13 Aug 2012

Captivated by boxing's Nicola 'Babyface' Adams

I was in France when she won, this diminutive, smiling boxer. The commentator told us she was 29, but she looked 10 years younger to me.

But I was captivated, not only by her victory but by her simple humanity after it.

Today a rare dream came true: I got to meet Nicola Adams, gold medal flyweight Olympian.

I was in the Olympic village to talk to the last man to win gold for Team GB, heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua. She was sitting next to him. I interviewed them both, together with the third gold medallist, Luke Campbell.

I told Nicola I didn’t believe she was 29. She said: “I know. That’s why my nickname is ‘Babyface’.”

Even her gumshield says “Babyface”…

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15 reader comments

  1. margaret brandreth-jones says:

    She’s an unassuming cutie, BUT I can’t stand boxing and when a women joins in with the pugilism ……it is unacceptable. I cannot cope with aggression of any kind, emotional, physical and psychological as my nature is to be non agressive and aspire towards the most gentle possible. Boxing doesn’t seem to be the non agressive sport that martial arts display , although if someone attempted to attack me I certainly would not hang around before my fist flared up or my knee went into an appropriate demobilising target. Why does a pretty young women want to engage in boxing for pleasure? flat noses, swollen cheek bones , bruised ribs etc follow!!!

    1. Londoner says:

      You have little, if no, idea of the reality of daily life for many in Britain today. Do you have any concept of the amount of aggression going around … even over relatively minor issues like parking, noise and littering? You try being a pacifist in certain neighbourhoods, and see where it gets you! The police unfortunately are hopelessly overrun, both in numbers and by legislation.

    2. Moonbeach says:

      Your views are legitimate. But they are yours!

      Many people, myself included, find boxing acceptable and noble. The fact that you cannot cope with aggression in a world that is full of aggression says more about you than any boxer.

      To box as an amateur, you need to be fit, have quick reactions and to be able to control fear. You also have to have respect for your opponent.

      Boxing teaches you self confidence, how to defend yourself and, much more importantly, how to cope with failure in a highly competetive world.

      Yes some people get hurt very occasionally. But they do in all contact sports!

      I find it much more unacceptable and offensive that nations will kill each other’s citizens because the Prime Minister thinks he’s right yet baulk at resolving personal disputes with violence!

      I would argue that a tongue lashing by an articulate pacifist can be much more hurtful and longer lasting than a punch.

      Let’s congratulate all of our sportsmen and women for their success and participation in all physical activities.

    3. margaret brandreth-jones says:

      Londoner thanks for your comment. It feels good to know that others at least read about how I feel. This sort of understanding is at the base of all communication and action / reaction .I am well aware of the daily conflicts, grumbles, uncontrolled aggression . I have worked in the NHS for 40 years and see perhaps more than you will realise. Perhaps not as I don’t know you.
      The knowledge of violence and agression though does not make me enjoy it or even bow to tolerating it.

    4. margaret brandreth-jones says:

      Dear Moonbeach , your argument stands. As I commented, psychological and emotional violence is also repulsive to me. The idea of people wanting to physically knock others out to win is also repulsive and that is my stance.

  2. Mudplugger says:

    Taking nothing away from the spirited Nicola Adams, it is regrettable that the IOC did not take the real opportunity from the pressure for women’s boxing to be included in the Olympics. That would have been to eliminate boxing altogether.

    Dedicated and charming athletes they may be, but what ‘legacy’ does that leave for youngsters to see a potential future in simply being better than anyone else at thumping the living daylights out of a fellow human ?

    We have just seen dozens of different sports to which any disaffected youth could apply their energies without aiming to main others. Boxing is offensive in its core objective and should not be acceptable in a mature 21st century society.

    Nicola Adams, along with the male boxers, simply did a fundamentally wrong thing very successfully.

    (And, according to the Daily Mash, it still only makes her the 8th hardest woman in Leeds !)

  3. Gerry says:

    She was the face of the Games for me. Fantastic smile and character. Amateur boxing isn’t about thumping the living daylights out of the opponent – that’s why the combatants wear headgear. Boxing is one of the best things to get thugs off the streets – and into a boxing gym where they are taught discipline and respect by people they respect. It works much better than schools – where they are often taught nothing by people they don’t respect.

  4. Iain Waterman says:

    I think the other comments condemning boxing are pretty nonsensical and clearly ignorant:

    ‘We have just seen dozens of different sports to which any disaffected youth could apply their energies without aiming to main others. Boxing is offensive in its core objective and should not be acceptable in a mature 21st century society.

