Nicola Adams cannot stop smiling as she prepares to take on Alexandra Vlaik of Hungary on the Gennady Golovkin undercard in Las Vegas on Saturday
Professional boxing is not a business that encourages much levity, but Nicola Adams is so unrelentingly content and smilingly happy that it is tempting to wonder if she realises what she has got herself into.
Adams, the double Olympic gold medallist, makes her Las Vegas debut on Saturday night on the undercard of Gennady Golovkin’s showdown with Saul Álvarez, and she is taking the assignment seriously.
Yet in the lead-up to only her third paid fight at 33 – at super-fly against the seasoned 17-fight Hungarian Alexandra Vlajk – she talks with relish of knocking her opponent out, of putting on a show and giving the fans what they have paid to watch, excitement.
As we chat in the MGM Grand, a short ride from the venue on Saturday night, the T-Mobile Arena, she remains endearingly overjoyed about her circumstances. “Wow,” she says as she looks at the serried ranks of fight writers, and the big screens at either end of the large hall. But she is very much still inside the hermetically sealed bubble. She has not even been outside the hotel since arriving midweek.
Hers will be a four-rounder, way down the bill, but that is of little concern to Adams. She admits she has not watched film of her opponent and the first time she will set eyes on her will be at the weigh-in on Friday. But her only concern was getting on the bill in the fight capital of the world.
“Frank [Warren, her promoter, whose BoxNation will show the whole programme] said there was the opportunity to box on the undercard of Canelo-GGG and I was like, ‘Hell yeah! Definitely.’”
She speaks in many exclamation marks, excited by every new opportunity. So far as a pro, she has looked relaxed in two straightforward wins, the last one a stoppage. “It would be really special to headline in Vegas one day. Just to be on the undercard of this fight, the best fight of the year as far as I’m concerned, two of the biggest fighters coming together and it’s all on the line: I can’t even put into words just how happy I am.”
So, will she be able to quell her ecstatic mien for a while on Saturday night and find her inner fighting beast? She has no doubts.
“I’ve got it in me. I have to bring it out of me now. In the pro game it is about entertaining the crowd. The crowd loves the knockouts so I would love to be able to give them that. In the ring, it’s game face, pretty much as soon as I get in the ring. The bell goes and that’s it, I just want to win. You have to go for the finish. That’s something I am going to have to do.
“I have been boxing for so long now. All the way through the amateurs you get to know what you are capable of, what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are, and I feel a lot more rounded fighter now. Especially going through two Olympic cycles, I know what it is like to be at the top, stay at the top and having the pressure of being No1 and everybody coming after you.
“Learning the pro style and technique is taking quite a long time to really get into the groove and master everything. But I’d like to say I’m not too far from a world title shot. Maybe some time next year. I’d like to box a couple more times this year.”Read more at theguardian.com