London 2012: Entertainer Adams hoping she can win gold
Haringey boxer seals historic final place in style
Nicola Adams is hoping to add to Great Britain’s golden haul after booking a place in the women’s flyweight boxing final.
Haringey Police club’s Adams proved too strong for five-time world champion Mery Kom, of India, in their semi-final bout as she recorded an 11-6 win.
And the 29-year-old will now face China’s Ren Cancan in the gold-medal bout tomorrow, looking for revenge.
She said; “I’m over the moon, it’s a dream come true. I’ve been training for this since I was 12 years old so I’m really happy.
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“I’m really pleased. I won by two points at the World Championships (against Kom) so it means training is definitely going well.
“She’s a five-time world champion and you’ve got to be special to do that. I’ve got a lot of respect for her. It’s a special thing to do.”
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Cancan edged past Marlen Esparza, of the United States, 10-8 in the first semi-final and beat Adams when the two met in May.
But Adams, who beat Bulgaria’s Stoyka Petrova (16-7) in her quarter-final bout at these Games, had won their previous meeting at the Strandja Cup in Bulgaria in February and will not be overawed.
She added: “I beat her once this year already and I’m hoping I can do it again. It can go either way, but I hope tomorrow is my day and I can get gold for GB.
“I’m treating it like a normal tournament, doing everything the same. I’ve got to stay focused, stick to my tactics and use them again.
“I can go southpaw or switch. Any advantage and I’m going to take it.”
Adams, originally from Leeds, was roared into the ExCel arena by an excited London crowd and was happy to put on a show for them.
Some nifty footwork in the closing stages was cheered from the stands and Adams admitted their backing is proving a massive help.
“I’m using the crowd to my advantage, it’s giving me a big boost of energy and I’m taking that into the ring,” she said.
“I’m a bit of an entertainer. I love doing that stuff. I just enjoy boxing so much, I get into a rhythm and do these moves. I don’t really think about it.”
The crowd were introduced to ‘Battling’ Barbara Buttrick, a pioneer of women’s professional boxing, before the action got underway.
Buttrick, now 82, toured Europe with carnivals as a bantamweight in the boxing booth, before moving to America in the mid-1950s.
A world champion, she fought professionally in Canada, Chicago and Florida before retiring from the ring, then founded and became president of the Women’s International Boxing Federation.
And Buttrick is delighted to see women’s boxing on the Olympic schedule, saying: “It’s great and it gives them credibility to go forward.
“I finally got an apology from the Daily Mirror for comments they made about me in the 1940s!”
And Adams, sidelined for almost a year after falling down stairs at home and suffering a serious back injury in 2009, is now just eight minutes away from completing her remarkable journey.
She added: “I’ve been preparing for this my whole life. I wanted to get points on the board and get into the final.
“We’re getting fantastic support for women’s boxing and I hope it will increase participation.”
And Haringey Police club founder and coach Gerry Willmott MBE and fellow members will all be rooting for Adams in her bid for gold.
He said: “We’ve very proud. It’s wonderful to have an athlete representing a Haringey club, given what this borough has been through in the last year or so.”