Adams edges to gold
Nicola Adams repelled the brave challenge of Belfast flyweight Michaela Walsh to claim Commonwealth Games boxing gold in Glasgow.
- Related Content
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 sports halls to the biggest multi-sport stage brings fresh competition from those she inspired to take up the sport.
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 the cleaner work in the middle rounds, landing a left and right combination which 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.
Marshall made a slow start, allowing Fortin to fashion an early lead on two of the three judges' cards, but built momentum in the second and caught her opponent with some accurate right hands.
In a cagey affair, Marshall also seemed to land the cleaner shots in the third round, enabling her to take a slender lead going into the final round.
The bullish Fontin pressed forward with more urgency in the last, but Marshall boxed with patience and maturity to repel her advances and edge victory via split decision.
Marshall insisted there is still much more to come having only recently come back from nine months out with a shoulder injury.
Marshall said: "I think I'm far from my best and I've still got a long way to come back but I think it will just take time."
London had come too soon for the Hartlepool fighter just two months after being cast in the role of reluctant celebrity following her historic world title triumph.
But Marshall denied her Commonwealth Games gold medal was any sweeter due to the crushing disappointment she experienced in her home Games.
Marshall added: "London was two years ago and it's just like a bad dream. I think I'm used to these multi-sports events now and I've got a lot of good experience under my belt.
"Obviously I'm looking forward to the World Championships later this year but you're only as good as your last fight so I can't take anything for granted."