Boxing: Fame for Adams but fortune awaits Joshua

Gold medallists will be treading very different paths as super-heavyweight turns professional and earns millions while lightweight woman will get nothing

Mo Farah, Jess Ennis, Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Bradley Wiggins, Ben Ainslie, little Tom Daley and all. These are Britain's names of the Games whose fame will also be their fortune, though none is likely to come close to banking as much bullion as Anthony Joshua, the super-heavyweight who now has the world at his fists as the new golden boy of boxing whenever he chooses to turn professional.

But one 2012 performance stands out for me, that of Nicola Adams, the supreme example of girl power who, in becoming the first Olympic female boxing champion, has done much for women's rights – and lefts. The nation has fallen in love with the tiny Leeds larruper. Boxing's sunshine girl is such a sweetheart out of the ring and a veritable demon inside it.

Yet while big Josh stands to make more dosh than any other winner in these Games – including Usain Bolt – Adams is as famous but will never be remotely as rich. The little and large of Britain's most successful Olympic boxing squad contrasts not only in size. Joshua has a potential gold mine; Adams a gold medal – and that's it. More or less. Never mind all that Million Dollar Baby talk, there's no real money in women's boxing, even on the American and European circuits. Anyway, Adams won't join them.

Adams, 29, has been boxing since 1999 and scraped a living as a TV soap extra and part-time painter and decorator before she became more proficient with the gloves. The British Amateur Boxing Association are wisely organising a management company to collate the offers she is receiving for endorsements and public appearances, so she will make a few bob – deservedly so because she is worth more than the occasional guest spot on A Question of Sport.

It is her happy humility that has enchanted us. "It doesn't bother me that I'm not going to make vast amounts of money," she told me. "I've never even thought about that. Things have been manic for these past few days, everywhere I go I seem to be recognised and people just want to see my gold medal. But I'm just a normal girl from Leeds who's won a gold medal doing a sport I love and I am content with that, though I would like to be the world champion and defend my title in Rio."

She added: "The Chinese girl I beat in the final, Ren Cancan, I fought three times and lost to twice in World Championship finals, so this was really satisfying. I never knew I could box so well. When I knocked her down, I thought, 'Is this really happening? I'm going to be the Olympic champion.' I just couldn't believe it." Well, she does now.

And so does Joshua now that fistfuls of promoters from both sides of the Atlantic are scrabbling for his signature, reckoned to be worth at least £3 million for starters. They may have to wait a while but sooner rather than later the 22-year-old from Finchley will be following the pro path taken by former Olympic heavy-weight champs, including Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Lennox Lewis, Wladimir Klitschko and Audley Harrison. Like the flyweight Adams, he has a winning smile, and he is also a lucky young man. To be brutally honest, I thought he lost his opening bout to the classy Cuban Erislandy Savon and got a rather dodgy result from the ringside judges in the final against Italy's veteran reigning champion, Roberto Cammarelle.

But even better judges are convinced Joshua can be a professional world-beater. "This kid has what it takes to be the world champion," says Lewis, and one hopes that Joshua turns out more like him than Harrison as a pro. Both were at ringside for the final – as was Klitschko, who is keen to add Joshua to the K2 promotional stable run by himself and brother Vitali, grooming him as their successor rather than an opponent.

British promoters Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn are also in contention, but soon after the fight Joshua was locked in deep conversation with Amir Khan, who aims to become a promoter in his own right and whose US backers Goldenboy sent their chief executive, Richard Schaefer, to size up the Londoner.

Also like Adams, Joshua says it has never been about money, and he would like to stay amateur as long as possible. Khan told him there is no rush. "Anthony has the physique and personality that boxing needs as well as the talent," he says. "They'd love him in America because they are desperate for a new heavyweight to come on to the scene. He needs the right people around him."

At least Adams can find comfort in the fact she already has the support she needs after women's boxing has taken such a long time to get into the Olympic ring. If nothing else, it has been worth her wait in gold.

Legends who never turned pro

Dick McTaggart The Dundee-born lightweight was Olympic champion in Melbourne in 1956 and won bronze in Rome four years later. Won 610 of his 634 fights.

Teofilo Stevenson The Cuban heavyweight won gold in 1972, 1976 and 1980, and claimed three world amateur titles. Died in June aged 60.

Felix Savon Another Cuban heavyweight, who won gold in 1992, 1996 and 2000 and picked up six World Championship titles. Now helps train young Cuban fighters, including his nephew Erislandy Savon, whom Joshua beat in his opening bout of London 2012.

Mario Kindelan Cuban lightweight won Olympic gold in Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004 – beating Amir Khan in the final. Unbeaten from 1999 to his retirement in 2004, winning three world amateur titles.

Roberto Cammarelle Italian super-heavyweight champion in Beijing 2008, he lost his title to Joshua in London. World amateur champion in 2007 and 2009.

Will Aitkenhead

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own