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New documentary ‘Lioness’ highlights out bi boxing icon Nicola Adams

The two-time Olympic gold medalist and former WBO Female Flyweight champion will chronicle her life and rise in the new film.

Boxing at The Royal Albert Hall
Nicola Adams
Photo by James Chance/Getty Images

Out British boxer Nicola Adams retired as an undefeated, decorated and historic champion when she left the sport in 2019. Now, her inspirational story is getting the feature documentary treatment.

According to Deadline, Adams will be the subject of the forthcoming documentary, Lioness: The Nicola Adams Story. The film bearing the two-time Olympic champion’s nickname will chronicle her ascension to legendary status in the boxing world and pushing women’s boxing and LGBTQ visibility in sports to new heights.

Adams made history in 2012 when she became the first Olympic gold medalist in women’s boxing in the flyweight division, accomplishing the feat in front of her home nation in London. The win also cemented her as the first out LGBTQ boxing gold medalist in Olympic history.

She successfully defended her title at the 2016 Rio Olympics before turning pro and capturing the WBO Female Flyweight championship in 2018. Her win in Rio earned her the Outsports Female Athlete of the Year award in 2016.

The Lioness held the championship until her retirement in 2019, after suffering a torn pupil in a successful title defense against Maria Salinas. She stepped away from the ring citing that any further damage to her eye could impact her vision permanently.

Perhaps more important than her stellar in-ring career was her cultural impact. Women’s boxing wasn’t sanctioned by the Amateur Boxing Association of England until 1996, two years after Adams began training at the age of 12. The profile of women’s boxing rose substantially due in part to Adams’ championship-laden amateur and pro careers. Her final fight was the first women’s boxing match to take place at the historic Royal Albert Hall.

Adams also provided much needed representation for the LGBTQ community within the sport. The out bisexual boxer was named the most influential LGBT person in Britain by The Independent following her first Olympic gold medal in 2012. Adams was also part of the first same-sex dancing duo in the history of the long-running British reality dance competition program Strictly Come Dancing last year.

Lioness, which is now in production, is the latest example of Adams’ legacy serving as an inspiration who walk the trail she helped blaze.

“I hope this documentary will help inspire young people to realize that whatever adversities life might throw at you, you can overcome them,” Adams told Deadline. “Sometimes it might feel as if the world is stacked against you, but through hard work, compassion and determination you can achieve your dreams.”