OLYMPIC gold medallist Nicola Adams will open her 2016 World championships campaign at the Barys Arena in Astana, Kazakhstan on Saturday. She’s due to box Uzbekistan’s Dilnozakhon Odiljonova at 11.45am (UK time).
“It’s been really good so far, I’m impressed with this set up. This is the best I’ve seen for a women’s Worlds,” she told Boxing News.
Nicola is one of the AIBA ambassadors for women in boxing at this tournament. Of her many accolades, gold at a World championships is the only major title missing from Adams’ resume. The Worlds this year are a final Olympic qualifier but with her place at Rio 2016 already in the bag Adams, in a way, can relax and enjoy this tournament. “To an extent the pressure’s a little bit off. I can just focus on winning a gold and not think I’ve got to qualify as well on top of that. It’s quite nice having that little bit of pressure off. But I can’t take my foot off the gas because every time I step in the ring, I’m going to be, initially, ruining somebody’s dreams, if they haven’t qualified yet. So I know they’re going to be giving 110 percent, which means I’ve got to go in there with my A-game, give everything I’ve got and hopefully I can come away with the win,” Adams said.
The Olympics has a special kind of intensity but here Nicola is expecting a ferocious competition. “It’s even more [in qualifying] because you haven’t made it there yet so this is your chance to get there, everybody’s really fired up, you can see just with people walking around the hotel, ‘You my weight class?’ Everybody’s giving everybody the eyes,” Adams said. “It’s quite funny but the more experienced you get, that sort of stuff doesn’t work.”
Nicola, of course, isn’t one to get into random staredowns with potential opponents. “I just smile and wave,” she laughed.
The British team has had about 12 days of final preparations and Adams says, “I’m feeling good, I’m feeling strong, I can’t wait to box.”
Ireland’s Katie Taylor may be a London 2012 gold medallist but unlike Adams she is yet to qualify for Rio. The Irish lightweight needs to reach the semi-finals of these Worlds to win her place at the next Olympics. On Saturday she’ll box Sweden’s Agnes Alexiusson at 2pm (UK time). GB’s Chantelle Cameron will also be looking to qualify in Kazakhstan. She has her second bout at these championships at 2.15pm (UK time) against Finland’s Mira Potkonen.
Valerian Spicer, a Londoner representing Dominica, boxes Russia’s Anastasiia Beliakova at 3.45pm, the last bout of the third day of the World championships.