Pooja, faced with 2012 world champion Savannah Marshall of Britain, went down 0-3 in a lopsided contest to end India’s quest for Rio quota berths in the event. Marshall is also the reigning Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
Earlier, five-time champion M C Mary Kom (51kg) and L Sarita Devi (60kg) had also exited after losing in the second round of an event where 12 slots in three Olympic categories are up for grabs. Women boxers made their Olympic debut in the 2012 London Games where India’s sole representative Mary Kom had won a bronze medal.
However, in the non-Olympic categories, Nikhat Zareen (54kg), Sonia Lather (57kg) and Saweety (81kg) advanced to the quarterfinals with contrasting victories.
Zareen was the first to take the ring on Sunday against Canada’s Erica Adeji. The former junior world champion Indian was in her elements from the beginning itself and was hardly stretched before notching up a 3-0 victory.
She will next face third-seeded Chinese Piaopiao Liu in the last-eight stage.Next up was Saweety, who had to endure an exhausting contest against Belarus’ Victoriya Kebikava before winning 2-1.