NE Rhinos rode efforts by skipper Nikhat Zareen and Mandeep Jangra to script a 4-3 victory over Bombay Bullets in their penultimate league match in the Big Bout Indian Boxing League at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here on Saturday.
Teenaged debutant Ambeshori Devi Huidram (youth women's 57kg) and Argentina's Francisco Veron (75kg) earned crucial points for NE Rhinos in a match that had seen the teams tied for the fourth place with 11 points each at the start of the contest.
The women's 51kg battle between captains Nikhat (NE Rhinos) and Olympic bronze medallist Ingrit Lorena Valencia of Spain and the 69kg bout between Mandeep Jangra (Rhinos) and Naveen Bora (Bullets) brought the fans to the edge of their seats.
Nikhat earned a unanimous points verdict against the Spaniard who looked jaded when fighting her fourth successive bout and went down to her second loss.
Mandeep had to stay focussed against the unconventional no-guard and teasing approach that 20-year-old Naveen Boora brought to the ring. The seasoned boxer used dodges and effective jabs to gain an edge over the younger boxer in a split 3-2 verdict.
Earlier, Ambeshori Devi Huidram made a winning debut for NE Rhinos with a come from behind victory over Priya Kushwaha in the youth women's 57kg bout. The 16-year-old overcame a sluggish start to turn the bout on its head with her calm approach.
Bullets' Cuba-born Spanish star Emmanuel Reyas gave Ergashev Timur no chance at all in the 91kg bout, while Kavinder Singh Bisht beat debutant Sehran Sandhu with a 4-1 points verdict.
Ananta Chopade pulled a point back in the final bout with a win over rookie Govind Kumar Sahini.
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