Published on November 4, 2013 | by Kitty Trice0
Women’s boxing more popular after OlympicsUntil the London 2012 Olympics, women’s boxing was considered a minority sport, however, with Nicola Adams winning gold, it has been given a new lease of life.
Adams’ triumph awoke the media and the public to the sport. The diminutive fighter from Leeds dismissed critics and decisively won gold ahead the formidable Chinese world champion Ren Cancan in the 51kg flyweight division.
This turned the tables for Adams, 30, who was defeated by Cancan in the 2010 and 2012 World Championship finals.
However, before 2012, the attitude to women’s boxing was sceptical and, in the main, less than positive. The sport was banned in the UK until 1996 due to the belief that premenstrual syndrome made women too “unstable” to compete.
The decision to include it in to the 2012 Olympics in 2009 raised many disapproving eyebrows.
Many considered female boxing “unfeminine” and a male sport. Significantly, the men’s British boxing Olympian Amir Khan said: “Deep down I think women shouldn’t fight.”
Ireland’s Katie Taylor, 27, has been a flag-bearer for women’s boxing with four world championship titles and gold at London 2012 in the 60kg lightweight division.
She is now considering whether to turn professional due to feeling unsupported by the Irish Amateur Boxing Association. “I’m definitely going to continue, but I don’t know whether I’ll turn professional or stay amateur,” she explained.
Perceptions changed dramatically post-Olympic glory and Adams herself spoke of the new interest in the sport. “I’m always getting tweets from girls saying they’ve taken up boxing because they’ve seen me win. We’ve got a lot more younger females participating in the sport.”
The sport is no longer seen as controversial and it has greatly encouraged women to participate for fitness as well as competitive reasons.
The amount of women in England participating in boxing has risen by 79% from 19,600 to 35,100 after the Games.
Boxing will also receive increased funding following the success of Adams. The future of women’s boxing looks golden as Adams has set her eyes on World Championship gold as well as Commonwealth and Olympic glory in the future.
The strides women’s boxing has made over the past few years have been astounding. With Adams aiming to retain her Olympic title at Rio in 2016, the sport will have a figurehead to help continue its rapid progression. However, whether the rest of world will stand up and take notice remains to be seen.