Nicola Adams: 'I tried too hard for the knockout against Virginia Carcamo'

Gareth A Davies
The Telegraph
Nicola Adams won her first professional bout - Getty Images Europe
Nicola Adams won her first professional bout - Getty Images Europe

Nicola Adams notched up victory on her professional debut with a four-round points decision against raw Argentine brawler Virginia Carcamo with eight minutes of boxing whizzing by as the double Olympic champion admitted on Sunday that she had "tried too hard" for the knockout on Saturday night in Manchester, only too aware that building a fanbase for women's boxing will take time.

In contrast to the stentorian support and cacophony of noise which greeted her Olympic and Commonwealth gold medals in London and Glasgow in 2012 and 2014, there was just a smattering of applause for the 34-year-old in her first bow the professional ranks. But Adams shrugged off the lukewarm response, in keeping with her 'smiling assassin' ring sobriquet.

Adams is back in action quickly, fighting in her home city of Leeds in five weeks for the first time in 21 years, when she began as an amateur aged 13 in a smoky working men's club.

For four years between the ages of 13 and 17 it had been a case of “sparring with lads” in the gym, and keeping her dreams alive. She couldn’t find an opponent with either the will, or the skill, to stand with her. Indeed, it was only in 2009 that Lottery Funding was established for women's boxing.

Promoter Frank Warren has booked May 13 at the First Direct Arena, with an opponent yet to be announced. Adams said: "I remember my last fight in Leeds - I was 13 years old and I was excited. I got into the ring doing the Ali Shuffle and I was trying to emulate Prince Naseem with the switch-hitting and everything."

"It was in an old working men's club against a girl called Claire Newton. This will be the first time I'm going back since then, so it will be a real homecoming for me."

Adams added: "I just need to learn to settle down a bit more - I really wanted the stoppage so I was going for it, but Virgil Hunter (her American trainer) said they will come when I start to get more experience. But I learnt a lot. Now I know what it's like to box without a headguard and in the third and fourth rounds you saw the ring-rust come off a bit more."

Warren added: "We'll get to Leeds and continue to build up the rounds and see where we go. The atmosphere is going to be unbelievable there and I'm sure this young lady is going to win a world title soon." Adams intends to box for a world title at flyweight "within a year", but will not be long in the professional ranks.

"I'll probably do max about four years," explained Adams, who won every amateur title available to her - world, European, Commonwealth and Olympic before turning to the paid arm of the sport.

"I don't want to go on too long," she said. "I want to retire at the top having achieved everything. I don't want to be one of the boxers that keeps on going and keeps on going and then loses and loses and loses. I want to retain my legacy."

<span>Nicola Adams</span> <span>Credit: Getty Images </span>
Nicola Adams Credit: Getty Images

In the main event at the Manchester Arena, Terry Flanagan successfully defended his WBO lightweight title for the fifth time with a physically draining 12 round points win over Russia's Petr Petrov. But Flanagan, eager for a major unification fight or one of the sport's biggest names, feels under-appreciated, as an undefeated world champion with a career record of 33 victories.

Warren drew on the parallel of Joe Calzaghe, the former two weight world champion, who retired undefeated on 46 fights. "It took Joe eight years to become 'an overnight sensation', and I think it is similar with Terry."

Flanagan, who admitted that Calzaghe is a hero he has modelled himself on, is now hunting a unification bout against WBA champion Jorge Linares, or the very serious challenge against pound for pound star Vasyl Lomachenko. The 29-year-old Ukrainian former amateur star has been in talks with promoter Bob Arum about stepping up in weight, and defended his WBO super-featherweight title with ease over Jason Sosa in Maryland hours after Flanagan's latest triumph.

Flanagan said: "I'm confident of beating anyone in this division. Obviously Lomachenko would be coming up in weight but if anybody out there is going to beat him, it's me. Styles make fights, and I have the style to beat him."

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