Tokyo Olympics | Pooja Rani overpowers Ichrak in women’s 75kg pre-quarterfinal bout

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The Indian will be assured of a medal if she beats China’s Li Qian in the quarterfinals

Asian champion Pooja Rani’s clinical performance helped her beat promising Algerian boxer Ichrak Chaib 5-0 in a women’s 75kg pre-quarterfinal bout at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.

Pooja will take on Olympic bronze medallist and former World champion Li Qian of China, who got a bye in the first round, in the quarterfinals.

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After Lovlina Borgohain, Pooja is the second Indian boxer to enter the last-eight stage of the Tokyo Games.

The experienced Bhiwani woman used her right jabs and the follow-up left punches well to stay ahead of the brave Algerian, who delivered some well-directed shots on her opponent.

The 30-year-old Pooja bobbed and weaved smartly to avoid Ichrak’s blows. She employed her right-left combinations, interspersed with double right-lefts, to get 5-0 verdicts in the first two rounds.

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The Algerian, 10 years younger to the Indian, went all out in the final round, but Pooja relied on her fine footwork and surprise left hooks to seal the issue.

Pooja, who lost to Qian in the semifinals of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and the 2020 Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifier in Amman, will be keen to get past the Chinese and move into the medal bracket.

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