LONDON: Olympic champion Nicola Adams is confident training alongside some of the world’s leading boxers will stand her in good stead when she makes her professional debut in Manchester, northern England, on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
The 34-year-old British sports star has been training in a San Francisco gym used by Andre Ward and Amir Khan ahead of her bout with Argentina’s Virginia Carcamo.
Virgil Hunter, Adams’s new trainer, guided Ward from Olympic gold in 2004 to the heights of professional boxing and Adams believes he will do the same for her.
“There’s so much knowledge in the gym and seeing guys like Andre Ward, who is the best in the world, training every day has left me a bit in awe to be honest,” Adams said Thursday.
“Virgil has a lot of knowledge and one thing I like about him is he knows how to take an Olympic champion and turn them into a pro — he did it with Andre and I think he’s capable of doing the same with me.”
Adams, an Olympic champion on home soil at the 2012 London Games and again last year in Rio, is one of several high-profile female amateur boxers to have turned professional in recent times.
Fellow Olympic champions Claressa Shields of the United States and Ireland’s Katie Taylor have already made the move and veteran British promoter Frank Warren is keen to make the most of Adams’s popularity.
Warren had ben a vocal critic of women’s boxing but Adams has changed his mind and he is now looking forward to achieving the same success as a professional that she enjoyed as an amateur.
“Nicola lights up a room — she’s bubbly and she has an infectious smile and most importantly she can fight,” Warren said.
“She’s won everything as an amateur and she’s one of the most recognisable boxers in the country.
“Now she wants to emulate what she did in the amateurs by winning a pro world title, and I’m sure she’ll do it sooner rather than later.
“It’s a matter of being comfortable and when she believes she’s ready. I think she could fight for a title right now, but it’s about winning that title and retaining it, and that’s what we’ve got to do.”