Nicola Adams: “I knew I was fighting for more than myself”

Britain’s double Olympic boxing champion talks about her rise to success, a troubled childhood, & the inequality & sexism she overcame in boxing.

November 10th, 2021

I had so many people telling me, no you’ll never be a boxer,” Adams says in Amazon Prime’s ‘Lioness: The Nicola Adams Story’, a feature-length biographical documentary.

I have had to deal with a lot of criticism as a female boxer. And I remember thinking to myself, Ill show you what we can do. I knew that I was fighting for more than myself.”

The Nicola Adams Story’ charts Adamschaotic and violent upbringing in Leeds, UK, and the moment she fought and won her first bout at the age of 13 to her becoming an Olympic boxing champion, as well as a notably rare LGBT sports figure. 

In an interview with The Guardian about the documentary, Adams told about her tough childhood and how boxing helped her get through it:

Boxing gave me that courage and it made me think that if anything happened again Id be able to protect myself and my family. Boxing also became my safe space because there was a coach I saw every day. It was like I had a second family and somebody I could talk to. Once you got into the gym you could put everything aside and be yourself.”

Nicola Adams was one of the stars of London 2012 when she lit up the ring and won flyweight the gold medal, the first Olympic gold ever awarded in women’s boxing. The two other gold winners at the Olympics were Katie Taylor (lightweight) and Claressa Shields (middleweight). Adams defended her flyweight title at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. As a pro, she claimed the WBO title.

Boxing gave me a career, an opportunity to protect myself, to get me and my family out of poverty. If it wasnt for boxing I dont know where Id be now.”

Adams retired in 2019 and is now launching a full-time acting career.

Id love to play a Marvel superhero,” the 39-year-old told The Independent.