Widely regarded as British boxing’s best hopes of a medal at next year’s Olympics, Nicola Adams is relishing the prospect of pitting her wits against the world’s elite at London 2012, and if the buzz is anything to go by, she is more than equipped to match the feats of Amir Khan in 2004 and James DeGale in 2008 by winning Gold.
Born in Leeds on October 26, 1982, Adams first started boxing at the age of 12 and had her first bout a year later. A four year hiatus until her next fight because of a lack of suitable challengers, didn’t diminish her insatiable appetite for the game, and by 2002 Adams was representing England for the first time, fighting in a dual international against Ireland.
In 2003, the Leeds flyweight won the first of her four England Amateur boxing National titles and she has continued to impress both on the domestic and international scene ever since.
After picking up a silver medal at last year’s World Championships in Barbados, Adams was given a stark reminder of the fickle nature of the sport last month, when the 28-year-old lost to Sweden’s Jenny Hardings at the Strandja Tournament in Bulgaria.
Recently selected by the British Amateur Boxing Association, to be part of the elite female squad who will compete for one of three available places at the Olympics, Adams caught up with Sport.co.uk to discuss her hopes of making the final cut, what it would mean to represent Great Britain in 2012, and the boxers who inspired her to get into the fight game.
The London Olympics is less than two years away, how is your preparation going?
My training is going really well at the moment. I am currently training at the British Institute of Sport which is the national training centre for the Great Britain boxing team. Everything is going well.
What would it mean to you to represent Britain at next year’s Olympics?
It would mean the world to me just being at home having all the fans, my friends and family to support me and all the other athletes.
You are aiming to be the first British female boxer to win Gold at the Olympics. How do you feel about it, are you nervous?
When I try to picture how it’s going to be when I get there, it’s still too hard to imagine. I will be really, really nervous when it comes to the time.
What impact to you think the London Olympics will have on the rest of the country? Do you think the British public will embrace it?
Definitely. You can’t not. It’s not everyday that you get to host the Olympics, this might not happen again for another 50 or 100 years. Just to be a part of it, I think it will do the country the world of good. Even if it’s just forgetting about the problems you have at the moment and just seeing what’s going on with the Olympics.
The Olympics have been a springboard for the likes of Amir Khan and James DeGale, is that something you are thinking about?
For now I’m just concentrating on getting in the training that I need, getting the medals and winning the tournaments I need to get myself there. Whatever happens after the Olympics, I’ll have to wait and see.
Who were your heroes growing up?
I would definitely say Sugar Ray Leonard and Mohammad Ali. They were both good fighters, they did a lot outside the ring as well as inside the ring. Even if they lost the World Championship belt they always came back and got stuck in, order to get it back.
Which boxers did you used to watch on TV?
When I was younger my dad always used to have the boxing on. I was only small back then but I can still remember Frank Bruno being on. I would start jumping up and down in front of the TV, start doing boxing and then get told to sit down.
Who would your dream fight be against?
It would probably be against the girl who beat me at the World Championships, Ren Cancan from China. She’s going to be my greatest advisory I think.
Who would you compare your boxing style to?
I would probably say a cross between Sugar Ray Leonard and Prince Naseem. I switch it the same as Prince Naseem did and I’m a little bit flashy as well, but without the attitude. And just the speed of Sugar Ray Leonard, they’re the two I normally get compared to.
Women’s sport is on the up, especially in tennis and football. What do you think of the profile of women’s boxing at the moment?
I think it’s going really great. There’s more and more interest all the time, especially since it’s been announced that it will be in the Olympics and will be an official Olympic sport. I think it has done the sport a world of good. I’ve been boxing since I was 12-years-old and have seen it come on leaps and bounds. I think it’s wicked.
You have appeared in Emmerdale, is acting something you would like to do when you hang up your gloves?
I’ve actually done Emmerdale and Coronation Street. I do like a bit of acting. You never know, I could be the next character on a soap. It’s more nerve-racking getting into the ring, when you’ve got punches coming back at you though!
To Apply for London 2012 tickets visit www.tickets.london2012.com any time between 15 March and 26 April.