SOUTH Yorkshire trained boxer Nicola Adams has made history - winning gold in the women’s flyweight division, writes Graham Waker.
She becomes the first woman boxing champion in Olympic history.
Nicola, from Leeds, who has been based at the English Instuitue of Sport Sheffield and trained at Brendan Ingle’s gym, used to train at the Hard and Fast boxing club in Cudworth, near Barnsley.
Ireland’s Katie Taylor today added Olympic gold in the women’s lightweight division to her four World Championship titles - but she was made to work hard for her 10-8 win over Russia’s Sofya Ochigava amid an extraordinary atmosphere at ExCeL.
Meanwhile Team GB took its golde medla tally to 24 today with British dressage prodigy Charlotte Dujardin rewriting history for the second time this week as she beat her own coach to claim a sensational gold on her Olympic debut.
Boxer Nicola Adams sealed her golden moment with an Ali shuffle as she overwhelmed China’s double world champion Ren Cancan 16-7 to be crowned the first ever Olympic women’s boxing champion at ExCeL.
Adams decked Ren in the second round on her way to a stunningly comprehensive victory against an opponent who had beaten her in each of the previous two World Championship finals.
Adams made a superb start, producing much the cleaner work in the opening round, firing home a quick combination and a left hook and making it difficult for Ren to find her range as she bounced in and out of reach.
A beautiful straight left followed by a right hook towards the end of the round helped Adams into a deserved 4-2 lead, but it was far from over against the Chinese champion who stormed out for the second and landed a big right hand in a furious flurry of action.
Adams was completely unfazed, landing with a beautiful countering left, then a right as she bullied the Chinese fighter into the ropes and unleashed a left followed by a chopping right which dumped Ren to the canvas for a count.
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.
In a quieter third, Adams proved a master at keeping Ren out of range, darting in to score with crisp counters, and at the end of the third the gold medal was at her mercy after establishing a colossal 14-5 lead.
Utterly dominant, Adams continued to dominate the final round, dancing around the outskirts of the ring and landing counters seemingly at will, celebrating with an Ali shuffle in the final 10 seconds to round off a stunning win.
Adams told BBC1: “It’s a dream come true. I’ve just wanted this all my life. To think I’ve finally done it, I’m finally here. All this support has really made my day.”
On the knockdown, she added: “I didn’t even see that coming. It’s just was one of those things, it just happened.
“I’d like thank all the supporters here, all the supporters who’ve followed me.
“I’ve brought that gold medal back to Leeds.
“It’s amazing. To have the flag lifted, I just can’t wait. I’m just so happy and overwhelmed.”
NICOLA ADAMS FACT FILE:
1982: Born October 26 in Leeds.
1995: Starts boxing age 12 at an after-school class held at a Leeds gym, and has her first fight at age of 13.
2001: Becomes first woman boxer to represent England.
2003: Wins first English amateur title.
2007: Wins European silver in Denmark.
2008: Wins world silver in China.
2009: June - Breaks a bone in her back after falling down stairs in her Leeds home, and has to spend several months recovering in bed.
2010: Wins world silver in Barbados.
2012: Wins world silver in China; qualifies for London Olympics.
August 9 - Wins the first ever women’s boxing Olympic gold medal, taking the title in the flyweight division with victory over Chinese double world champion Ren Cancan in London. “It’s a dream come true,” says Adams.
WOMEN IN BOXING:
Women boxers have fought a long and hard battle to compete at the Olympics.
They still face a fight for widespread public recognition but the impressive bouts at the London 2012 Olympics may have helped their cause.
Today, three fighters become the world’s first women’s Olympic boxing champions winning gold at flyweight, lightweight and middleweight.
Here are some key dates in women’s boxing history and the Olympics:
* Ancient Olympics - Kallipateria was the first female Olympic boxing coach in 440 BC. Boxers at the Ancient Olympics wore long strips of leather wrapped around their fists and fought until one man went down or conceded. The Romans used gloves studded with spikes or weighted with lead and fights often ended in death.
* 1896 - Boxing is omitted from the modern Games after the Athens organisers decide it is too dangerous.
* 1904 - Boxing becomes an Olympic sport but it does not appear in the 1912 Stockholm Games because Sweden’s national law banned it.
* 1920 - Boxing returns to the Olympic Games for good.
