In a bitterly fought bout Pinki Rani had an edge in the first round, impressing the judges but Nikhat Zareen hit back vigrously to earn a 3-2 decision in her favoure .

She inspired NE 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 NE Rhinos pull the rug from under Bengaluru Brawlers’ feet. Daksh was overwhelmingly dominant while Laldin Mawia claimed a split decision to be able to do a back flip after the verdict was announced.

NE Rhinos picked up their first point through Mandeep Jangra who marked his return to the boxing ring with a hard-fought split decision over Dinesh Dagar in the men’s 57kg bout.

Mandeep Jangra, who has been away from the limelight for a while now, showed no signs of nerves as he let Dinesh Dagar tire himself with an aggressive approach. He waited for the right opening to land scoring punches, showing a keen understanding of the scoring system to win approval of four of the five judges.

With Reyal Puri, Simranjeet Kaur and Gaurav Bidhuri’s victories for the Brawlers left the NE 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.

The 2018 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 over the energetic and competitive Mohammed Etash in the men’s 57kg bout. But needing to win one of the remaining three bouts, Bengaluru Brawlers were unable to find a winning finish.

Earlier, Reyal Puri and Ergashev Timor spent the first round sizing up one another, four judges scoring in favour of the Indian from NE Rhinos. On resumption, Reyal Puri found the opening to land a couple of powerful punches on Timor’s face. The doctor was summoned to the ropes to see if the bleeding could be managed but after two such stops, the referee decided to end the contest in Reyal Puri’s favour.

Predictably, the North-East 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 to increase the concept of team sport in what is essentially an individual sport. No team can block the same boxer more than twice in the Big Bout.