Nicola Adams in her own words to the people of Leeds: "Why I am quitting the ring"

"To my hometown and the wonderful readers of the Yorkshire Evening Post,

Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 6:35 am
Nicola Adams. Photo credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Many years ago, the paper wrote a story about a young girl wanting to embark on a boxing career. That girl wanted to make Leeds, Yorkshire and the people of Great Britain proud and pave the way for a new generation of female fighters.

You’ve championed me from the very start of my career and so I wanted you to be the first to know I’ve made the very difficult decision to step down from the ring.

My journey started aged 12 when I decided to take part in my first fight. Years of watching boxing greats (Ali, Tyson, Bruno) had amounted to an intense passion for the sport and winning that first fight cemented my decision to pursue my dreams. I trained hard and was raring to go, but finding my next opponent took years and finding female fighters in my category turned out to be more challenging than I thought.

Boxing champion Nicola Adams aged seven with her brother Kurtis, aged two.

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Leeds boxer Nicola Adams to hang up gloves at 37

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.

Having people in my life who are a fountain of support, kindness and love, has been the sole reason I’ve been able to represent my country in the way I have. It has been an honour to compete on the global stage, and it has been a privilege to fight against such remarkable athletes. Whilst I am proud of my achievements, the unwavering belief from everyone in my corner, is something I will appreciate for the rest of my life.

It wouldn’t have felt right to announce my departure from the sport without first expressing my feelings to the people who have championed me since my early days. You have stuck with me through the most dark and daunting times. In moments where I felt down and defeated, it has been your unfaltering support that has helped me persevere. To my wonderful team, I would not be the fighter I am today without your encouragement and understanding - what you have taught me goes beyond the ring. Particularly special thanks go to the wonderful Alwyn Belcher, my coach and personal mentor of many years.

Hanging up my gloves was always going to hard, but I have never felt luckier, And I’m so immensely proud of how far the sport has come."