Nicola Adams relished her return to her home city of Leeds on Saturday night as she produced a fiery performance to stop Mexico’s Maryan Salazar after 35 seconds of the third round at the First Direct Arena.
The double Olympic champion was roared in and out of the ring and produced a performance likely to stand her in good stead for a potential world title fight against one of Salazar’s compatriots before the end of the year.
Adams said: “That was just what I wanted. Mexicans are always tough and strong and that was great preparation for a lot of the champions who are Mexican.
“The atmosphere was great. I knew I’d get a great reception because we are in Leeds. I’ve been dreaming about this moment for a long time and to walk in to the crowd chanting ‘Yorkshire’ was a great feeling.”
Adams did not have it all her own way against the 18-year-old Salazar, who deserves enormous credit for not buckling under the pressure in what was only her sixth professional contest.
But the 34-year-old landed a couple of juddering combinations and dominated a ferocious exchange at the end of round two before provoking referee Howard Foster’s relatively timely intervention.
Adams admitted she had revelled in the rare opportunity to fight over three-minute rounds, a distance which she hopes will become a permanent factor as she builds up towards a world title shot.
Adams added: “The three-minute rounds definitely suited me better. I felt over two minutes it was too much of a rush and I didn’t really have any time to do anything.
“Now fighting over the three-minute rounds, I can stay relaxed and pick my punches right.”
The noise that had greeted Adams’ march to the ring suggested the evening’s action would be a cut above her relatively routine debut victory over Virginie Carcamo in Manchester last month.
Salazar’s cornermen even threw T-shirts bearing their fighter’s name into the crowd - but their boxer was soon left in no doubt she was in for the toughest test of her career to date.
Adams dominated the first round with a left to the body and a right-hand combination, and she appeared to settle over the longer stanza while Salazar tired.
But the Mexican’s refusal to budge seemed to frustrate Adams a little in the second, her cornermen yelling at her to “settle down” as her desire lo to finish the job threatened to run away with her.
Adams finished the round in style as she backed Salazar into her corner and unloaded shots with both hands, and early in the third another assault convinced Foster to wave an entertaining contest off.