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Two-time Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams OBE has announced she will retire from boxing over the risk of “irreparable sight loss”.
In a touching letter published in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Leeds-born Adams wrote directly to the people of Yorkshire, announcing she will hang up her gloves in order to save her eyesight.
The 37-year-old, nicknamed The Lioness by fans, wrote: “You’ve championed me from the very start of my career and so I wanted you to be the first to know I’ve made the very difficult decision to step down from the ring.”
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Adams went on to express her pride over representing Great Britain, but admits “it’s not without taking its toll” on her body.
“I’ve been advised that any further impact to my eye would most likely lead to irreparable damage and permanent vision loss.”
Adams led a remarkable career, writing her name in the history books as the first ever female boxer to become a double Olympic champion. The flyweight won her first gold in London 2012 and retained her title in Rio 2016 with back-to-back wins.
Her success in the Olympics also makes her the first openly LGBTQ athlete to win a boxing gold medal.
Fighting and winning her first bout at age 12, she would go on to become The Lioness and become a popular figure among British boxing fans and beyond. She became the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) world flyweight champion this year, holding the title between July and November.
She retires with an undefeated 5-0-1 in her six-bout professional record, to add to her exceptional amateur career.
Promoter Frank Warren admitted it was Adams’ achievements that made him turn his head towards women’s boxing and sign her as a professional.
"It was my absolute pleasure and privilege to promote the professional career of Nicola,” said Warren in his tribute. “Her accomplishments will go down in history and she will always be an icon of British sport.”
Adams was made an MBE in 2013, receiving her OBE four years later for her services to boxing. She was also named number one by DIVA in their 2016 Power List of the UK’s most influential LGBTQ women.
“It is no secret that I, along with many others, once held reservations over the depth and marketability of women's boxing in this country,” continued Warren. “And it was Nicola who won us all over with her Olympic exploits, her unquestionable talent and huge personality.”
“Hanging up my gloves was always going to be hard,” Adams concluded. “But I have never felt luckier. And I’m so immensely proud of how far the sport has come.”
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