Adams right on track for Rio title defence
Great Britain’s Nicola Adams became first woman to win an Olympic boxing title when she took flyweight gold at London 2012. And in 2016 she claimed the world 51kg title, underlining her status as a firm favourite to win a second gold in Rio.
Olympic women’s boxing’s first ever gold medal winner, Great Britain’s Nicola Adams ended her long wait for a world title in Astana (KAZ) in May this year, outpointing Thailand’s Peamwilai Laopeam to complete a full set of gold medals.
In addition to her Olympic and world crowns, the 33-year-old Adams also topped the podium at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the 2015 European Games, the 2011 European Championships and the European Union Championships in 2011 and 2013.
I want to create history by becoming a double Olympic champion. Nicolas Adams Great Britain - Nicolas Adams Great Britain
Her landmark Olympic triumph came in the first of the three women’s boxing finals in London, where the sport was making its Games debut. After overcoming Bulgaria’s Stoyka Petrova 16-6 in the quarter-finals and India’s Mary Kom 11-6 in the semis, the popular Leeds pugilist took on China’s Ren Cancan in the battle for gold, having lost to her at the two previous world championships.
A popular winner
Boxing to the very best of her ability, Adams dominated the gold-medal bout from start to finish. Making the most of her incisive right jab, she surged into a 4-2 first-round lead over her southpaw opponent, to the delight of a boisterous home crowd.
Following a few words of encouragement from her coach, the British boxer poured on the pressure in round two, sending Cancan to the floor with a superb right-left combination with 52 seconds remaining. Though the Chinese boxer was able to get back on her feet, she could not get back into the fight, as Adams streaked away to record an emphatic 16-7 win, serenaded by chants of “Nicola! Nicola!”.
“I’m absolutely over the moon,” said the history-making Briton on climbing out of the ring. “I’d like to thank the supporters. There was a great atmosphere here when I was coming in. It’s been absolutely fabulous all the way through the tournament. The amount of support we’ve had: it’s been great. I’m so happy. I was trying to hold back the tears before, when I first got out.
“It’s just a dream come true for me. I’ve been training since I was 12 years old, and to think that my childhood dream has finally come true. Taking the gold medal back to Leeds will be very special. I think this first Olympic women’s boxing tournament has raised the profile of our sport, and I think a lot of girls are going to get into boxing.”
The history girl
Four years on from that memorable triumph, and having finally ended a run of three consecutive world championship silvers, Adams is right on course to defend her title this coming August.
“I want to create history by becoming a double Olympic champion,” she said, contemplating her date with destiny in Rio. “I’d love to be able to do that. I think about it a lot, it always puts a smile on my face and gives me motivation.
“I keep listening to my coaches, I’m staying focused, staying dedicated and that could be me. I could be standing on top of the podium again, a double Olympic champion, making history and doing something for my country. It would be a great moment.”
Predicting successful Games for her country’s female boxers, she added: “It’s an exciting time for British boxing. We’ve got so many talented young boxers at the moment, they’re all hungry and they are all eager. They all want that Olympic medal, I think we’re going to have some fantastic boxers doing some great things at the Olympic Games this year. Everybody is buzzing and so excited. It’s just one step closer to completing the dream.”
Looking ahead to her title defence, she said: “I think I’m just more experienced now, I’m more of a rounded athlete. I know what to expect at these major competitions, I’ve been there, done it and got the T-shirt. That makes the difference really, nothing is a surprise and you know what to expect. I know what it’s all like and I’m ready for everything.”