phenomenal team effort to start their campaign on a high as Owner and Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput cheered them on.
Super Boxing League's first-ever match saw two strong teams in Delhi Gladiators and Haryana Warriors vying to start off the league on the front-foot. In the first fight of the night, Delhi Gladiators' Rakesh Lochan beat Haryana Warriors' Naveen Nehra by a Split Decision to get off the mark on the points table. Both the boxers looked fairly eager to start the match with confidence as they threw some great combinations at each other. The fight was equally split between the two boxers until Round 3, but Rakesh Lochan showed his stamina as he barged Naveen with heavy blows to seal the victory in Round 4.
In the second fight, Haryana Warriors' captain Neeraj Goyat beat Delhi Gladiators' Vanlulpuwia by a Split Decision to secure the much-needed three points for his team. Neeraj started the match on the front foot as he used his experience in Round 1 to keep out the debutant, Gladiators' Vanlalpuwia. Neeraj kept his guard up in Round 2 as Vanlalpuwia started to come into his own. However, Neeraj used his experience to defend well as Vanlalpuwia started to show some technical strength to counter and take control of the game. But the latter's efforts were not enough on the night as the judges awarded the victory to Warriors' captain Neeraj Goyat to put the teams level on points after the second fight.
However, Delhi Gladiators restored their lead again as Delhi Gladiators' Shivani Dahiya beat Haryana Warriors' Suman Kumari by a margin of three points as a result of Split Decision. The first fight of Super Boxing League in the Female Fly category started off with the more experienced Shivani Dahiya being the aggressor as she launched clear-cut punches on her opponent in Round 1. Shivani kept the pressure on her opponent in Round 2 as Suman's inexperience proved to be the difference. Round 3 and 4 witnessed a similar story as Shivani produced a masterclass of her own, throwing punches on Suman from all directions to take the points tally to 6-3 in Gladiators' favour.
The fourth fight saw Delhi Gladiators' captain, Pawan Maan take on Haryana Warriors' Amit Kumar in the Middle Weight category. In the first Round, both pugilists kept their shape in order to not give-in to their opponents' initial attacks. However, Round 2 saw Pawan Maan controlling the fight by the scruff of its neck as he threw some heavy hands on Amit Kumar. The latter seemed to have lost some confidence in himself as he looked more fatigued of the two boxers after the second round itself. Pawan Maan produced some beautiful combinations in Round 3 to take full control of the fight as Amit failed to match his opponent. Amit did try to make a comeback into the fight in Round 4 but it was too little, too late for the 25-year old as Delhi Gladiators' skipper Pawan Maan extended his team's lead to 9-3 as he won the bout by Unanimous Decision.
It was up to Haryana Warriors' Sukhdeep Singh to pull the match in his team's favor as he took on Delhi Gladiators' Gaganpreet Sharma in the Super Middle Weight category. Both the boxers started the first Round with a display of skills and patience as they maintained great head-movement, aggression and combination. Round 2 saw both fighters exchanging punches to maintain their flow but Gaganpreet stood out as he closed the gap well. It was important for Sukhdeep Singh to Knock Out his opponent in the next two Rounds if he was to help his team in closing down the margin. However, 27-year old Sharma held on to maintain his composure and avoid a Knock Out as Singh struck some nasty blows in Round 4 to win the bout by Split Decision to put the scores 9-6 in Delhi Gladiators' favour.
In the last fight of the night, Haryana Warriors' Jagdeep Singh had the opportunity to put the teams level on points or even take the win as he took on Delhi Gladiators' Jagroop Singh in the Heavyweight category. In what turned out to be the most competitive bout of the evening, both pugilists exchanged punches through their left and right hands in Round 1. However, the energy shown by both the boxers meant that they lost some composure in Round 2 which slowed down the fight. The two exchanged more one-twos and jams in the third Round as it made for an interesting finish to the fight. In the final round, both the boxers focused more on guarding themselves against blows, however, Delhi Gladiators' Jagroop Singh had the upper hand which was proved by the referees as he won the bout by Split Decision to give his side the victory 12-6.
Speaking on the maiden victory in the Super Boxing League, Delhi Gladiators' captain Pawan Maan said,
"I am extremely proud of the team as they produced a fine performance to start the league on a high. This win will give all our team members the confidence to keep the momentum in the future matches. I could not have imagined a better way to start the SBL."
Haryana Warriors' captain Neeraj Goyat also spoke about how his team was not lucky enough on the night. He said,
"We did our best to perform well for the team but sometimes it is not enough. We were a bit unlucky today as there were a couple of fights which could have gone either way. It is just the start of the league so we will now focus on making all the improvements that we can."
The fights in Super Boxing League will be held over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday and will be telecasted live on SONY ESPN and SONY ESPN HD at the prime time slot of 7:00 - 9:30 PM. The fights will also be live streamed on SPNs digital platform SONY LIV.