On a disappointing day for Indian boxing, Pooja Rani (75kg) joined world number one Amit Panghal (52kg) in exiting the Olympic Games after an underwhelming performance, going down 0-5 in her quarter-final bout against China’s Li Qian in Tokyo on Saturday.
Qian, who is a former world champion and a Rio Olympics bronze-medallist, thoroughly outpunched Rani in the quarterfinals, quite literally taking away her belief with a clinical performance.
This was after Panghal bowed out with a stunning 1-4 loss to Rio Games silver-medallist Yuberjen Martinez, beaten by the Colombian’s relentless attacks and pace in a draining pre-quarterfinal bout.
Rani looked clueless in the ring after showing some spark in the opening round. Qian was ruthless in her counter-hitting every time the debutante Indian tried to launch an offensive, striking straight and clean to assert her dominance.
Even the waiting game didn’t work for Rani, whose fragile defence was easily penetrated by the top-class Chinese boxer, who is now assured of her second Olympic medal.
Earlier Panghal, who was also making his debut in the Games and was seeded top, fizzled out after a good start.
On Friday, Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) became the first Indian boxer to secure a medal at the ongoing Games after advancing to the semifinals. She defeated former world champion Nien-Chin Chen of Chinese Taipei in her quarterfinal bout.
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