- Published on Thursday, 23 August 2012 16:31
Pride of Great Britain Nicola Adams re-wrote history at the ExCeL Arena during the XXX Olympiad after becoming the first ever woman to claim a boxing gold medal at the Olympic Games. Delighting the home crowd, the 29-year-old from Yorkshire crowned a glorious career with her triumph in the Flyweight (51kg) category.
Adams was born in Leeds on 26 October 1982 and attended Agnes Stewart Church of England High School in the area. She took up boxing at the age of 12, way back in 1994, just after AIBA had finally received the approval to have women’s boxing on the international calendar. She trained with her coach Bob Dillon but due to the lack of women’s tournaments in the nineties, she was only able to showcase her skills in two events before her age of 18.
Orthodox fighter Adams became the first ever British woman boxer to represent her country in an international event in 2001 when she took part in a friendly match against Ireland. She was a member of Haringey Police Community Club and won her first English national title in 2003, a title she has since defended several times.
A pioneer, she then went on to become the first British woman boxer to win a medal in a major international event when she advanced to the final of the 2007 European Women’s Championships in Vejle. In the gold medal contest, she faced two-time AIBA World Champion Sofya Ochigava, but the Russian who was too strong for her in the Danish city and she had to settle for silver.
Her first worldwide event was the 2008 AIBA Women’s World Championships in Ningbo City where she advanced to the final but was defeated by Poland’s Karolina Michalczuk.
She suffered a serious back injury in 2009 and needed several months to get back to full fitness but she came back strong, securing a silver medal once again at the AIBA Women’s World Championships Bridgetown 2010, this time losing to China’s Cancan Ren in the final.
Following her first European title in Rotterdam last year, Adams defeated her main rival, Cancan Ren at the Strandja Memorial Tournament to boost her confidence. The AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships Qinhuangdao 2012 was also the Olympic qualifier and was another chance to show the world what she could do. Cancan Ren once again defeated her but despite this loss; Adams was brimming with confidence going into the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Nicknamed ‘Babyface’, she began her assault on the Olympic Flyweight (51kg) title in style as she dominated Bulgaria’s Stoyka Petrova 16:7 in the quarter-finals. Adams continued her winning ways with a 11:6 victory against India’s five-time AIBA World Pinweight (46kg) Champion Chungneijang Mery Kom Hmangte to advance to the final.
In the gold medal contest, she faced her main rival and nemesis at the last two World Championships, China’s Cancan Ren. Adams boxed out of her skin in that fight, boosted by the raucous local support, she excelled in all four rounds, even flooring her opponent in the second, as she claimed the first ever women’s boxing gold medal at the Olympic Games with a 16:7 win.
She declared post-fight, "It's a dream come true. I've just wanted this all my life. To think I've finally done it, I'm finally here. All this support has really made my day."
She has always followed a classic five-day training week which combines work on general technique, distance running and varied sparring session. She has appeared as an extra in British soap operas Coronation Street and Emmerdale and while away from boxing, she can be found in the mountains on a snowboard.
Her gold medal in the British capital has made her a national icon and pioneer for women’s boxing in the country.