Yorkshire boxing fans get the chance to salute double Olympic champion Nicola Adams at the First Direct Arena, Leeds on Saturday. Phil Hay reports.
Double Olympic champion Nicola Adams is lobbying boxing’s major governing bodies to sanction three-minute rounds for women’s bouts after targeting a first professional world title by the end of the year.
My first professional fight, I loved it. The only thing I didn’t like was the shortness of the rounds. I didn’t feel like there was enough time for me to settle down and find my rhythm.Nicola Adams
Adams fights professionally for the second time in her home city of Leeds on Saturday night and will create what promoter Frank Warren called “a bit of history” when she faces Mexico’s Maryan Salazar over four rounds.
The two-time Olympic gold medallist outpointed Argentina’s Virginia Noemi Carcamo on her debut in Manchester last month, winning comfortably after four two-minute rounds.
Adams and Salazar, an 18-year-old with six bouts on her record, will contest three-minute rounds on Saturday in what Warren said was a first for women’s boxing.
“This is a bit of history,” said Warren. “It’s the first time, I believe, that a woman has boxed three-minute rounds.”
The British Board of Control, the UK’s governing body, sets no restrictions on women’s bouts but the rules of the major world organisations, including the World Boxing Council (WBC), limit female fighters to two-minute rounds.
Warren plans to secure a world-title contest for Adams before the end of 2017, less than a year after the 34-year-old ended a hugely successful amateur career, and Adams believes a change to the existing rules would offer her a physical advantage.
“I’d love to be fighting for a world title by the end of the year,” she said.
“That would be an achievement for me. I’m geared to go and I’m ready.
“My first professional fight, I loved it. The only thing I didn’t like was the shortness of the rounds. I didn’t feel like there was enough time for me to settle down and find my rhythm. It felt like a bit of a rush. With three minutes it’ll be a lot more settled and a lot more comfortable.”
Asked if she wanted to see the rules on world title fights revised, Adams said: “I’m hoping they will. Hopefully, we can work with the other governing bodies to achieve that.
“If you’ve got an opponent who’s holding and it takes 15 or 20 seconds for the ref to break you up, that’s nearly all the round gone. You haven’t got time to settle. You’ve just got to throw punches.”
Warren wants Saturday’s bout between Adams and Salazar to lead to a change of attitude and encourage a situation when women’s boxing is treated “as you treat men’s boxing.”
“We’ve gone to three and I hope they’ll follow suit,” continued Warren. “Why shouldn’t they do it?
“We’ll lobby them to change the duration of the rounds because with women’s boxing, you want to treat it as you treat men’s boxing. Nicola’s been a big advocate of that.
“Had the fight (against Carcamo last month) had an extra minute, Nicola would have had a stoppage. That fight would have been finished much earlier in my opinion. That’s good for her. Why would she want to limit herself when she’s got much more in the tank?”
Adams, who won Olympic gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 games, has set herself a quick timeframe for becoming world champion and will attempt to take another step forward by beating Salazar on the undercard of Josh Warrington’s WBC international title fight against Spain’s Kiko Martinez at the First Direct Arena.
Warren confirmed Salazar as Adams’s opponent on Tuesday, lining up a youngster whose professional record shows five wins and one defeat. All of Salazar’s six fights have gone the distance.
“I’ve seen a couple of videos of her on Youtube,” said Adams. “I know she’s quite aggressive. She’ll be throwing punches and this is what I want. I want someone who’s going to put up a challenge, not hold on for dear life, trying to survive.”
Adams will spend the months ahead working her way up to 10-round bouts, in time to challenge for a major belt at the end of the year. Warren said her most likely target was WBO flyweight champion Monserrat Alarcon, another Mexican boxer.
Adams claimed she “probably could” be ready to take on a world title fight immediately but said: “It might be a touch risky. I want to make sure that when I step up to world level it’s convincing. You’ll know that Nicola Adams is our new world champion and there are no doubts or ifs or buts.
“In the gym, I’m already sparring eight rounds but I know I’ve got to slow down and take my time. It’s one of those things – you always want to run before you can walk and I’ve always been one of those people. I think by the end of the year I’ll be ready.
“I want to fight them all. If you’ve got a title, you’ve got a target on your head basically. If you’ve got a title I want it. It’s as simple as that.”