The news that Nicola Adams has become world champion without throwing a punch in anger has surprised arch rival Lisa Whiteside.
The double Olympic champion was announced as the new WBO flyweight belt holder yesterday despite not having fought for nearly a year.
The 36-year-old was interim champion and mandatory challenger to Mexico’s Arely Mucino, but she has been stripped of her title as she is currently injured and unable to defend the title.
Bizarrely, the pair were due to meet in the ring in March , but Adams pulled out of the contest due to injury.
Mucino, who defended the title twice after winning it in February 2018, can request mandatory challenger status when she is able to fight again.
She is said to have suffered a head injury in her last bout in April and then hurt her ankle in a car crash, ruling her out until at least November and beyond the time during which she was obligated to defend her belt.
Preston ace Whiteside – who has won her first two professional bouts since turning over earlier this year – has questioned the decision to award Adams the world title.
The Leeds-born star has only been in the ring five times – winning all of her bouts – since turning pro and it is almost 10 months since her last fight against Isabel Millan in Leicester.
Despite being long-time rivals, 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Whiteside and Adams have never met inside the ring, although the former is keen to make that showdown happen soon.
She has her next outing scheduled for September 13 in Bolton and is hopeful of fighting for titles in the not-too-distant future.
“I find it all a bit strange to say the least,” Whiteside told the Lancashire Post.
“Nicola’s not boxed for 10 months and to then get given a world title, it’s all a bit odd.
“Why has it not just been made vacant and then people can box for it?
“Why should be it be given gift-wrapped as a present to somebody?
“Would you want a world title without having to fight for it? I know I wouldn’t want that.”
Despite the controversial nature of Adam’s elevation to world champion status, the fact that she is now the person to beat could fast-track a meeting with Whiteside.
She added: “There’s been a lot of comments on social media to get the fight on between me and her. I would be up for it.
“There were rumours that she was retiring, but she is obviously still in the picture and hopefully it can happen.
“It will be a British box-off – Lancashire versus Yorkshire. I am hopeful we can get it on with Frank Warren and BT Sport.
“I made my pro debut on a Frank Warren show. He promotes Nicola and they said they wanted the fight.”