* 1991 - Amateur boxing for women begins globally in earnest as Canadian women are officially recognised and Sweden stages a women’s amateur match.
* 1994 - The AIBA, the international boxing association, accepts women’s boxing into its programme.
* 1998 - The AIBA Women’s Commission is put in place.
* 1998 - Jane Couch - the Fleetwood Assassin - becomes the first woman to be granted a licence to box legally in England. In a landmark tribunal case, she took on the British Boxing Board of Control to task for sex discrimination over their refusal to grant her a licence to fight in the UK. Couch, who had been denied a boxing licence since June 1997, had gone to the US in order to box.
* 2001 - The first AIBA Women’s World Championships are held in Scranton, US, and are contested by 124 boxers from 31 countries. There were 343 woman boxers from 77 nations competing by the time the seventh world championships were held in Qinhuangdao, China, in 2012.
* 2001 - The Continental Women’s Boxing Championships are held in France and feature 78 boxers from 14 countries, growing to 137 boxers from 26 countries at the last championships, the 18th, in Denmark in 2007.
* May 2003 - The first female novice boxing championships, organised by the Amateur Boxing Association in conjunction with the Police Federation, are held as women’s amateur boxing in England is still in its infancy.
Unfortunately for Hartlepool fighter Amanda Coulson, there was nobody for her to box in the Class A category.
* March 2004 - International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge tells the World Conference on Women and Sport: “The IOC will continue in the future, as in the past, to strive to do even better so that women occupy the place they deserve in the Olympic Movement.”
He also announces a goal of 50-50 participation between the sexes at the Olympics.
* May 2004 - Launch of the first Female National ABA Championships at the Metropolitan Police College, London.
* August 13, 2004 - The 2004 Athens Olympics begins and boxing is the only sport not to include female competitors.
* October 28, 2005 - The IOC says no to women’s boxing at the 2008 Olympics, claiming the event would not offer added value to the programme.
* May 1, 2007 - New AIBA president Ching-Kuo Wu announces his support of women’s boxing. He appoints Joyce Bowen as chairman of the AIBA Women’s Commission, whose focus includes women’s Olympic-style boxing around the world.
* June 10, 2007 - First meeting of the ten-person AIBA Women’s Commission. President Wu, executive director Ho Kim and the AIBA Commission members are enthusiastic and optimistic about the future of women’s Olympic boxing.
* September 20, 2007 - AIBA announces two special women’s bouts, featuring fighters dreaming of being included in the 2012 Olympics, to be contested before the start of the men’s World Championship finals in November that year. By now, women’s Olympic-style boxing is practised in 120 countries.
* November 3, 2007 - The AIBA Women’s Commission recommends rule changes which bring men’s and women’s boxing in line, adding a junior programme for females and encouraging national federations to continue to grow boxing for girls and women globally.
* August 8, 2008 - The 2008 Beijing Olympics begins and boxing is the only sport not to include female competitors.
* October 20, 2008 - The AIBA makes an application to include women’s boxing in the 2012 Olympic Games.
* AIBA president Wu writes to national boxing federations and associations, telling them: “With the momentum behind women’s boxing gathering great speed, I look forward to having your full support and participation on our united effort to make this dream be realised.”
* November 29, 2008 - The AIBA Women’s Commission produces its brochure Fit to Box, promoting women’s boxing.
* April 2, 2009 - The IOC decides to consider the inclusion of women’s boxing in the 2012 Olympics.
* July 7, 2009 - India’s Mary Kom, the most successful female boxer in the world, having then won four world titles and a silver, says her dream is to compete at the Olympics. “I’m just hopeful that the IOC gives us female boxers the perfect answer,” he said. She has since won a fifth world title.
* August 13, 2009 - The IOC Executive Board decides that women’s boxing should be included in the Olympics from 2012. They will fight at the flyweight 48-51kg, lightweight 56-60kg and middleweight 69-75kg divisions at London 2012.
* May 9 to 20, 2012 - The seventh edition of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships takes place in Qinhuangdao, China. It doubles up as the qualifier for the London 2012 Olympics.
* August 5 2012 - Russian flyweight Elena Savelyeva wins the first-ever women’s boxing match at an Olympics, beating North Korea’s Hye Song Kim 12-9.
* August 9 2012 - Three women are crowned Olympic boxing champions, winning gold in the flyweight, middleweight and lightweight categories.