Nicola Adams
Adams in 2012
Nicola Virginia Adams

(1982-10-26) 26 October 1982 (age 41)
Other namesThe Lioness, Babyface[2]
Height5 ft 4.5 in (164 cm)[1]
Boxing record
Total fights6
Wins by KO3
Medal record
Event 1st 2nd 3rd
Olympic Games 2 0 0
World Championships 1 3 0
European Championships 1 1 0
European Games 1 0 0
European Union Championships 2 0 0
Commonwealth Games 1 0 0
Total 8 4 0
Women's amateur boxing
Representing  United Kingdom
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2012 London Flyweight
Gold medal – first place 2016 Rio de Janeiro Flyweight
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2016 Astana Flyweight
European Games
Gold medal – first place 2015 Baku Flyweight
Representing  England
World Championships
Silver medal – second place 2008 Ningbo Bantamweight
Silver medal – second place 2010 Bridgetown Flyweight
Silver medal – second place 2012 Qinhuangdao Flyweight
Commonwealth Games
Gold medal – first place 2014 Glasgow Flyweight
European Championships
Gold medal – first place 2011 Rotterdam Flyweight
Silver medal – second place 2007 Vejle Bantamweight
EU Championships
Gold medal – first place 2011 Katowice Flyweight
Gold medal – first place 2013 Keszthely Flyweight

Nicola Virginia Adams OBE (born 26 October 1982) is a British former professional boxer who competed from 2017 to 2019. She retired with an undefeated record and held the World Boxing Organization (WBO) female flyweight title in 2019. As an amateur, she became the first female boxer to become an Olympic champion after winning gold at London 2012, and the first double Olympic champion following a second gold medal at Rio 2016, both in the flyweight division. As of 27 May 2016 she was the reigning Olympic, World and European Games champion at flyweight, and won the entire set of amateur championships available to her – Olympic, Commonwealth and European Games' titles, and the World, European and European Union championships.

Rainbow Plaque in Leeds honouring her as the first openly LGBT+ person to win an Olympic Boxing Gold

She is openly lesbian,[3] and was named the most influential LGBT person in Britain by The Independent in 2012 and has been included in the annual Powerlist, being recognised as one of the most influential black Britons.[4] She also became the first openly LGBT person to win an Olympic boxing gold medal, after her win at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Early life

Adams was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, on 26 October 1982. She was educated at Agnes Stewart Church of England High School, Ebor Gardens, Burmantofts, Leeds.[5][6] She also went to Hopwood Hall College in Rochdale.[7]

Amateur career

Adams represented Haringey Police Community Club at boxing.[8] She fought (and won) her first bout at the age of 13, but it was four years before she found a second opponent.[9] In 2001, she became the first woman boxer ever to represent England, in a fight against an Irish boxer.[9] In 2003, she became English amateur champion for the first time,[8] and she retained the title at the next three championships.[9]

In 2007, Adams became the first English female boxer to win a medal in a major boxing tournament, taking silver in the European Championships.[10] She won silver again at the world championships in Ningbo, China, in 2008, which was Britain’s first women’s world championship medal in women’s boxing. The following year she had to abstain from the sport for several months due to a back injury,[11] but she returned to success at the 2010 world championships in Bridgetown, Barbados,[12] taking Silver again, competing now at flyweight (51kg). Adams struggled to continue her boxing career due to lack of funds. She worked as an acting extra on soap operas such as Coronation Street, Emmerdale, and EastEnders, and worked as a builder before the International Olympic Committee backed funding for women's boxing in 2009.[13]

In November 2010, Adams was victorious in the first-ever GB Amateur Boxing Championship at the Echo Arena Liverpool.[14] In 2011, she won gold medals at the European Union Championships and the European Championships.[15] In July 2011, the BBC included Adams in a feature on "6 Promising Britons to watch in the Olympics".[16]

In the 2012 Summer Olympics, Adams defeated Mary Kom from India in the Flyweight semi-final.[17][18] She went on to defeat Chinese boxer and world number one Ren Cancan in the final to claim the first Olympic women's boxing gold medal.[19]

