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Gold medallist Nicola Adams blazes a new trail in female boxing

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Alexandra Szydlowska
WVoN co-editor

Nicola Adams has made sporting history by becoming the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal in female boxing.

The 29-year-old from Leeds beat Chinese boxer Ren Cancan in yesterday’s flyweight final, winning 16-7 against the three-times world champion.

Her victory was echoed that same day by the four times world champion Katie Taylor, 26, who won Ireland’s first medal of the Olympics during a fight with Russia’s Sofya Ochigava in the lightweight final.

Both Adams and Taylor have been commended for blazing a new trail in the cause to see female boxing accepted as an Olympic sport.

Women’s boxing briefly featured as a demonstration sport at the 1904 Olympics. However, it was banned in the UK for most of the 20th century, with the British Boxing Board of Control denying women the right to box until 1998.

When female boxing was finally accepted as an Olympic sport in 2009, it faced some opposition.

Amir Khan, one of Britain’s best-known boxers at the time, said: “Deep down I don’t think women should fight. That’s my opinion. When you get hit it can be very painful. Women can get knocked out.”

However, in light of Adams’ victory, the sportsman has changed his tune, recognising Adams as “the face of British boxing, especially for the women”.

Women’s boxing pioneer Barbara Buttrick, a professional world champion in the 1950s, was in the audience and told the BBC that she was proud of Adams’ achievements.

“When I was around, I would never have dreamed women boxers would ever get into the Olympics,” said Buttrick.

“But now they’ve got that credibility and that will bring a lot more girls into it because they’ll feel more comfortable going into a gym.”

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