By Josh Williams
Two-time Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams has announced she is turning professional, with the hope of emulating sporting icon Muhammad Ali.
Adams confirmed her switch to the paid ranks during a press conference at London’s BT Tower, and the 2016 world amateur boxing champion has signed contracts with hall of fame promoter Frank Warren of Queensberry Promotions.
Adams, who turns 35 in October, expressed her delight in having an opportunity to further make an impact like her idol Muhammad Ali, and break down gender stereotypes in boxing.
“My hero was Muhammad Ali,” she said. “I watched him box on a re-run in the Olympics and go on and become a world champion as a pro, and I said that’s exactly what I want to do.
“I wanted to turn pro and find a team that believed in my dream, which is Frank Warren, BT Sport and BoxNation, and take women’s boxing to the next level and become a world champion and do great things.
Frank Warren’s television network BoxNation has teamed up with broadcasting giants BT Sport, and confirmed their first four shows which will be aired on both channels, with Adams featuring on two of them.
The Leeds native’s debut will be on the undercard of Terry Flanagan’s fifth defence of his WBO lightweight title against Petr Petrov on April 8 at the Manchester Arena.
Also, the 34-year-old is scheduled to feature on another of Warren’s latest signings – Josh Warrington, on May 13 at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.
With turning pro, Adams admitted there are many more challenges in and outside of the ring to overcome, but embraces each and every obstacle that’s put in front of her.
“It’s going to be quite different,” she added. “No headgear for one. I have to find my own team now. With the amateurs, you have everything on the table given to you – the doctors, physios, everything is just there.
“Now I have to create my own team and I’m actually really excited about doing that, having my own team, knowing we’re all working together, we’re all working to achieve the same goal which is to make me a world champion and take women’s boxing to the next level.
“Hopefully you’ll continue to follow me into the pro ranks, there’s exciting fights coming up, I’m going to be enjoying the adventure.”
London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Katie Taylor decided to turn professional with Matchroom Boxing in late 2016, and the overwhelming support during her first two contests proved women’s boxing does have a huge potential to take centre stage.
Frank Warren has previously been a critic of women in boxing, but the 64-year-old veteran promoter admitted Nicola Adams changed his mind, and made him think ‘women’s boxing is here’.
“I think Nicola is going to be in a position where she will be within a year more or less challenging for a world title,” he said. “I believe she has the ability to do so.
“What’s she’s done is for me, turned my head round and I’ve said ‘right, women’s boxing is here, it’s on BT, who am I to say I’m not the person to do women’s boxing’.”