Boxing: Nikhat Zareen edges out Pinki Rani to help Rhinos to victory against Brawlers

North East Rhinos Nikhat Zareen drew from the reserves of her energy and skill to edge out Pinki Rani of the Bengaluru Brawlers in the women’s 51kg bout on the second day of the Big Bout League at the Gautam Buddha University Indoor Stadium in Noida. Her win breathed life into Rhinos’ faltering campaign.

In a close battle, Pinki Rani gained the upper-hand in the first round. Nikhat Zareen responded well to rally to a 3-2 decision in the most eagerly awaited bout of the day.

She inspired Rhinos to rally from 1-3 to a 4-3 win. Daksh and Laldin Mawia posted victories in the men’s 75kg and men’s 52kg bouts over Nitin Kumar and Ashish Insah to help Rhinos pull the rug from under Bengaluru Brawlers’ feet. Daksh was overwhelmingly dominant while Laldin Mawia claimed a split decision.

Rhinos picked up their first point through Mandeep Jangra, who marked his return to the boxing ring with a hard-fought split-decision win over Dinesh Dagar in the men’s 57kg bout. Jangra, who has been away from the limelight for a while, showed no signs of nerves as he wore Dagar down and walked away with a 4:1 win.

Reyal Puri, Simranjeet Kaur and Gaurav Bidhuri’s victories for the Brawlers left the Rhinos facing a tall order. Reyal Puri gave Uzbek boxer Ergashev Timor a bloodied nose in the second round of the opening bout to force the referee to stop the 91kg class contest.

World Championship bronze medalist Simranjit Kaur dished out a few lessons to 19-year-old Jony in women’s 60kg clash while the seasoned Gaurav Bidhuri secured a split-decision win over Mohammed Etash in the men’s 57kg bout. Needing to win one of the remaining three bouts, Bengaluru Brawlers were unable to find a winning finish.

Predictably, the Rhinos blocked the youth women’s 57kg bout that would have pit Arshi Khanam against Neha Kasnyal. The system of blocking a bout has been introduced in the Big Bout as a strategic element. No team can block the same boxer more than twice in the Big Bout.

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