Boxing: Team GB's Nicola Adams assured boxing medal in women's flyweight but Natasha Jonas and Savannah Marshall crash out
Monday 06 August 2012
Nicola Adams guaranteed Great Britain's first women's boxing medal with victory over Bulgaria's Stoyka Petrova at ExCeL today, but there was disappointment for Natasha Jonas and Savannah Marshall who both crashed out.
Adams boxed superbly to secure a 16-7 win and book at least a bronze medal, with a place in the Olympic final at stake on Wednesday when she will face irresistible Indian Mary Kom in a guaranteed flyweight thriller.
Jonas produced a proud performance in losing 26-15 to the seemingly unbeatable four-time world champion Katie Taylor from Ireland, in front a crowd whose noise levels were recorded at 113.7 - officially the loudest of the Games so far.
But there was a shocking loss for world champion Marshall, rated as arguably the hosts' best hope of boxing gold, who produced a flat-footed and lethargic performance in going down 16-12 to Marina Volnova of Kazakhstan.
For Adams, victory and a guaranteed medal was rich reward for a fighter who fought for years in the shadows, dreaming of the day she might be allowed to follow in the footsteps of her hero Muhammad Ali and go to the Olympics.
Adams said: "I had to get an 'Ali shuffle' in there, I've watched so many of his fights and videos. I was enjoying every moment and it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so you've got to suck up the atmosphere.
"I haven't even had time to think about becoming the first British woman to win an Olympic boxing medal. All I know is I've got at least a bronze medal in my back pocket and it feels great. But I want to go home with a different colour."
The Leeds 29-year-old was simply too sharp for her Bulgarian opponent, wobbling Petrova with a short left and a right over the top in the first round, and again with a stabbing left in the second to lead 5-3 at the halfway stage.
Adams will now face five-time world champion Kom in the semi-finals and said: "Mary is a five-time world champion and you have to be special to do that. I just hope that I have got a little bit extra."
Jonas said she was proud to be a pioneer for women's boxing after seeing her Olympic dream shattered by the irresistible Taylor, whose thousands of fans in attendance made ExCeL distinctly neutral territory and created an atmosphere to match anything at the Games so far.
Jonas boxed bravely against Taylor, holding her own for the first two rounds before the Irish fighter's sheer tenacity saw her force two standing counts in the last two rounds and ultimately cruise through to the semi-finals.
Jonas said: "I came here the fittest, leanest, smartest, healthiest boxer I could be but she's the best. There's nothing more I could have done. I could have thrown the kitchen sink and driven a bus into her, but it didn't work.
"I'm proud but disappointed. All I could do was my best on the day and I did that. When you see bouts like that how can you argue that women's boxing isn't as good as the men? I think we've done women's boxing proud."
Delighted Taylor said: "It was such an amazing atmosphere. I knew it was going to be great but it took me by surprise a little bit. I think we're shocking the world here this week, they can't believe the standard and it's opening their eyes to women's boxing."
While Jonas' loss was to be expected, Marshall's 16-12 defeat to Volnova was a real shock, the reigning world champion looking completely out of sorts as she was dragged to defeat by the tougher, more workmanlike Kazakh.
Marshall was distraught after the loss but later composed herself to say: "I'm very disappointed to go out of the Olympics at the first hurdle. I trained very hard but I did not box to my full potential this evening.
"I have to credit my opponent from Kazakhstan who made it very difficult for me to box my normal fight, and all I can do is say sorry to all the coaches and support staff who have done everything they can to get me here."
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