NICOLA Adams will join fellow Leeds fighter Josh Warrington in fighting professionally at the city’s First Direct Arena on Saturday, May 13 after turning down a third Olympics to go pro with Frank Warren.
Flyweight Adams had the option of bidding for an unprecedented third consecutive Olympic gold at the Tokyo Games in 2020 but was unveiled as a new recruit to the stable of Warren in London yesterday.
In doing so, the 34-year-old joins featherweight star Warrington who also signed for Warren in December after leaving Matchroom Boxing.
Both Leeds fighters will now feature on a mouth-watering card at First Direct Arena on May 13 with Warrington announcing details of his next fight yesterday, against an unnamed oppenent.
That bout will mark unbeaten Warrington’s debut for Warren, on the same night that Adams will make her second professional appearance also against a yet to be named opponent and five weeks after making her pro’ debut in Manchester on Saturday, April 8.
Both boxers will now feature on BT Sport and Box Nation foland Adams is intent on making an immediate impression.
“I want to take women’s boxing to the next level, become a world champion and do great things,” said Adams.
“It’s going to be quite different: no headgear for one.
“I have to create my own team now, but I’m really excited about doing that.
“I took my time over a few months as to what I wanted to do next. It was a big thing for me to think about, quite a tough decision, but I wanted a new challenge.
“I wanted to do what Muhammad Ali did in becoming a world champion. I’m a double Olympic champion and that has fulfilled my goals because I’m also world champion and rated number one.
“My hero’s Muhammad Ali, I said that from the first time I saw him as a young kid, I saw him become world champion and turn pro, and told myself that’s what I wanted to do.”
The development also comes despite Warren, 64, previously criticising women’s boxing.
Decorated Irish amateur Katie Taylor made her professional debut with Warren’s rivals Matchroom last year.
Warren admitted: “I’ve not been the greatest advocate of women’s boxing.
“My head’s been turned. I’ve had to eat humble pie, and thought ‘Are you a dinosaur?’ I’ve always appreciated any ladies who are fighting.
“But what she (Adams) has done for me is turn my head. Who am I to be the person to say I’m not going to do women’s boxing? She could probably win a world title now, but it’s about coming through and learning her trade.”
It was announced yesterday that Adams had left GB Boxing’s performance programme, having become the first British boxer since Harry Mallin in 1924 to retain an Olympic title.
Rob McCracken, performance director of GB Boxing said: “Nicola has made a huge contribution to both the Olympic programme and the sport of boxing and I would like to thank her for everything she has done for GB Boxing since she joined the squad in 2010. She has won everything there is to win and her place in history is secured as the first women to ever win a gold medal for boxing and then top it by winning a second one in Rio.”