Mary Spencer of Windsor, Ont., considered a medal favourite for Canada in the 75-kilogram category at the London Summer Olympic Games, lost her opening bout Monday at the AIBA women's world boxing championships in Qinhuangdao, China.
"Anna boxed great," Spencer said in a media release issued after the bout. "I hope she does well in this tournament."
Boxing Canada's media spokesperson Jackie Skender posted the news on Twitter following the fight.
"Tough loss : CAN boxer Mary Spencer upset (18-11) by Anna Laurell of Sweden today at the World Champs in China," Skender tweeted.
Women's boxing is making its debut at the London Games, with the worlds in China serving as a qualification event.
Robert Crete of Boxing Canada said he was "surprised" by the result but said Spencer still has a shot at the Games.
The world championships are being held in 10 divisions, but a lot of the focus is on the three to be contested at the Olympics: 51-kilogram flyweight; 60-kilogram lightweight; and 75-kilogram middleweight.
Spencer could still earn an Olympic wild-card spot as there will be a guaranteed two fighters in the 75-kg class from the Americas. A tripartite IOC commission could nominate fighters, if necessary.
"Right now, Mary is still ranked No. 1 in the world," Crete said. "Look at her past record as three-time world champion. So I think that is going to go in her favour."
It wasn't the only surprising result in the weight class on Monday. Claressa Shields, the 17-year-old teen from Flint, Mich., who surprised Spencer earlier this year, lost her bout to Savannah Marshall of Great Brtiain, 14-8.
Melissa Guillemette of Quebec City lost in the 57-kg class to Iulia Tysplakova of Ukraine, 19-16. Guillemette had won her first bout.