Nicola Adams: London 2012 changed views on women's boxing

By Jessica CreightonBBC Sport
British boxers ready for Euro challenge

Britain's Olympic champion Nicola Adams says attitudes towards women's boxing have changed since London 2012.

She returns to action this week for the first time since last summer's Games where she became the first woman to win an Olympic boxing gold medal.

Adams, 30, said: "I'm always getting tweets from girls saying they've taken up boxing because they've seen me win."

The Leeds flyweight competes at the European Union Championships in Hungary, which start on Monday.

Defending champion Adams, Lisa Whiteside, Natasha Jonas and Savannah Marshall will represent GB Boxing in the event.

Many voiced disapproval at the prospect of women getting into an Olympic boxing ring when the decision to include the sport was made in 2009, but the heroic scenes of Adams winning gold has changed many opinions.

Sport England figures show that before last summer's Games, where women's boxing was included for the first time, there were 19,600 females boxing once a week, compared with 35,100 now - an increase of 79%.

Women's boxing is one of only a handful of sports that have enjoyed participation increases after the Games, according to the latest results from Sport England's Active Peoples Survey.

Jonas told BBC Sport: "People's perceptions of women's boxing have changed. The fact that women's boxing was on the telly, everyone could see it and the skill involved, and the determination of Nicola and the rest of the team - people were looking at it like 'yeah, I want to do that'.

"We've got a lot more younger females participating in the sport and just having a go at the training. That's what the Olympics were all about."

The participation rise bodes well for GB Boxing heading towards the 2016 Olympics, as Britain will want to build on their five-medal success in London.

As defending champion and boosted by her Olympic success, Adams is the boxer to beat in Hungary.

"I know everybody's coming for my spot - everybody wants to knock me off my perch so it's made me train harder," Adams said.

She is part of a strong British team that also includes world middleweight champion Marshall, Jonas and newcomer Whiteside.

"We've got the best boxers out there," says GB Boxing coach Bob Dillon.

"I can remember coaching the guys like [Olympic silver medallist] Amir Khan and we would turn up for tournaments and we wouldn't even be acknowledged.

"Now we're turning up with these ladies and people are looking at us to see who we've brought."