Punjab Royals won its first match in the second season of the Pro Wrestling League Season 4-3 against Mumbai Maharathi here on Thursday with captain Vladimir Khinchegashvili and multiple Olympic medallist Toghrul Asgarov leading the charge for the winner.
With both teams having lost their opening matches in the PWL, it was a desperate attempt to earn their first points and, despite Nigerian Odunayo Adekuoroye being blocked, Punjab had enough in its ranks to edge ahead.
Khinchegashvili led from the front, opening the match against Rahul Aware in the 57kg for the first bout of the day and proved his class straighaway.
Aware, who had comprehensively won his previous bout against Sandeep Tomar, was no match to the Rio Games gold medallist who had a 4-0 lead at the end of Round One.
It became 7-1 before Aware managed to get two points right at the end even as Khinchegashvili seemed to have relaxed, sure of his victory.
For Mumbai, captain Erica Wiebe of Canada was the stand-out performer, coming back from a two-point deficit at the end of Round One and a nasty cut above her eye at the five-minute mark to win 4-2 against Vasilisa Marzaliuk in the women's 75kg.
The Rio champion took down her opponent with 15 seconds to go for two points that proved crucial.
Sarita avenged her loss to Manju in the 2016 Commonwealth Championships final with a narrow 2-1 win in the 58kg category while Pavlo Oliynyk won 2-0 against Krishan Kumar in the 97kg for the other Mumbai wins.
Lead keeps changing
Nirmal Devi relied on her experience to down Carolina Castillo of Columbia 3-0 in the 48kg and Pankaj Rana won 9-8 against Pritam in a topsy-turvy bout in the men's 70kg category, that saw both wrestlers exchanging lead repeatedly, to give Punjab a healthy lead before a dominant Asgarov sealed the matter with a 7-3 win against Vikas Kumar in the 65kg.
Asgarov, the 2012 Olympic champion and silver medalist at Rio, had to make little effort to establish his superiority.
He led 5-0 at the end of the first round, taking down Vikas and pushing him out with ease.
Vikas managed to get behind Asgarov right at the end for two points tor educe the margin but it mattered little.