At the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Adams knocked out Michaela Walsh of Northern Ireland to take the gold medal in the women's flyweight division on a split decision.[20][21]

At the 2016 Rio Olympic games Adams successfully defended her Olympic title, defeating Sarah Ourahmoune of France in the Final on 20 August.[22]

Professional career

On 23 January 2017 it was confirmed that Adams had turned professional, having signed with promoter Frank Warren.[23] She made her debut on 8 April, scoring a four-round points decision victory against Virginia Carcamo at the Manchester Arena.[24]

After securing another three wins, all by technical knockout, she faced former world champion Isabel Millan for the WBO interim female flyweight title on 6 October 2018 at the Morningside Arena in Leicester. Fighting beyond four rounds for the first time in her career, Adams defeated Millan via ten-round unanimous decision to capture the WBO interim title. Two judges scored the bout 97–93 and the third scored it 96–94. After the win Frank Warren stated, "She is a champion, there's no going backwards, on 22nd December I'm hoping it will be for the full title".[25]

She was scheduled to challenge for the full world title on 8 March 2019 against reigning WBO female flyweight champion Arely Muciño at the Royal Albert Hall in London. However, the fight was postponed after Adams sustained an injury during training and was forced to withdraw.[26] After Muciño suffered an injury during a successful defence of her title in April followed by an ankle injury sustained in a car crash, the WBO announced that Adams had been elevated from interim to full WBO champion in July 2019 due to Muciño being unable to "participate in active competition".[27]

The first defence of her title came against former world title challenger Maria Salinas. The bout took place on 27 September 2019 at the Royal Albert Hall and was aired live on BT Sport in the UK and ESPN+ in the US. After eleven months out of the ring, in what was the first ever female professional boxing match to be held at the Royal Albert Hall, Adams retained her title with a split draw. One judge scored the bout 97–93 to Adams, another scored it 96–94 to Salinas, while the third scored it even at 95–95.[28]


During the first round of her rematch with Salinas, Adams suffered a torn pupil. She initially thought it to be a minor injury. In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live Adams said, "I didn't think it would be anything too serious but I had torn the pupil in my eye. I got the injury in the first round of my last fight [against Maria Salinas]. I phoned the doctors a couple of days afterwards. I could take the chance and keep boxing and hope nothing would happen to my eye or an unlucky punch could mean I lose my sight."[29]

She announced her retirement on 6 November 2019 in an open letter in the Yorkshire Evening Post, saying, "I’m immensely honoured to have represented our country – to win double Olympic gold medals and then the WBO championship belt is a dream come true… But it’s not without taking its toll on my body, and aside from the expected aches and pains - I’ve been advised that any further impact to my eye would most likely lead to irreparable damage and permanent vision loss."[30]

In April 2021, Adams joined fellow British Olympians Greg Rutherford and Kelly Smith, and fitness instructor Mr Motivator in launching the ‘Energy Fit for the Future’ campaign by Smart Energy GB, which aimed at encouraging people to install smart meters in their homes.[31]

Honours and awards

Boxing championships

Postboxes on Cookridge Street in Leeds painted gold in honour of Adams' Olympic Gold medal win.
Year Tournament Venue Result Event
2007 European Amateur Championships Vejle, Denmark 2nd 54 kg
2008 World Amateur Championship Ningbo, People's Republic of China 2nd 54 kg
2010 World Amateur Championship Bridgetown, Barbados 2nd 51 kg
2011 European Union Amateur Championships Katowice, Poland 1st 51 kg
2011 European Amateur Championships Rotterdam, the Netherlands 1st 51 kg
2012 World Amateur Championship Qinhuangdao, China 2nd 51 kg
2012 Summer Olympics London, United Kingdom 1st 51 kg
2013 European Union Amateur Championships Keszthely, Hungary 1st 51 kg
2014 Commonwealth Games Glasgow, United Kingdom 1st 51 kg
2015 European Games Baku, Azerbaijan 1st 51 kg
2016 World Amateur Championship Astana, Kazakhstan 1st 51 kg
2016 Summer Olympics Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 1st 51 kg


