BACK in April, Leeds boxing sensation Nicola Adams was left distraught after a family member’s home was burgled.
“It’s quite a horrible thing to have happen to you,” admits the Olympic hero, who lost prized possessions including a boxing outfit decked out with Swarovski crystals.
Yet they don’t call Adams the ‘comeback kid’ for nothing with the boxer confident of shining brightest of all at next year’s Rio Olympic Games.
Adams, 32, was at a family member’s home in April when two cars were stolen including her own Hyundai Veloster Turbo which was eventually recovered.
But the boxing equipment and other items that were in the boot at the time together with another car, a Ford Focus, were never recovered.
The flyweight is used to dealing with blows, literally, but this one hit her hard, so much so that the former Burmantofts boxer pulled out of the impending ABAs.
But two months later, the former Agnes Stewart School pupil was back where she belonged – on top of the podium – as the Leeds sensation added a European Games gold to her London Olympics crown of 2012 and her Commonwealth Games glory of 2014.
The fighter can now afford a light-hearted joke about her April ordeal, even if quite clearly there is nothing amusing about being burgled.
“I don’t think they knew whose house it was to be fair,” said Adams, who was inside the property at the time.
Yet having previously bounced back from funding and injury difficulties, Adams again picked herself up off the floor – not just to win gold in Baku but also to receive a Doctor of Laws from the University of Leeds.
It means ‘Doctor Nic’ is back on top of the world – and feeling in the best shape ever one year shy of her bid for a second Olympic gold – after which a tilt at a third in Tokyo may yet still follow.
Talking exclusively to the YEP about her turbulent year, Adams admitted: “It was a bit of a rocky start to the year but it’s ended pretty good.
“I got the European Games gold – the first one ever – which went back to Great Britain and that was absolutely amazing.
“And now I have got my honorary degree so people are calling me Doctor Nic which is quite cool!
“I’m not sure what I’m going to do in the long term as I’ve been that focused on Rio at the moment.
“I haven’t really thought about anything else.
“But I definitely think it’s always really important to work hard and it just shows from what I’ve achieved that if you work hard and you put your mind to it you can achieve absolutely anything you want to in life.”
Opening up about the spring burglary that left her and her family rocked, Adams admitted: “It’s quite a horrible thing to have happen to you – people you don’t know wondering around a family member’s house – it’s not nice. I got my car back but everything else has gone.
“My medals weren’t there – I keep them in a safe place – but I’d had a boxing kit made especially for the ABAs and they took that.
“It had Swarovski crystals on it, leather detailing and it was nice.
“There were other things but that was the most important to me.
“It was just the whole experience of it – my family were a bit scared as well and it just didn’t feel right to leave everybody and box in the ABAs.
“But I have had problems and troubles before and I come back even stronger.
“I picked myself back up again, got myself back in training, won a tournament in Spain and then went on to win at the European Games in Baku.
“In one of the articles I was reading they were calling me the comeback kid so that was quite cool!”
With Adams back at the top of her game, it would now take a brave man to predict anything other than a second Olympic gold at Rio in a year’s time.
Adams won hearts and made worldwide headlines when beating Ren Cancan in the London 2012 flyweight final – to claim the first Olympic women’s boxing gold medal in history.
Three years on she remains at the top of her sport as her 33rd birthday approaches but as well as targeting another gold in Rio, Adams has her eyes on breaking different ground – as a professional.
With the boxer also continuing to make appearances on TV shows the possibilities are endless.
“I’m in two minds and I don’t know what I want to do after Rio,” said Adams.
“I have thought about maybe having a go at the professional game – I think it’s about time we had a high level female professional boxer paving the way in the pro’ game.
“I’d quite fancy that little challenge but also I would love to do some TV presenting and some acting and then there’s maybe just staying on and doing Tokyo. “I’ve definitely got a lot to think about but really I need to focus on Rio.”
The qualifiers for next year’s South American showpiece take place next February – and come the Games itself few are likely to arrive in better shape than Adams.
“I just feel now like I feel almost unstoppable,” said the Leeds sensation.
“I’ve been through everything – injuries – and I’d just come back from the shoulder injury at the Commonwealth Games going into the European Games. I feel like I can do anything.
“But it’s still very difficult and you’ve still got all the big players in the game.
“There’s Svelta Taskova from Bulgaria, Ren Cancan, the girl from the United States, Mary Kom from India, they are still there and they are all still very threatening opponents.
“I’ve just got to make sure that I train hard and stay on top of my game and make sure that when it comes to stepping into that ring I am beating all those high quality opponents because that’s what they are.
“They have all been world champions and I am boxing the best of the best every time I step in that ring. I have to make sure I bring everything I have got into the ring with me – all my experience and use that to my best ability.
“I just need to focus, stay determined and train hard and then I believe a gold in Rio is definitely in the cards.”