Boxing: Leeds's double Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams targets world title

Josh Warrington (right) and Double Olympic Gold Medallist Nicola Adams�OBE at their press conference at Elland Road.
Josh Warrington (right) and Double Olympic Gold Medallist Nicola Adams�OBE at their press conference at Elland Road.
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Double OIympic champion Nicola Adams believes it is realistic to target a world title fight in 2018, even though she has yet to have her first bout as a professional.

Adams endured sleepless nights before deciding to join the paid ranks and not pursue an historic third gold medal at Tokyo 2020, although she has not completely ruled out the prospect.

Nicola Adams�OBE.

Nicola Adams�OBE.

The 34-year-old has signed a long-term promotional deal with promoter Frank Warren and is due to make her professional debut at the Manchester Arena on April 8, followed by a ‘homecoming’ fight at First Direct Arena in Leeds on May 13.

Opponents for those fights have yet to be found, but Adams is already thinking big as she aims to follow in the footsteps of her idol Muhammad Ali by winning Olympic gold and a professional world title.

“I would be like to be ready for a world title fight next year and bring the belt home to Leeds,” Adams said at a press conference to promote her fight on May 13 on the undercard of a bill headlined by fellow Leeds fighter Josh Warrington.

“I think that’s quite realistic with all my experience. I’ve had over 200 amateur fights, I just have to adapt a little more for the times of the rounds and we’ve been working hard on slowing down my feet, getting more power in my punches.

“The removal of the headguard I think is going to be a bonus, because that creates a bigger target. It will be a lot easier to see shots coming and move out of the way as well.

“I know everyone wants to beat me, but they’ve got to get in the ring and put their money where their mouth is. I’m ready. I haven’t boxed in Leeds since I was 13 so it really is a homecoming. I’m excited and looking forward to it.”

Adams received advice from fellow Olympic champion Anthony Joshua before turning professional and admits she is looking forward to fighting less frequently than was required as an amateur.

“I have no regrets,” the flyweight added. “From the moment of having the medal round my neck (in Rio), I spent pretty much every moment up until now thinking about it.

“I’m happy now, I’ve found a good team that believe in my dream and what I can do. They want to make me a world champion like my idol Muhammad Ali and that’s what I want to be.

“I still do have a chance of winning the triple as pros can now box (in the Olympics), so who knows?”

Warrington is waiting for Spain’s Kiko Martinez to be confirmed as his opponent on May 13, after which he hopes to take on fellow Briton Lee Selby this summer at Elland Road.

The unbeaten WBC International featherweight champion, who underwent surgery on an elbow injury over the winter, said: “By May it will be 10 months since my last fight, but that gap has given me a new lease of life.

“I’m sick of hearing his (Selby’s) name. If the contract gets put to me tomorrow I’ll sign it no problem. If he comes to Leeds he’s getting beat, simple as that.”