In 2012, she became the first female boxer to receive an award from the Boxing Writers' Club of Great Britain.[32] Specifically, she was awarded the Joe Bromley Award for outstanding services to boxing.[32] She was also the first woman ever to be invited to the club's awards ceremony.[32]

In 2012, too, she was a nominee for BBC Sports Personality of the Year.[33]

In November 2012, she topped the list of The Independent's 101 most influential LGBT people in Britain for 2012.[34][35][36]

She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours[37][38] and later Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to boxing.[39]

In July 2015, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Leeds.[40] In November 2015, she was listed as one of BBC's 100 Women.[41]

In 2016, Adams was named Number One in the DIVA Power List of the UK's most eminent lesbian and bisexual women.[42][43]

In 2019 she was included in the annual Powerlist, being recognised as one of the most influential black Britons.[44]

On 2 September 2020, it was announced that Adams would be a contestant on the eighteenth series of Strictly Come Dancing and that she would feature in the competition's first same-sex couple alongside professional Katya Jones.[45][3] On 12 November 2020, they were forced to withdraw from the competition after Jones tested positive for COVID-19.[46]

Professional boxing record

6 fights 5 wins 0 losses
By knockout 3 0
By decision 2 0
Draws 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
6 Draw 5–0–1 Maria Salinas SD 10 27 Sep 2019 Royal Albert Hall, London, England Retained WBO female flyweight title
5 Win 5–0 Isabel Millan UD 10 6 Oct 2018 Morningside Arena, Leicester, England Won vacant WBO female interim flyweight title
4 Win 4–0 Soledad del Valle Frias KO 1 (10), 2:59 19 May 2018 Elland Road, Leeds, England
3 Win 3–0 Soledad Macedo TKO 3 (6), 1:26 16 Dec 2017 Place Bell, Laval, Quebec, Canada
2 Win 2–0 Maryan Salazar TKO 3 (4), 0:35 13 May 2017 First Direct Arena, Leeds, England
1 Win 1–0 Virginia Noemi Carcamo PTS 4 8 Apr 2017 Manchester Arena, Manchester, England

Personal life

On 12 July 2022, it was announced that Adams had welcomed her first child, alongside her girlfriend Ella Baig.[47]


Year Title Role Notes
2013 Waterloo Road Self/Cameo Season 9, Episode 9
2016, 2020 The Graham Norton Show Guest Season 19, Episode 12

Season 28, Episode 6

2019 The Big Narstie Show Guest Season 2, Episode 4
2019 The Great Celebrity Bake Off for SU2C Self/Contestant Season 2, Episode 5
2020 Steph's Packed Lunch Guest Season 1, Episode 8
2020 How to Keep Your Dog Happy at Home Self Season 1, Episode 1
2020 Celebrity Gogglebox Self Season 2

