Nicola Adams retires from boxing due to risk of sight loss

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Britain's Nicola Adams displays her gold medal for the women's flyweight 51-kg boxing at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Two-time boxing gold medallist Nicola Adams (Credit: AP Photo)

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.”

Britain's Queen Elizabeth meets with, from left, Sir John Major, Sir Lenny Henry, David Beckham and Nicola Adams before the final Queen's Young Leaders Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London, Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP)
Adams meeting the Queen. (Credit: AP Photo)

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.

Britain's Nicola Adams poses after winning a women's flyweight 51-kg semifinals boxing match against China's Ren Cancan at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Adams won the WBO flyweight world title (Credit: AP Photo)

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.”

Nicola Adams, left, shakes hands with boxing promoter, Frank Warren, during a press announcement in central London, Monday Jan. 23, 2017. Two-time Olympic women's boxing champion Nicola Adams has turned professional. The 34-year-old flyweight from Britain has joined promoter Frank Warren and will make her professional debut in Manchester on April 8. (Charlotte Ball/PA via AP)
Promoter Frank Warren and Nicola Adams (Credit: AP Photo)

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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