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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Administrator

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are a world leadin...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her in Latakia
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report