Boxing: Nicola's thumping start to the new year

Leeds boxing ace Nicola Adams enjoyed a Swede success to kick off 2011 in style in Stockholm.

Competing for Great Britain against host country Sweden, the 2012 Games hopeful proved too hot to handle for Swedish opponent Jenny Hardings in the 51 kilo flyweight category.

The 27-year-old claimed a unanimous decision in the contest, comprising of four rounds lasting two minutes apiece.

In addition, Adams, now based back in Yorkshire, was named as the best boxer on the night. The performance put Adams in good heart for a successful year, a huge one in her bid to rubber-stamp an Olympic place.

Adams, who made history in 2008 when she became the first British boxer to reach the World Championship podium in Ningbo, China, said: "It went really well and it was a nice start to the year against a decent opponent, who had a really tight defence and was a bit of a counter-puncher.

"It's the first time I've fought her and with it being her hometown, I had to put in a good performance to beat her. Every shot she threw, the crowd was cheering for her, so I had to dig deep."

Adams' blue-riband event this year is the European Championships in Rotterdam in October, with her longer-term horizons being claiming a place in the seven-strong GB Olympics squad where she will be competing for one of three places at London 2012.

Thomas Christiansen.

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