New Delhi, 5 August 2017: The first semi-final of the inaugural season of Super Boxing League saw Maratha Yoddhas beat Delhi Gladiators by a score line of 12-10 to register their place in the final here at the Siri Fort Squash & Badminton Stadium.
It was Rakesh Lohchab, Shivani Dahiya and Gaganpreet Sharma who won their respective bouts for the Delhi Gladiators to put their team into a 10-6 lead after five bouts. However, it was Maratha Yoddhas’ Sandeep Chhikara who proved to be the hero for his team as he won the last bout of the match by a Knock Out as Maratha Yoddhas won 12-10. Earlier in the night, Mahesh Digari and captain Deepak Tanwar had also won their respective bouts. The match was witnessed by Delhi Gladiators’ owner and Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput who was joined by fellow actors Ayushmaan Khurana, Kriti Sanon and Rajkumar Rao.
The first bout of the night saw Delhi Gladiators’ Rakesh Lohchab take on Maratha Yoddhas’ Sandeep Singh in the Feather Weight category. The Yoddhas’ man Singh started the bout on the front foot as he threw some good combinations on his opponent in Round 1 while Gladiators’ Lohchab focused on keeping his guard up. It was a close fight as Lohchab threw some beautiful punches on Singh in Round 2 & 3 to take the lead. The last and final Round saw Lohchab push the pace as he aimed for the win and it meant that he smacked the better punches on his opponent to run away with the victory by Unanimous Decision as Delhi Gladiators took a 3-0 lead.
In the second bout of the night, it was up to Maratha Yoddhas’ Mahesh Digari to cut down the lead for his team as he faced Vanlalawmpuia from the Delhi Gladiators in the Welter Weight category. Both the boxers started Round 1 cautiously as they waited patiently to work out each other’s strategy. However, Round 2 saw Vanlalawmpuia get the better of his opponent as he hit Digari with some beautiful combinations. However, Digari finished the fight on the upper hand as he won Round 3 & 4 by hitting some barging combinations on Vanlalawmpuia to win the bout by Unanimous Decision and level the points at 3-3 after two bouts.
The third bout of the night saw Delhi Gladiators’ Shivani Dahiya take on Maratha Yoddhas’ Lalnunfeli in the Super Fly category. It was important for both the boxers to win the bout as it would give their side the lead in the semi-final. Dahiya started the fight brightly as she impressed with some barging blows on Lalnunfeli to get the Round 1 underway. Gladiators’ Shivani Dahiya utilised her experience in Round 2 as she dodged Lalnunfeli’s punches to hit her on the counter. The Yoddhas’ boxer was getting the better punches in the second Round. However, 22-year-old Dahiya came into her own in Round 3 & 4 to hit Lalnunfeli with strong jabs and combinations. The fight was very well matched between the two fighters, but it was Shivani Dahiya who got the better hits, which resulted in her being awarded the victory by Unanimous Decision to put the Delhi Gladiators into the lead 6-3.
The fourth fight of the night saw Maratha Yoddhas’ captain Deepak Tanwar face Delhi Gladiators’ captain Pawan Maan in the Middle Weight category. It was the bout of the night as both the captains were up against each other in an important match. However, it was Yoddhas’ skipper who proved why he is so dangerous in such matches as he started Round 1 with a flurry of punches on Maan to put him on the defence. Round 2 & 3 saw a similar story as Gladiators’ skipper Maan seemed to have slowed down as a result of getting hit and Tanwar made the most of it to hit him with some clean and strong combinations. Maan got the better hits in the last Round but it proved to be too little, too late for the Gladiators’ boxer as Deepak Tanwar was awarded the victory by Unanimous Decision which meant that the Yoddhas equalised 6-6.
The next bout was between Gaganpreet Sharma of the Delhi Gladiators and Bhupender Singh of the Maratha Yoddhas in the Super Middle Weight category. It proved to be a mistake from the Yoddhas as they fielded a debutant in the form of Bhupender Singh. Gladiators’ Gaganpreet Sharma started the first Round with some strong punches on Singh and continued the rhythm in Round 2 as he knocked some amazing punches. Sharma looked to have found the mojo on the night as he took advantage of Singh’s weaknesses and had put him into a bad spot which resulted in the referee stopping the fight after 2 minutes and 58 seconds in Round 2 after Sharma had knocked down Singh. It meant that the Gladiators’ Sharma was awarded the victory by Technical Knock Out to put his team into a 10-6 lead.
The last bout of the night was a crucial one as a win for the Delhi Gladiators would win the match for them, and a win for the Maratha Yoddhas would give them a chance to make a comeback. It was Delhi Gladiators’ Jagroop Singh who faced Maratha Yoddhas’ Sandeep Chhikara in the Heavy Weight category. The two boxers started the first Round slowly as they looked to maintain their shape. However, it was Yoddhas’ Sandeep Chhikara who dominated the fight in Round 2 to knock some impressive combinations on Singh. It meant that Singh lost some composure and Chhikara made the most of it as he struck the Knock Out blow in Round 3 to win the bout. The referee awarded a Knock Out victory to Chhikara which meant that he won the match for his side to beat the Delhi Gladiators 12-10.