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Olympic star Nicola joins Warren to chase her world title dream

By Declan Warrington

Two-time Olympic champion Nicola Adams has signed a long-term promotional deal to turn professional with Frank Warren.

The flyweight, 34, will make her professional debut on April 8 at the Manchester Arena, and is also scheduled for a 'homecoming' fight at Leeds' First Direct Arena on May 13.

Her opponents are yet to be announced, but each fight is to be shown on BT Sport and BoxNation, and her recruitment represents Warren's promised big signing to launch his new platform on BT Sport.

The development also comes despite Warren, 64, previously criticising women's boxing, and it ends Adams' hopes of pursuing a third Olympic gold medal at Tokyo 2020.

Decorated Irish amateur Katie Taylor last year made her professional debut with Warren's rivals Matchroom, and Adams said: "I want to take women's boxing to the next level, become a world champion and do great things.

"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."

Warren, who sat alongside Adams as the announcement was made at the BT Tower in central London, said: "I've not been the greatest advocate of women's boxing, but my head's been turned.

"She's a double gold medallist and changed my mind and how I thought about women's boxing.

"Get (her first two fights) out of the way and we'll be in a position in a year to win a world title.

"I've had to eat humble pie, and thought 'Are you a dinosaur?' 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 on BT?

"She could probably win a world title now, but it's about learning her trade."

It was announced earlier yesterday that she had left GB Boxing's world-class performance programme with immediate effect.

Warren also announced other fights. Also on April 8 Terry Flanagan will make the latest defence of his WBO lightweight title against Russia's Petr Petrov, while Liam Williams fights Liam Smith at light-middleweight.

The promoter also hopes to soon confirm Hughie Fury, Tyson's cousin, will fight WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker.

Belfast Telegraph

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