LONDON: British women’s boxing great Nicola Adams goes to Rio to defend her historic 2012 Olympic title after at last filling the one vacant hook in her medals cabinet — the world flyweight title.
The engaging 33-year-old — who almost always wears a broad smile outside the ring — goes to Rio with the distinct chance of becoming only the second British pugilist after Harry Mallin in 1920-1924, to defend their title successfully.
The odds are too that her adored Doberman Dexter will be transfixed by her bouts on television just as he was when she won gold in 2012.
A television had been installed in his kennels and he had been photographed — with a toy meerkat in his mouth — apparently staring attentively at the screen. Dexter was at the time just 10 months old, she said.
Adams, who once had to supplement her meager boxing earnings by acting as an extra in British soap operas such as Coronation Street, says she always misses Dexter and her other dog Bailey, a Pomeranian, who usually travels everywhere with her.
It is her dogs that Adams misses most when she travels abroad as she confessed after winning the inaugural European Games title last year in Baku.
Her hairdressing mum, Denver, too has played a pivotal role in helping her develop into one of the great talents in her sport and one of the most crowd pleasing, too.
“It was really tough. We didn’t have any funding. My mum used to have to pay for everything if I wanted to go away to box in another country, or go to training camps,” she told The Daily Telegraph this month.
Adams is not just a role model for sports fans but by revealing she was bisexual a number of years ago she has attracted a whole new audience into the boxing world.
British newspaper ‘The Independent’ went as far to declare she was the most influential lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender personality in Britain in 2012.
“It’s an honor to be seen as a role model,” she told the Telegraph. “I’ve got people who send me messages on social media who never followed boxing before they saw me win a gold medal at the Olympics.”
Her mental and physical toughness is not in doubt, no more so than when she had a tough ride to Baku last year.
She spent some of it recovering from shoulder surgery and also had all her kit, including some of her Olympic memorabilia, stolen. “I had a rocky start to the year, with the robbery. I just wanted to show everybody what I am about. That I am here to stay. I am like a ‘comeback kid’ — you can never keep me down for long.”
Adams, who developed her love for the sport when Denver failed to find a babysitter one night so her daughter and son trekked off to the boxing gym, said continually setting benchmarks for British boxing gave her a sense of pride.
“It’s an amazing feeling. It is definitely a lot of motivation for me as well. It’s great to be able to create history all the time. I can give Britain something to look up to. “That is more than enough motivation for me. And another little notch on to my legacy as well.”
Adams grinned broadly when asked whether it was great to still be top dog.
“This is absolutely wicked,” said Adams. AFP