Saturday 20 January 2018

Adams welcomes new faces after win

England's Nicola Adams, right, had a tough battle against Michaela Walsh, left
England's Nicola Adams, right, had a tough battle against Michaela Walsh, left

Nicola Adams has done more than anyone to advance the cause of women's boxing but on Saturday in Glasgow she was given a timely reminder of the precarious nature of her status as women's flyweight number one.

Adams added a Commonwealth Games gold medal to her historic triumph at London 2012 but only after being given a scare by 21-year-old Northern Ireland flyweight Michaela Walsh, winning by a split points decision.

Walsh won both the first and fourth rounds on two of the three judges' cards and showed skills strong enough to suggest she could go one better and be the one to deny Adams a repeat Olympic triumph in two years' time.

It is a situation the classy Adams insists she welcomes, as the sport she helped lift from windowless suburban halls to the biggest multi-sport stage brings fresh competition from those she inspired.

Adams said: "Everybody is coming for me now because I am the number one in the world, and I have got to expect that everybody who gets through those ropes wants to beat me.

"I think it was a really close contest but I think I did enough to win. I think Michaela is a very good talent and she will come again and we will be seeing a lot more from here in the future."

Walsh was in tears on the podium having insisted moments after her triumph that it was Adams' reputation alone which had made the difference on the judges' scorecards.

And Adams added: "I've been in that situation when I wanted to win the world title and only got silver. I worked hard for it and it just wasn't my time but my time was at the Olympics."

In truth it was Adams' sleeker skills that looked to make the difference, but she took some time to find her range as Walsh scored initial success with a snaking right hand.

Adams produced much cleaner work in the middle rounds, landing a left and right combination that wobbled Walsh and following up with a sharp right hand as she followed the Northern Ireland fighter around the ring.

Walsh rallied bravely in the last, doing enough to take the round on two of the three judges' cards, and clearly believed she had done enough to clinch victory at the final bell.

The 31-year-old Olympic champion was simply too classy for Walsh, who will go home with a richly deserved silver medal after a promising week of performances.

But remarkably the three ringside judges did not quite see the fight the same way with one scoring in favour of Walsh as Adams triumphed only via split decision.

Walsh said: "I wanted it more and I feel in my heart that I won it but she's the Olympic champion and she was going to win it if it was close.

"But my coach knows and I know and she will know if she watches the fight again that I got it.

"Today is the start of my career. I came here for the gold and in my heart I know I got the gold medal. But I proved I am up at that level and I really believe that fight was mine."

Adams will next turn her attention to the World Championships in South Korea later this year where she will bid to complete a clean sweep of the major honours, having previously had to settle for a trio of silvers.

"It's about time I got a gold," said Adams. "Then I'm looking forward to Rio and I can't wait to get going - I hope I make history again by becoming a double Olympic champion which we've never had in boxing in Britain.

"But this medal in Glasgow is up there with my Olympic gold. It's really nice to be able to compete for your country and I was glad I was able to do that today."

Savannah Marshall went some way towards erasing the memory of her Olympic nightmare by winning gold in the women's middleweight competition.

The Hartlepool 23-year-old, who went into London 2012 as hot favourite but was beaten in the first round, came on strong to see off eager Canadian Ariane Fortin.

Powerful England welterweight Scott Fitzgerald capped his first major international competition by blasting out India's Mandeep Jangra.

The Preston man decked Jangra in the opening round and twice more in the second to secure the most emphatic of unanimous decision wins.

Antony Fowler then produced a powerful performance to see off Indian superstar Vijender.

A flurry of sharp hooks dumped Vijender on the canvas midway through the opening round, with the Indian complaining he had been hit while on the deck.

A right hook on the bell to end the round underlined Fowler's dominance and although Vijender drew on his experience to drag himself back into the fight, his moments of success were too fleeting to seriously threaten to turn the fight around.

The final minute of the third arguably proved Vijender's most successful as he rammed home a straight left, but there was never any doubt that the Liverpool fighter would get the unanimous verdict.

Press Association

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