Boxing: Mitchell bids farewell to Olympic ambitions
Thursday 01 May 2003
The West Ham featherweight Kevin Mitchell has unexpectedly announced his decision to turn professional with the promoter Frank Warren.
Mitchell, 18, was arguably the best young fighter at this year's English Amateur Boxing Association Championships and was tipped for honours at the 2004 Athens Olympics. But he has revealed that he will not be pursuing his dream of emulating his idol Oscar de la Hoya and winning Olympic gold.
Mitchell will make his professional debut at York Hall later this month, instead of joining the England squad for a training camp in Dublin in preparation for July's World Championships in Thailand.
Warren has spoken boldly about Mitchell's credentials but has never seen him fight. Both Mitchell's amateur coach, Mickey May, and his professional trainer, Tony Sims, are against the move.
"He is not a strong 18, he is still only a kid and he needs more time with the amateurs," insisted Sims, who has been asked to train Mitchell but has refused. "Kevin never had to turn pro. There was a deal on the table that guaranteed him money for staying amateur and getting the experience and hopefully the medals before turning professional."
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