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Pioneering women’s boxer Nicola Adams retires due to eye concern

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British boxer Nicola Adams, the first athlete to win a gold medal in Olympic women’s boxing, announced her retirement Wednesday in an open letter to the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“I’m immensely honoured to have represented our country – to win double Olympic gold medals and then the WBO championship belt is a dream come true,” Adams wrote. “But it’s not without taking its toll on my body, and aside from the expected aches and pains I’ve been advised that any further impact to my eye would most likely lead to irreparable damage and permanent vision loss.”

Adams took up women’s boxing in an era in which opponents were hard to find. She was in her mid-20s by the time meaningful European and world competition emerged. By 2011, she was the top flyweight in Europe and a two-time world championship silver medalist.

In 2012, the first-ever Olympic competition, taking place in her home country, was stacked. Her semifinal opponent was Indian legend Mary Kom, who had won five world championships at a slightly lower weight class. Adams had beaten her at the previous world championship and did so again, winning a comfortable 11-6 decision under the points system used at the time. She then knocked down three-time world champion Ren Cancan of China in a dominant 16-7 win to take gold.

In 2016, she won her only world championship and then repeated as Olympic champion, beating Ren again in the semifinals and defeating France’s Sarah Ourahmoune in the final.

Her plaudits in her home country went well beyond the ring. In 2012, The Independent named her the most influential LGBT person in Britain. She was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 2013 and elevated to OBE (Officer) in 2016.

She turned professional for a brief but successful career, winning her first five fights and claiming the interim WBO flyweight title before taking a draw in what would be her final fight in September against Mexico’s Maria Salinas.

“Hanging up my gloves was always going to (be) hard, but I have never felt luckier,” Adams wrote. “And I’m so immensely proud of how far the sport has come.”

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Danielle Perkins is first U.S. boxer to win world title in 3 years

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Danielle Perkins became the U.S.’ first world champion boxer in this Olympic cycle, taking the heavyweight crown in Russia on Sunday.

Perkins, a 37-year-old who played college basketball at George Mason and St. John’s, improved from bronze in 2018 to earn her first world title, blanking defending world champion Yang Xiaoli of China 5-0 in Sunday’s final.

Video of the bout is here.

Perkins was slated to fight Yang in the 2018 World semifinals but withdrew due to medical reasons, according to USA Boxing.

The heavyweight division is 81+kg, but the heaviest Olympic weight division is capped at 75kg.

The last American to earn a world title was Claressa Shields in 2016, before she repeated as Olympic champion in Rio and moved to the professional ranks.

The Olympic trials are in December in Louisiana, after which winners will fight internationally in early 2020 in bids to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

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MORE: IOC strips Olympic status from boxing body AIBA

Errol Spence, Olympic boxer, thrown from Ferrari in crash

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DALLAS (AP) — Welterweight boxing champion Errol Spence crashed a speeding Ferrari in Dallas early Thursday and was badly injured but is expected to survive, police said.

The crash happened just before 3 a.m., when Spence’s Ferrari crossed a median into oncoming traffic and flipped over several times, ejecting Spence, who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, police said. Spence was taken to a hospital and placed in the intensive care unit.

“His injuries are not life-threatening. His parents are with him at the hospital,” Tim Smith, a spokesman for Spence’s promoter, Premier Boxing Champions, told The Associated Press.

Police said they’re still investigating the cause of the crash, but they noted that the Ferrari was speeding at the time.

Last month, the 2012 U.S. Olympian added the WBC welterweight title to his IBF strap with a thrilling split-decision victory over Shawn Porter in Los Angeles.

With his rangy athleticism and virtuosic skill, Spence, who is 26-0 with 21 knockouts, has captured fans with a series of crisp victories in recent years. He won the IBF title in 2017 by stopping Kell Brook in England, and he defended it three times, culminating in a one-sided thrashing of undersized Mikey Garcia in March.

Spence, 29, emerged victorious from his bout with the veteran brawler Porter (30-3-1), which featured several wild exchanges and had the Staples Center crowd of 16,702 on its feet throughout the 12th round and roaring for both fighters when they embraced after the final bell.

Heading into the fight in which he was a heavy favorite, Spence had a lot of attractive options ahead, including a possible fight with the resurgent Manny Pacquiao and a potential bout with fellow unbeaten champion Terrence Crawford after that.