    Nicola Adams, along with the male boxers, simply did a fundamentally wrong thing very successfully.’

    – could not disagree with this more. Boxing, particularly amateur boxing is a sport that demands discipline and work ethic, and teaches young people, who often may want to act violently, how to control their aggression and channel it into safe channels. More so than say football, boxing can teach young people with little structure or family support in their lives how to work hard, listen to instructions from others, and seek to improve themselves at something. – Better to have people in a gym, striving with others towards a goal, than with nothing to aim for.

    1. Mudplugger says:

      Iain – my point was that those very characteristics you identify “…discipline and work ethic, and teaches young people, who often may want to act violently, how to control their aggression and channel it into safe channels….teach young people with little structure or family support in their lives how to work hard, listen to instructions from others, and seek to improve themselves at something….” can be applied to almost any sport, they are not unique to boxing, yet boxing always tries to claim that as a defence of the indefensible.

      It can be just as satisfying to take out your inherent violence with a cricket bat, a discus, a javelin, a table-tennis bat, a snooker cue, a sports-car or any other piece of sporting equipment – donning gloves and beating someone else to a pulp isn’t the only way to do it, in fact it’s the wrong way to do it.

  5. Cellarman says:

    Some people you do well not to mess with.

    Big Up Babyface!

  6. Britt_W says:

    Great little interview with her last night, Jon.

    Yes, that smile… I couldn’t think of where I’ve seen it before but then I remembered who she reminded me of:
    A completely different woman, in a different field altogether but still: There’s something in that smile which reminds me of Tracey Emin.

    As for boxing… I’ve never liked it, be it men’s or women’s boxing. Excellent training – rubbish sport (if you can call it a sport).
    And this comes from the daughter of someone who was very close to win a Swedish final over Ingemar Johansson, who was to become a World Heavyweight Champion.
    My late Dad even gave me a pair of red, proper boxing gloves as a 5-year-old. I never took up the sport (be happy for that!) but – I have somehow always appreciated the fact that Dad gave a pair of boxing gloves each to my brother AND me – not just to my brother! Not a very common thing to do in the late 50s…

  7. Skin says:

    Good to see C4 reporting REAL news now the blindfold of the olympics is finally over!

  8. Stuart Anderson says:

    Jon,
    I don’t always agree with your views but I respect your integrity. Like most British people I was elated during the games. Tonight on R4 just before 9.00pm I heard “As summer turns to autumn and 2012 turns to 2013..the party’s over and the fireworks have already turned to ash!” What on earth motivates the BBC to immediately jump on the downer wagon. It was bad enough very early this morning to hear R4 repeating some Sydney Morning Herald editorial about Britain being back to its normal gloom or something along those lines. Just one day and scouring the airways for negatives! What is it in the blood of all these BBC spokespersons to want to forget the elation and renew the agro? Is it that so many BBC spokesmen love to get back to punch and judy style media. It’s time to shoot the messenger. The media is no longer a positive influence. They just want to churn away and the devil take the high road.
    Shame.Can you imagine if we had this type of commentary during WWI. Your colleagues should listen to the American swimmer they interviewed who said, we just shut out all negative thoughts. Would that ever occur to the BBC? I think not, its their bread and butter.
    Stuart Anderson

  9. Tanya Spooner says:

    Whatever one feels about women boxing the healthy exuberance of this young woman seems to cut across. There is no doubt that women in the modern world need strength, and to be able to protect themselves. She is an example to us all and I am proud of her achievement and very proud of her.

  10. habibba says:

    If he was truely a god then why does he need to work on his image. At st annes all the goons where given images to protect and get to know me, he wanted to be me. I do not have a friendship with him so it’s not to inspire me to work on my image. I’m 3 parts white so I don’t end up a factory girl, I was introduced to gold and meer. I work to improve and expirement to see what works for the image. Your idea of my son your co-worker at blackpool seperate apartments would have worked if he hadn’t decived innocennt people just to live in my shadow. I already have a twin both of them attend meetings on the account of mental health. Isolating me from their exsistance was his game and now with a mental health history of which discharged with concerns of mental illness means he can not approch me with out compensating for my losses. Then theres those who are at a loss for me not doing what army and navy officers have made safe. It’s like spitting on afgan front line soliders. And yet i’m the one with a delousional thoughts. Endured the highest dose of medication. What to do now? Nothing he’d need to confess to you and for you to move on. I can not relocate with out sibblings.

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