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BOXING: Two-time Olympic Champion, Nicola Adams Retires Over Eyesight Fears.

The double Olympic champion Nicola Adams, who blazed a golden and historic trail for women in boxing, has announced her retirement after being told she risks losing her eyesight if she continues in the ring.

The 37-year-old, who also won the WBO flyweight world title after turning professional following her gold medals at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics, said she had no regrets despite the impact the sport has had on her health.

“I’m immensely honoured to have represented our country – to win double Olympic gold medals and then the WBO championship belt is a dream come true,” Adams wrote in an open letter to the Yorkshire Evening Post in which revealed her decision. “But it’s not without taking its toll on my body, and aside from the expected aches and pains, I’ve been advised that any further impact to my eye would most likely lead to irreparable damage and permanent vision loss.

“It has been an honour to compete on the global stage, and it has been a privilege to fight against such remarkable athletes. Whilst I am proud of my achievements, the unwavering belief from everyone in my corner, is something I will appreciate for the rest of my life.”

She also paid tribute to her coach and mentor Alwyn Belcher, who guided her from raw youth to polished champion, and told her in her early 20s that she would be a world champion. “Hanging up my gloves was always going to hard, but I have never felt luckier,” she added. “And I’m so immensely proud of how far the sport has come.”

Adams will go down as one of the sport’s true pioneers given the glass ceilings she punched through and the seismic shifts in attitudes to women’s boxing she helped engender during her career.

When she took up the sport aged 12 in 1995, the British Amateur Boxing Association did not allow women to take part in sanctioned bouts – the rules only changed in 1997 – and women’s boxing was not in the Olympics.

It took four years for Adams to have her first official fight, yet just two years later she become the first women boxer ever to represent England. It was the first of many ground-breaking achievements.

A glittering career

In 2007 she became the first British women to win a European boxing medal. In 2008 the first to a world championship medal. And, after the International Olympic Committee changed its mind and allowed women’s boxing to be staged at the London 2012 Games, she became the first women ever to win an Olympic boxing gold medal in front of a raucous crowd at the Excel Arena.

Adams went into that Olympic final as a largely unknown underdog, only to dismantle the three-times world champion Ren Cancan, putting the Chinese fighter down with a left hook followed by an up-the-middle right, before winning on points.

Afterwards, as the flashbulbs danced around her, she kissed her medal and wore a smile that could have melted an iceberg. A star was born. For months afterwards a walk to her corner shop, which usually took 10 minutes lasted three times as long because of all the well-wishers she encountered on route.

In the wake of London 2012 she also became the the first female boxer to be invited to the Boxing Writers’ Club of Great Britain in its history and topped the Independent on Sunday’s Pink List, which hails gay, lesbian and bisexuals who have made Britain safer, fairer and more entertaining.

Most of her fan mail just said Nicola Adams, Olympic champion, or Nicola Adams, Leeds, on the envelope – yet somehow it found its way to her home address.

There were further successes at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the European Games in Baku and the World Championships in Astana, before she beat Sarah Ourahmoune in Brazil to become the first Briton to retain an Olympic boxing title since Harry Mallin in 1924.

In all she won eight major world medals – a figure that makes her arguably Britain’s greatest amateur boxer of all time.

After turning professional in 2017, Adams went on to win the vacant WBO belt against Isabel Millan less than 18 months later and retires with an unbeaten professional record of five wins and one draw, against Maria Salinas in what turned out to be her final fight in September.

It makes for quite some résumé – especially as Adams revealed to the Guardian in 2012 that she only took up the sport by accident. “When I was 12 years old my mum accidentally got me into boxing – she wanted to go to an aerobics class and brought me along to the gym, where there happened to be a boxing class,” she said.

She was the only girl in a room full of boys but immediately fell in love with the sport – and never looked back.


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