Steve Bunce on Boxing: Nicola Adams’ legacy is a huge hit with the girls

 

Bout No 11 in ring A at the Haringey Box Cup on Sunday was between a Midlands bouncer and a part-time singer from London’s East End; in the end the blonde girl from Canning Town won the middleweight title.

Lauren Johnson, the loser on points, works on the doors in Wolverhampton and is a member at the Walsall Wood club; the final on Sunday was just her fourth contest. However, she is also a brilliant statistic: since the Olympic Games, where women’s boxing featured for the first time, female participation at amateur clubs has increased from 23,300 to 36,900 each week.

“I’m boxing here for a gold medal because I saw the boxing at the Olympics,” said Johnson before her final. “I watched the boxing at the Olympics, saw the women and I joined a club.” On Sunday at the Haringey Box Cup, which is now in its sixth year and had more boxers last weekend than took part in last summer’s Olympics, 18 of the 69 finals were either women or girls.

In 2009 Nicola Adams, who boxed for the Haringey Police club, won the HBC 54 kilo title; in 2010 Anthony Joshua won at super-heavyweight; and Katie Taylor, the Irishwoman who won gold at the Olympics, fought twice to secure her own HBC gold the same year. On Sunday I marked my sheet with a dozen names from the finals that take place at London’s Alexandra Palace. It is a monumental event, put on by hundreds of volunteers and costing about £60,000.

During the finals, Ellie Booth, from Portsmouth, won the same title as Adams when she beat the world No 9, Sarah-Joy Rae from Switzerland. Booth is 21, has been in and out of boxing gyms since she was nine and works as a nursery nurse. “I know what Nicola achieved and she inspires us all,” said Booth.

This year’s female section was not as strong as usual because the EU Championships start this Monday in Hungary and a lot of countries held back their best boxers for that event. Adams will box next week in her first outing since winning gold last summer and changing for ever the way people look at women boxing. Adams gaining sweet, sweet revenge over the world champion, Ren Cancan of China, in the Olympic final, when she dropped her rival with a left hook, was both a glorious and sobering image.

The EU event is the start of a three-year programme for Adams, who has picked up an MBE, that ends at the Rio Games in 2016, with a pit stop next summer at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. “I’m just delighted to be back in the ring,” said Adams. “It has been too long and I can’t wait to get in there.”

At the end of three long days of boxing, involving nearly 400 boxers, the fighters left, promising victory next June – that is, assuming the organisers can raise the cash. “I will be back and I will win this title,” vowed Johnson, watched closely by her coach, Tony Wilson, the former British light-heavyweight champion. Wilson was once in an infamous fight involving a woman when his mother, a ringside guest, climbed through the ropes and started hitting his opponent, Steve McCarthy, with her shoe during a contest in 1989. Minna Wilson cut McCarthy’s head with her heel, he had three stitches, did not continue and her son was awarded the fight by a third-round stoppage. Women in boxing rings have come a long, long way since that crazy night.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Sport
The RBS Six Nations trophy at the Aviva Stadium ahead of Ireland vs England
rugby
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West found himself at the centre of a critical storm over the weekend after he apparently claimed to be “the next Mandela” during a radio interview
music
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
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: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?