Nicola Adams may be blazing a trail as the world’s leading women’s flyweight, but the inspiration she provided to others could be about to come back to haunt her.
Adams eased into the semi-finals at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow as she outclassed and floored Sri Lanka’s Erandi de Silva on her way to a unanimous decision win.
But no longer is the gold medal a mere formality for Adams as the revolution she did more than most to fuel yields increasing competition across all three women’s weight categories.
Northern Ireland 21-year-old Michaela Walsh joined Adams in the semi-finals with a points win over Jamaica’s Sarah Joy Rae and is likely to face Adams in the final, provided she dispatches tough Indian Pinki Jangra next.
Many remain confident of Walsh’s chances should she square off against the Olympic champion, with her team-mate from the Holy Family club in Belfast, Paddy Barnes, insisting: “What you’ve seen from Michaela is just a fraction of what she can do.
“She spars with me in the club and she gives me lots of trouble. You heard it from me first - if they fight in the final, I’m telling you she’ll beat Nicola Adams.”
Walsh is the first to admit the success of Adams played a significant part in shaping her own career, but she believes it will soon be time for a new star on the women’s scene.
Walsh said: “Nicola and Katie Taylor have done so well but there are up-and-coming boxers now. Nicola is 31 and I’m a kid compared to her. I’m a big fan of hers but if we do meet I can go all the way.”
Adams will face Canada’s Mandy Bujold in the last four on Friday and warned her rivals that, while her sport has grown in strength significantly in the two years since the London Olympics, so has her own ability.
“I have grown massively since then,” Adams said. “I have really grown into my technique and my style. I am working on new things all of the time and everything just seems to be going really well and in full flow at the moment.
“The sport has grown massively too. I know from after London 2012 it increased by 50 per cent and hopefully with everybody seeing the Commonwealth Games on the BBC there will be more and more girls and guys getting involved in sport and in boxing.”