NICOLA ADAMS believes working alongside some of the world’s best will stand her in good stead when she makes her professional debut in Manchester on Saturday.
The 34-year-old has been training in the same San Francisco gym as the likes of pound-for-pound star Andre Ward and Amir Khan ahead of her clash with Argentina’s Virginia Carcamo.
New trainer Virgil Hunter steered Ward from Olympic gold in 2004 to the top of the professional ranks and Adams believes he is capable of doing the same for her.
Adams said: “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. 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’ return on the undercard of Terry Flanagan’s WBO lightweight title defence against Petr Petrov will mark her first bout in Britain since she claimed her first Olympic gold in 2012. She makes her debut in a very different climate to the pre-2012 days when women’s professional boxing was virtually unheard of but for a few sporadic trailblazers like the so-called ‘Fleetwood Assassin’, Jane Couch.
Fellow Olympic champions Claressa Shields and Katie Taylor have already turned professional to great acclaim and now Adams’ promoter Frank Warren is keen to fast-track his new star to the top.
Warren, who admitted he was not a fan of women’s boxing until Adams changed his mind, said: “Nicola lights up a room – she’s bubbly and she has an infectious smile and most importantly she can fight. She’s won everything as an amateur and she’s one of the most recognisable boxers in the country.”