Adams: Following Leonard and Ali completes a lifelong dream

GREAT Britain’s Nicola Adams revealed her pride at following in the footsteps of boxing greats Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard after winning an Olympic gold medal in the flyweight final.

In defeating China’s Ren Cancan in such considerably convincing fashion, Adams became the Olympic Games’ first female winner of a boxing gold and even performed the iconic Ali shuffle in a demonstration of her dominance.

“It will only be once everything settles down that I’ll think, ‘wow, I’ve actually done it’,” said Adams, 29, who was awarded a 16-7 victory. “It’s like a fairytale ending for me. I’ve dreamed about this moment since I was 12-years-old watching Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard.

“I saw them get their gold medals and I always dreamed I’d be able to do the same one day. To think I’ve finally done it I’m over the moon. I was really trying to fight back tears. I’ve been working all my life for this day.

“I spent three months in bed last year not being able to move because of a back injury, and when I first came back to training I went from being able to do 200 sit ups a day to not being able to do one.

“I thought to myself, ‘how am I going to get back to being a fighter?’ But I stuck to my game-plan and listened to all the doctors and the physios and did what I was told and look at me now – I’m Olympic champion.”

Adams’s gold could yet be the first of five for Team GB; Luke Campbell, Anthony Ogogo, Freddie Evans and Anthony Joshua all today compete in their respective bantamweight, middleweight, welterweight and heavyweight semi-finals, and all are assured a minimum bronze.

Following Adams, Irish lightweight Katie Taylor yesterday won the country’s first gold since 1996 by beating Sofya Ochigava.