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Nicola Adams retires: trailblazer forced to hang up the gloves

Nicola Adams retires, as a reigning world champion, due to injury concerns

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Nicola Adams is a history-maker (Queensberry Promotions)
Nicola Adams is a history-maker (Queensberry Promotions)

Double Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams MBE has announced her retirement from professional boxing due to serious concerns about her vision.

 

The 37-year-old WBO flyweight champion from Leeds, who has only had six pro fights and drew with Maria Salinas in her first defence just over five weeks ago, confirmed to the Yorkshire Evening Post that a severe eye injury had prompted the monumental decision.

 

"I’ve been advised that any further impact to my eye would most likely lead to irreparable damage and permanent vision loss," she told the paper.

 

It’s a sad end for the most successful British amateur of modern times and someone widely considered to have exponentially increased the number of women taking up the sport.

 

A fast-handed, mobile switch-hitter, Adams’ style was ideal for the amateur code and she captured gold at both London 2012 and in Rio four years later.

 

Turning pro in April 2017 under top coach Virgil Hunter, she joined Dominic Ingle’s Sheffield gym, where Nicola had often worked as an amateur, the following year, after the American fell ill. Under Ingle she won the WBO Interim belt in October 2018, with a hard-earned decision over Isabel Millan.

 

Preparing to face the full champion, Arely Mucino, Adams seemed full of hope for the future when we interviewed her in January. "I want to unify the flyweight division first then move on through the weights and take those too," she told me.

 

As it transpired, a shoulder injury forced that one to be cancelled and, with the contest unable to be rearranged, Adams was elevated from the Interim status in July.

 

The Salinas fight proved far harder than expected, reflective of a laboured pro journey beset by injury and delay. That said, Adams, 5-0-1 (3), did get to make further history as Britain’s first female Olympic gold medallist to win a professional world title, emulating the achievement of James DeGale on the men’s side.

 

Her lasting legacy, however, will be those she inspired and we wish Nicola the very best in retirement.

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