Nicola Adams makes history by retaining Olympic boxing title

Nicola Adams cruised into the history books by becoming the first British boxer to retain an Olympic title in 92 years at Rio Centro on Saturday.

Britain's Nicola Adams celebrates victory over France's Sarah Ourahmoune to win gold in the women's flyweight final. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Britain's Nicola Adams celebrates victory over France's Sarah Ourahmoune to win gold in the women's flyweight final. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

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.

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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 1920, Mallin’s American opponent Samuel Lagonia was thrown out for persistent holding, a decision which so enraged the Americans they threatened to withdraw their entire delegation from the Games.

And four years later, Frenchman Roger Brousse was initially declared the victor in their third round contest, only for the decision to be reversed when Mallin complained he had been frequently bitten during the bout.

In contrast, Adams’ only difficulties arose in a below-par first round 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 boxing champion.

And 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 2016 semi-final to Cancan, she effortlessly stepped it up to cruise 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.

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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.

Barging her veteran opponent against the ropes in the second, Adams continued to assert her authority, and she continued to counter 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.