Olympic boxing champion Nicola Adams said she hopes her success and popularity has helped to advance equality for women in the sport.
The Leeds-born fighter said she was strongly considering turning professional to emulate her hero Muhammad Ali, when she appeared as a guest editor yesterday (Dec 29) on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
She said would love to be the person to boost the profile of women’s pro boxing, adding she hoped to “make boxing as equal as possible for women alongside the men”.
On turning professional, Ms Adams said fans would have to “wait and see” but admitted the prospect was “very exciting”.
“I’ve been thinking about it, the thought of being able to become a world champion like my hero Muhammad Ali is very exciting.
“I’d love to be able to be this person that makes this big difference and gets women’s boxing on equal par with the men.
“My dream 2017 would be deciding whether or not I go professional or stay amateur and fulfil the goals there.”
She said she was grateful to Jane Couch, who became the first officially licenced female boxer in 1998 and won numerous titles during a 15-year career.
Ms Adams told the programme she was an ambassador for charity Fight for Hope – which helps young people through boxing and martial arts – because of the way that sport can give young people who have may personal difficulties a way to achieve their potential.
In the programme, retired boxer Ricky Hatton, 38, said he tried to kill himself several times during a battle with depression and that more needed to be done to support boxers and retired boxers with mental health issues.
He said: “I used to go to the pub, come back, take the knife out and sit there in the dark crying hysterically.
“But in the end I thought I’ll end up drinking myself to death because I was so miserable.
“I was coming off the rails with my drinking and that led to drugs. It was like a runaway train.
“More should be done for boxers. Footballers have an agent who looks out for them and a football club that gets behind them. Whereas boxers, it’s like once your time has gone it’s ‘on your way’ and move on to the next champion coming through.”
Ms Adams’ contribution as guest editor for Today marks the second time in two months she has appeared on BBC Radio 4 after she featured as a guest on Desert Island Discs in November.
First all-female guest editor list
Nicola Adams joined Carey Mulligan, Helena Morrissey and Dame Sally Davies who took over the Today programme as guest editors this week.
Today has included guest editors in its Christmas programming for 13 years but this year represents the first time that the selection has been all-female. Guests in previous years have included Sir Tim Berners, Michael Palin, Stephen Hawking, David Hockney, Jarvis Cocker Tracey Emin, Yoko Ono, Richard Branson, Melinda Gates, Bradley Wiggins, Sebastian Coe, Damon Albarn, Colin Firth, Lenny Henry, David Blunkett and John Bercow.