Whiteside in good Nic to face Adams

Lisa Whiteside (above) is on course for a final against Nicola Adams
Lisa Whiteside (above) is on course for a final against Nicola Adams
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Lisa Whiteside predicts a titanic battle between herself and Olympic champion Nicola Adams on Sunday.

The Preston boxer is expected to face the Leeds fighter in the final of the ABA Elite National Championships at the Liverpool Arena, in what many people are describing as a winner-takes-all 2016 Olympics decider.

With Team GB only allowed to take one fighter per weight category at next year’s Games in Rio de Janeiro, both Whiteside and Adams are fighting for one spot in the 51kg weight category.

As reigning Olympic and Commonwealth Games flyweight champion, Adams will head into this weekend’s encounter as the favourite – on paper at least.

But Larches and Savick Amateur Boxing Club star Whiteside – who like Adams (below) will face a semi-final opponent this weekend – is the form fighter.

She won silver at November’s World Championships in South Korea, although many expert judges – including Team GB head coach Rob McCracken – believe she was robbed of the gold medal in the final against American Marlen Esparza.

Although both fighters have played down the significance of this weekend’s meeting with regards to the Olympics, there is no doubt that whoever comes out on top will put themselves firmly at the front of the queue when it comes to selection for Rio in a year’s time.

And with so much resting 
on the outcome of this weekend’s result, Whiteside believes it will bring out the best in her and her great 
rival.

“On paper she’s probably the favourite,” Whiteside told the Evening Post.

“She’s the Olympic and Commonwealth champion, but obviously the Commonwealths were nearly 12 months ago now and that was her last contest.

“I have just been to the World Championship and won a silver medal but I probably should be world champion now with the way I fought in the final.

“No matter what, it’s going to be a very competitive and close fight either way.

“I have left no stone unturned – I have really pushed myself in training.

“Now it’s just a case of going in there and hopefully putting in a good performance against her.

“It will be an absolute dream come true if, at the end of the fight, it’s my arm which is raised in the ring.

“I think it will be very emotional because I’ve worked so hard and made so many sacrifices.

“But I know whatever happens, I will have no regrets. What will be, will be.”

While Whiteside is determined to ‘leave it all out’ in the ring this weekend, she knows she faces a huge task in getting the better of Adams and being crowned 2015 ABA national champion.

The Yorkshirewoman was the first ever athlete in Olympic history to win a boxing gold medal when she gloriously defeated China’s Ren Cancan in 2012.

She is Great Britain’s most decorated female amateur fighter and is a highly-skilled exponent of her craft.

“I can’t really envisage how the fight will go,” Whiteside said.

“Obviously, she is a very experienced boxer and a lot will depend on what tactics she will go in with.

“I want to be the one dominating the fight but as fighters we are probably quite different.

“She probably can box a whole host of different styles and I think a lot of people thought I could only box one way but I think my performance at the World Championships proved otherwise.

“I think I proved then that I have a number of skills in my box of tricks, but I just want to box the way I know I can box and hopefully it’s her who has to deal with me.

“Really I just need to concentrate on what I do and not too much on what she does.”

The fight will also have extra spice bearing 
in mind both are Team GB team-mates and train together a lot at the Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

The pair have never fought each in the past but have sparred on numerous occasions.

“Obviously myself and Nicola train at the same place, although we haven’t sparred since we both said we were entering the National ABA Championships,” Whiteside said.

“We were both training together last week, but this week we have gone back to our own gyms which has been 
nice.

“I have been able to concentrate on myself with no distractions.

“But everything has been fine between me and Nicola over the last few weeks. There’s mutual respect between us both.”

Before Whiteside faces a likely encounter against Adams, she will have to ensure she deals with the threat of her semi-final opponent.

She will face either Plympton’s Rebecca McMullin or Kim Shannon, who hails from 2nd City Boxing Club.

“The other two girls that have entered, I have got the utmost respect for and I will not be underestimating them at all,” Whitseside said.

“I was where they are now once and who is to say they are not just as good as what I or Nicola are.

“I have got to treat that first fight like it’s the final and I can’t really think about the next fight after that.”

Whiteside also took time to pay tribute to her sponsors, which include Scomadi Scooters, What Women want, Waterloo Lodge School, Preston Plastics, Preston Skip Hire and Boxfit.