See also


  1. ^ "Nicola Adams". Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  2. ^ Snow, Jon (13 August 2012). "Captivated by boxing's Nicola 'Babyface' Adams". Channel 4. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b Saner, Emine (14 September 2020). "'It's about breaking boundaries': Nicola Adams on dancing with a woman on Strictly'". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  4. ^ Mills, Kelly-Ann (25 October 2019). "Raheem Sterling joins Meghan and Stormzy in top 100 most influential black Brits". mirror. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Made in Leeds: How Nicola Adams grew to the brink of Olympic glory". Yorkshire Evening Post. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  6. ^ "How Nicola Adams got her fighting chance for an Olympic gold medal". ITV News. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  7. ^ "FE students add to Team GB Olympic medal haul". FE Week. 12 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  8. ^ a b "One hundred hopefuls for 2012". The Guardian. London. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  9. ^ a b c "Nicola Adams, World Championship Silver Medallist" (PDF). GSE Agency. 5 February 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 March 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  10. ^ Guardian Staff (31 March 2011). "One hundred hopefuls for 2012: Nicola Adams". The Guardian.
  11. ^ "Adams' excitement hitting fever pitch". Bradford Telegraph & Argus. 22 July 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  12. ^ "Marshall and Adams miss out on gold". BBC Sport (video available in UK only). 18 September 2010. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  13. ^ Rojas, John-Paul Ford (8 August 2012). "Fighter Nicola Adams battles her way to chance at gold". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  14. ^ "Nicola Adams: trailblazer for women's boxing wins historic gold". The Guardian. London. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  15. ^ "Adams right on track for Rio title defence". Olympics. Retrieved 16 March 2023.
  16. ^ Creighton, Jessica (27 July 2011). "London 2012: Promising Britons to watch in the Olympics". BBC Sport. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  17. ^ Bakowski, Gregg (8 August 2012). "Nicola Adams beats Mary Kom to reach 51kg Olympic final". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  18. ^ "Nicola Adams beats India's Mary Kom to reach Olympic flyweight final". The Guardian. London. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  19. ^ "Olympics boxing: Great Britain's Nicola Adams wins historic gold". BBC Sport. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  20. ^ "Glasgow 2014: Nicola Adams beats Michaela Walsh to gold". BBC Sport. 2 August 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  21. ^ "Nicola Adams". Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  22. ^ Mitchell, Kevin (9 August 2012). "Nicola Adams wins Team GB's first women's Olympic boxing gold". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  23. ^ "Nicola Adams: Two-time Olympic champion turns professional". 23 January 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  24. ^ "Nicola Adams beats Virginia Carcamo on her professional debut". BBC Sport. 2017. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  25. ^ "Nicola Adams beats Mexican Isabel Millan to close in on world title bout". BBC Sport. 6 October 2018. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  26. ^ "Nicola Adams: Injured British boxer postpones Arely Mucino fight". BBC Sport. 18 February 2019. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  27. ^ "Adams becomes WBO world flyweight champion". ESPN. 30 July 2019. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  28. ^ Donovan, Jake (27 September 2019). "Nicola Adams, Maria Salinas Fight To a Split Draw". Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  29. ^ "Nicola Adams retires: 'I tore the pupil in my eye in last fight'". BBC Sport. 6 November 2019. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  30. ^ Alison, Bellamy (4 December 2019). "Exclusive: Leeds boxer Nicola Adams to hang up gloves at 37". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  31. ^ Adams, Tim (30 April 2021). "Greg Rutherford on Smart Energy GB and his bobsleigh ambitions". Athletics Weekly. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  32. ^ a b c "Nicola Adams becomes first female boxer honoured by writers". BBC Sport. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  33. ^ Creighton, Jessica (7 December 2012). "Sports Personality of the Year: Why Nicola Adams should win". BBC Sport. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  34. ^ Khaleeli, Homa (9 August 2014). "Nicola Adams: 'It always felt like boxing was my path'". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  35. ^ "UK sport stars top 2012 Pink List". 4 November 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  36. ^ Hattenstone, Simon (6 May 2017). "Nicola Adams: 'I jumped in front of my mother and tried to protect her'". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  37. ^ "No. 60367". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2012. p. 24.
  38. ^ "2013 New Year's Honours" (PDF). Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  39. ^ "No. 61803". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2016. p. N10.
  40. ^ "University of Leeds awards honorary degrees". University of Leeds. 10 July 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  41. ^ "BBC 100 Women 2015: Who is on the list?". BBC News. 17 November 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  42. ^ Newsdesk (16 September 2016). "DIVA magazine power list voted for by you". Out News Global. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  43. ^ Lyell, C. (21 September 2016). "The DIVA Power 2016 List". DIVA. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  44. ^ Mills, Kelly-Ann (25 October 2019). "Raheem Sterling joins Meghan and Stormzy in top 100 most influential black Brits". mirror. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  45. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing: Ex-boxer Nicola Adams to have same-sex dance partner". BBC News. 2 September 2020. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  46. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing: Nicola Adams exits after Katya Jones catches Covid". BBC News. 12 November 2020. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  47. ^ "Nicola Adams and partner Ella Baig welcome first child". ITV. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
Sporting positions World boxing titles New title WBO femaleflyweight championInterim title 6 October 2018 – 29 July 2019Promoted Vacant VacantTitle last held byArely Muciño WBO femaleflyweight champion 29 July 2019 – 6 November 2019Retired VacantTitle next held byDébora Anahí López