Adams nears history, but faces long road for glory

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Nicola Adams is just three minutes from British boxing history and a long, long way from adding to her swollen trophy cabinet.

Adams fights for the second time as a professional on Saturday night in her hometown of Leeds — against Mexican Maryan Salazar — and she will become the first British female professional to compete in a fight over the three-minute round duration.

It was only in January of this year three-minute rounds were introduced for all women fighting at international events in the amateur game — whilst Adams’ partner, Marlen Esparza, fought three-minute rounds last week in America during a professional fight.

Also on Saturday night — and taking place in what seems at times like a parallel boxing world — two Mexican women will defend world titles that Adams has her eyes on.

Nicola Adams is another Olympic boxing star to have turned professional. Mark Robinson/Getty Images

The raw statistics from the two fights in Mexico make grisly reading for anybody that thinks Adams, with her two Olympic gold medals and full set of triumphs in every available tournament, will easily win a professional world title.

In Cancun, Zulina Munoz will make the 11th defence of her WBC super-flyweight title in the main event. Munoz has completed the full ten round distance on 20 occasions, has been the world champion since 2012 and she is five years younger than Adams.

Munoz has lost just once in 51 fights and that was a decade ago when she travelled to Germany for a world title fight and dropped a points decision.

There are other world champions at Munoz’s weight but she is the number one super-flyweight in the world; Adams and Munoz will probably be separated by less than a pound on Saturday night.

In Zapopan, Jessica Chavez defends her WBC flyweight title and she is likely to weigh a couple of pounds less than Adams. Chavez turned professional when she was just 17 in 2006, she is now 28, has fought a total of 35 fights and has been the full ten round distance 19 times. She has been winning and narrowly losing world titles for over six years.

“It was never easy winning the amateur titles,” said Adams. “I lost some, won some and it is not going to be easy to win a world title now. I know what it takes and I have what it takes.”

There are a couple of European alternatives for Adams to consider, fights she could have in the build-up to potential showdowns with the Mexican women.

There is a woman called Susi Kentikian, an Armenian based in Germany and she holds the the Global Boxing Union and IBF flyweight titles.

There is also the ‘Golden Baby’, a blonde Austrian called Eva Voraberger and she has the super-flyweight IBO, GBU and IBF versions. Both are young veterans of the full championship distance of ten rounds.

The good news is that there are dozens of women with world title experience at the two weights Adams is currently linked with and they would all be perfect for fights later this year.

Adams needs a test and she wants the challenge. The move to three-minute rounds will help her get ready for the championship distance; a simple six rounder would be just two minutes less than a traditional female title fight of ten rounds of two minutes each round.

In Leeds, Adams is fighting over four rounds again, which is sensible because of the introduction of three minute rounds — but she will still need to get some ten rounders in at some point.

The world champions in front of Adams are operating at present in a distant galaxy and the Lioness, as she is known, is looking at them with a hungry stare.

There is far more to Adams than a perpetual smile and that determined side, a bit of nastiness will emerge when the fights inevitably get harder.

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