FRANK WARREN HAS paid tribute to the career and achievements of Nicola Adams OBE after the WBO world flyweight champion announced her retirement from the sport earlier today.
The 37-year-old, known as ‘The Lioness’ can claim to be the undisputed Golden Girl of British boxing.
Her gold rush at major amateur tournaments began in 2011 at the European Union Amateur championships in Katowice, Poland, right through to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
The only blemish, if you can call it that, came at the 2012 World Championships when she collected silver, but otherwise it was gold all the way.
World champion, two-time Olympic champion, Commonwealth Games gold, European champion – Adams was truly the leading lady and pioneer of the modern elite of women’s boxing.
She became the pride of Britain in 2012 when, at the London Olympics, she defeated the world No.1 Ren Cancan from China in the final to claim the first Olympic women’s boxing Gold medal.
Four years on in Rio, Adams successfully defended her crown, defeating Sarah Ourahmoune of France in the final, leaving the only new ground to be broken being in the professional ranks.
Hall of Fame promoter Warren revealed he had been converted to the potential of women’s boxing by the accomplishments of Adams and proceeded to sign up the national treasure as a professional.
Adams launched her professional crusade in Manchester in April 2017 on the first show broadcast live by BT Sport, defeating Virginia Noemi Carcamo over four two minute rounds.
Frustrated with her display, Adams reasoned that females should also be able to perform over three minute rounds and was obliged when she returned to her home city of Leeds in the May, where she received a rousing reception from the locals at the FD Arena.
Maryan Salazar was stopped in the third round of a blistering display and the reward for Adams was a trip to Canada and a place on the undercard of the Billy Joe Saunders v David Lemieux world middleweight title fight. Soledad Macedo was overcome in the third round.
It was back to Leeds – this time Elland Road – in May of last year when former world title challenger Soledad del Valle Frias was blitzed in the first of ten scheduled rounds.
The WBO Interim world title was next on the Adams agenda at the Leicester Arena in October when Isabel Millan was in opposition. The Mexican proved a tough nut to crack but Adams prevailed on points to win her first title.
She was due to challenge for the full WBO at the Royal Albert Hall in March but injury prevented a fight with Arely Mucino going ahead. Adams was later appointed world champion without fighting by the WBO due to the inactivity of the former title holder.
In September Adams finally got the opportunity to fight in London for the first time since her Olympic success when she took on Maria Salinas in a first defence of her title at the Royal Albert Hall.
A closely-fought encounter that was deemed to be a split draw by the judges ultimately proved to be Adams’ curtain call as a professional boxer, bringing a glorious and unprecedented career to a close.
“It was my absolute pleasure and privileged to promote the professional career of Nicola and it is just a pity that it has come to a conclusion,” said promoter Frank Warren in reaction to the news of his first female star calling it a day.
“Nicola has that star quality in abundance that very few possess which will see her make a success of whatever she chooses to do.
“I am personally delighted that we guided Nicola to the winning of a world title and that she was able to realise that ambition in the professional ranks.
“Her accomplishments will go down in history and she will always be an icon of British sport. It is no secret that I, along with many others, once held reservations over the depth and marketability of women’s boxing in this country and it was Nicola who won us all over with her Olympic exploits, her unquestionable talent and huge personality.
“She will be much missed in the sport of boxing, but will remain an inspiration to others for many generations to come.”