NICOLA ADAMS, who performed an Ali shuffle on her way to winning the first gold medal for women’s boxing at an Olympic Games, discussed what Muhammad Ali means to her.
“He said he was ‘The Greatest’ and he really was. He was the greatest boxer that ever lived,” she told the Team GB website. “I never got to meet him unfortunately but he was a great person inside and outside of the ring and he will definitely be missed by a lot of people.
“My favourite memory of him is the Rumble in the Jungle fight against George Foreman in 1974. I’m the sort of person who goes back and watches the old classic fights and that one is definitely my favourite.
“He was a very special character and I’m not sure there’ll ever be anyone like him again. He was one of my heroes and there are things about the way he fought that I try and bring to my style – I even did the Ali shuffle during a fight at London 2012.
“The things that he brought to the ring like the hand-speed, the fast feet, are things that I practice every day in training. My hand-speed and footwork are some of my biggest assets and his were phenomenal.”
Ali has been a direct inspiration to her. She explained, “He once said that ‘he who is not courageous enough to take risks, will never accomplish anything in life’. And I think he’s right… For me, going into women’s boxing was a risk. It wasn’t an Olympic sport when I first got into it, but I love the sport and I was prepared to take that risk to live out my dreams, and it’s come true.”