London 2012 Olympic champion Nicola Adams was given a timely reminder yesterday of the precarious nature of her status as women’s flyweight No.1.
Adams won the Glasgow Commonwealth Games gold medal but only after getting a scare from 21-year-old Northern Ireland flyweight Michaela Walsh before 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.
Adams said: “Everybody is coming for me now because I am the No.1 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 her in the future.”
Walsh clearly believed she had done enough to clinch victory at the bell. In fact, the 31-year-old Adams was simply too good for her. 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.”
In the other women’s finals, Shelley Watts of Australia triumphed over India’s Laishram Devi in the lightweight division and a second women’s gold for England came via a gutsy performance by Savannah Marshall who narrowly beat Ariane Fortin of Canada.
The judging in this fight was a disgrace. The judge from Uzbekistan gave all four rounds to Fortin in complete disavowal of the facts, while the Brazilian judge scored all four rounds for Marshall. The third judge, Hassan Zoubid of Morocco, was probably the most accurate with a 3-1 score in favour of Marshall.
It’s judging like these latter scores which sometimes make amateur boxing a laughing stock, but thankfully these Commonwealth Games have been largely free of travesties.