Pooja Rani, the reigning Asian champion, defeated Algeria’s Ichrak Chaib by unanimous decision in the women’s 75kg (middleweight) category.
India’s two-time Asian champion Pooja Rani outpunched Ichrak Chaib of Algeria with ease in the women’s 75kg round of 16 bout and advanced to the quarter-finals at the Tokyo Olympics.
Pooja Rani, 30, started cautiously against the 20-year-old younger Algerian, who came out swinging in the opening round. Ichrak’s aggression was countered well by the Indian’s right-left combination.
The second round saw an energetic start from both pugilists, but Pooja stepped back and countered to earn her points. The Indian defended well against Ichrak’s swings and connected when the Algerian dropped her guard to attack.
All judges voted in the Indian’s favour in both rounds.
Pooja Rani, the world No. 8, looked confident in the final round, knowing she had done enough to win her first-ever Olympic bout. Strong defence and opportunistic left jabs from the much more experienced Pooja gave her a clear 5-0 victory.
Pooja will now face fellow two-time Asian champion Li Qian of China, also a Rio 2016 bronze medallist and the 2018 world champion, in the quarter-final on Saturday.
Other Indian boxers MC Mary Kom and Lovlina Borgohain have also won their first round bouts.