She might be able to fight her own corner in the ring, but Britain's first women's boxing Olympic medallist Nicola Adams says her mum still worries about her being out on her own at night.
The flyweight made history by winning a place in this afternoon’s semi-finals, guaranteeing herself at least a bronze.
But despite being a double European and world champion, Adams, 29, said that her mother Denver, a hairdresser, still frets about her being out in London alone.
She said: “In 10 years of boxing, I’ve never had a broken nose or bust lip or a black eye. I’ve got quite long arms, that way I can get away with some of the moves I do.
“But despite all I’ve achieved, my mum also still gets nervous if I’m walking about at night. It’s something that mothers just do.”
Adams was just 13 when she won her first bout and in 2001 she was the youngest woman ever to represent England. Now regarded as a veteran, the trailblazer is the last British woman standing at London 2012 — the first time women’s boxing has been permitted at the Olympics.
The medal is all the more remarkable given her horrendous 2009, in which she was ruled out with a back injury so serious she had to spend months in bed. The Leeds-born fighter, who has fought for Haringey Police Community Boxing Club, cracked a vertebra after falling down the stairs on the way to a bout.
She still fought — and won — but was forced out of the ring for a year. “Even lifting a glass of milk hurt,” she said. “I was living with my mum because I couldn’t do anything for myself. I had no funding, no money and had to stay in bed all the time.”
Since the start of last year, Adams has been based at the English Institute of Sporin Sheffield where Team GB’s boxing squad train.
Adams has taught children from disadvantaged backgrounds how to box and said controlled fighting was a good way to keep them out of trouble. She said: “After a session, they are a bit too tired to do anything else.”
Adams swept through her quarter final against Stoyka Petrova in front of a roaring crowd at the ExCeL on Monday.
- Adams's coach has called for men and women to compete in an equal number of weight categories at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Brian John said this would give Britain’s women boxers a shot at winning 10 golds.
Three women’s boxing events have been introduced at the London Games: Flyweight (51kg); Lightweight (60kg); and Middleweight (75kg). Men compete in 10 weight categories from Light Flyweight (49kg) up to Super Heavyweight (+91kg).