The Sunday Post (Dundee)
Nicola adds to GB medal haul
NICOLA ADAMS cruised into the history books by becoming the first British boxer to retain an Olympic title in 92 years at Rio Centro last night.
The 33-year-old from Leeds unanimously outpointed Sarah Ourahmoune of France to claim flyweight gold and emulate Harry Mallin, who won back-to-back gold medals in 1920 and 1924.
Adams, who had been sluggish at times in her two previous contests, dominated from the start and won clearly despite all three judges favouring Ourahmoune’s greater aggression in the third.
Ultimately her path to double gold proved distinctly more serene than that of Mallin, who needed nine bouts to achieve the feat, including two controversial disqualification wins.
In contrast, Adams’ only difficulties arose in a below-par firstround bout against Ukrainian veteran Tetyana Kob, and a poor start to her semi-final against her old adversary Ren Cancan.
After three consecutive world final defeats, Adams had finally come good against Cancan in emphatic fashion in the 2012 final, when she floored the Chinese en route to becoming the first Olympic women’s champion.
It was a mark of how much she continues to dominate her division four years on that, despite clearly losing the first round of her semi-final to Cancan, she effortlessly cruised into her second consecutive final.
In Ourahmoune, she was up against an opponent whom she had comfortably beaten in their previous two meetings in Turkey in April and Murcia, Spain, last year.
Despite being one year Adams’ senior, Ourahmoune, a former two-time world medallist, admitted she looked up to the Briton as a pioneer of the sport, and possessed little to suggest Adams’ double title quest was under threat.
Unlike in her two previous bouts, Adams looked sharp and swift from the start, catching her opponent with a long right in the opening seconds, and continuing to land accurate hooks as she took the early advantage.
Adams continued to assert her authority in the second, countering accurately against her opponent’s crude, come-forward swings.
The game Ourahmoune battled hard in the third, where despite appearing to have little success in landing cleanly, she was given the round by all three judges, putting pressure back on Adams for the last.
The Leeds boxer made no mistake in a wilder fourth, celebrating with an Ali Shuffle when the unanimous verdict was announced.
Adams admitted she’d felt nervous before the contest but said she never doubted she’d done enough to secure a second Olympic crown.
Adams said: “I’m always nervous before every bout. I think it’s good to have nervous energy when you get in the ring, because it gives you the adrenaline and reminds you that you’re taking it seriously.
“I felt I’d done enough to win, definitely. I felt like I was winning the rounds quite comfortably and I was scoring the cleaner shots.
“It feels absolutely amazing. I’ve created history and I’m now the most accomplished amateur boxer we’ve had of all time, so it’s a nice title to have.”
However, Adams would not immediately be drawn on whether she would seek to make it a third consecutive title at Tokyo 2020.
Adams added: “I’m going to take a holiday and come back and decide what’s next. I’m going to have to sit down and relax and see what happens.”