Out to change the face of women’s boxing

Stuart Plant

Nicola Adams makes her debut against Argentine, Noemi Carcamo, on Saturday evening at the Manchester Arena. Despite being 34, Adams is the prime candidate to take women’s boxing to the next level it deserves. Her debut will be third on the under card of Terry Flanagans WBO World Lightweight title defence to Petr Petrov.

Having won Gold in London 2012 Adams went on to get another in Rio last year. With her hugely successful Olympic career panning out well, she was tempted to stick around to make it a hat-trick of Gold medals.

Knighted with an OBE in 2017’s New Years Honours, Adams could have stuck around in the amateurs in order to seal an impressive piece of history in reaching that hat-trick of Golds. However, the lure of the professional set-up proved too much for the Leeds lady.

Image Source: Twitter
Image Source: Twitter

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A Change Of Heart

Three years after stating, “I don’t like women’s boxing. Never have, and never will.” British promoter, Frank Warren, has changed his mind. He signed up Adams as his first female boxer to BoxNation earlier in 2017. Talk about humble pie.

Warren unveiled Adams in conjunction with the new broadcast partnership between BoxNation and BT Sport. This means you can watch Adams on the under card on either platform. Further to her debut fight, they’ve already booked the double Gold medallist in for a homecoming fight in Leeds on May 13th at the First Direct Arena with her opponent TBA.

The Cali Lifestyle

There is still a split between the professional men and women in the sport, but the number of high profile amateurs turning pro will only serve to close that gap. Adams’ trainer going into her first fight? None other than Virgil Hunter. Amir Khan touched on training alongside her in California:

 “I think she will become Britain’s first ever professional world champion. The way she has been looking in the gym, you can’t put that past her.”

Adams also touched on working with Hunter, saying:

 “Training with Virgil Hunter has been amazing. He’s taught me some great new things for my professional debut.”

Considering some of the names that Hunter trains, most notably Andre Ward, it is great to see Adams getting that level of exposure in the US.

A lot has been made of the other high-profile women’s boxing in the UK. Matchroom Boxing’s, Katie Taylor, most obviously. The Irish Olympian won Gold in London 2012 and has enjoyed a lot of exposure already on Sky Sports. Currently 4-0 with two of her wins coming by way of TKO. Taylor is equally as likely to bridge the gender divide in the sport. However, Adams’ popularity in England due to her Olympic endeavours, is likely to bring in more fans just to see her.

Something that many have touched on with Adams about to make her step into the limelight is the hope that she will retain her own style. Although unjust, many feel that Taylor over pushes her style in order to be more aggressive to ‘entertain’ the male boxing audience. She is naturally an aggressive fighter, but, it’s food for thought: will Adams fall victim to the same trap?

Opinions, Opinions, Opinions

Adams herself is keen to change the public perception of women’s boxing. She’s almost the perfect person to do so. As an OBE, double Gold winning, LGBT promoting boxer with a cracking personality she ticks almost every box needed to intrigue different audiences. Adams knows she has a chance to do so, and is dreaming big:

“I would love to change some people’s ­perspective of women’s boxing, and headline my own shows and have big fights in Las Vegas.” – Nicola Adams

The dream itself would be to have boxing level up with its fellow combat sports rival UFC. In which women headline shows regularly and are paid just as much as the men are. Something that American women’s boxer Heather Hardy has touched on recently when talking to the BBC:

“I’m sitting at press conferences next to males who are earning $100,000 where as I’m lucky to clear $10,000 for a championship fight,”

As the spearhead in a trio of her, Katie Taylor and Clarissa Shields, women’s boxing is in safe hands. Adams better get going though, as at 34, there isn’t much room for error if she wants to win a World title too!

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