Boxing: Nicola Adams becomes first woman to win Olympic boxing gold

 

Ending an inspired performance with an Ali Shuffle as a mark of respect for the man who inspired her to take up boxing when she was 12 years old, Nicola Adams sealed her place in history as the first ever women's Olympic boxing champion.

Adams' years battling funding crises and crippling injury were blown away in a simply magnificent 16-7 win over China's world number one Ren Cancan, an opponent who had beaten her in their previous two World Championship finals.

With 10 seconds to go on the clock, Adams performed her now customary Shuffle by the ropes, a final mark of victory which brought the roaring ExCeL crowd to its feet to acclaim a seminal British and Olympic moment.

Afterwards, beaming Adams insisted the crowning moment of her career would not change her, and that she was looking forward to nothing more than a meal with her family, and going home to greet her pet doberman puppy, Dexter.

Adams said: "I just like being the normal Nicky Adams, walking my dog and doing the normal day to day things. I think it's probably going to change now but I'm going to try to stick to what I normally do as much as possible.

"It will only be once everything settles down that I'll think, 'wow, I've actually done it.' It's like a fairytale ending for me. I've dreamed about this moment since I was 12 years old watching Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard.

"I saw them get their gold medals and I always dreamed I'd be able to do the same thing one day. To think I've finally done it I'm over the moon. I was really trying to fight back tears. I've been working all my life for this day."

In a raucous home crowd atmosphere, Adams produced a performance she rated as the finest of her career, simply dismantling the accomplished Ren to the extent that the contest was as good as over by the half-way stage.

Two points up after a dominant first, Adams poured home the punches in round two, a flicking left and overhand right sending Ren heavily to the canvas, and a succession of quick counters completely befuddling a foe who was being made to look like a novice.

It was a staggering round by Adams, who took a 9-4 lead into the second half of the contest, but will have known to stay on her guard against an opponent who has dominated at the top of her division for four years.

But by the end of the third, Adams had amassed an enormous 14-5 lead and her gold was as good as in the bag. At the verdict, she repeatedly punched the air and saluted all four sides of an arena which stood as one to acclaim her piece of history.

"I spent three months in bed last year not being able to move because of a back injury, and when I first came back to training I went from being able to do 200 sit-ups a day to not being able to do a single one.

"I thought to myself, 'how am I going to get back to being a fighter?' But I stuck to my game-plan and listened to all the doctors and the physios and did what I was told and look at me now - I'm Olympic champion."

PA

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