Inside Lines: No dosh for big Josh as Olympians sign pro deals
Sunday 04 November 2012
Several of Britain's record-breaking Olympic boxing squad will be signing professional contracts this week – although they will still be eligible to compete in the next Games.
They will be part of a UK team, the British Lionhearts, who will punch for pay in the World Series of Boxing, a revolutionary global tournament established by Aiba, the sport's governing body. They will fight, without headguards and vests, over six rounds against other international teams under a 10 point pro-style scoring system.
The GB team will be announced at a London launch on Tuesday but I understand it will not include super-heavyweight gold medallist Anthony Joshua, bantamweight champion Luke Campbell or middleweight bronze winner Anthony Ogogo, who are currently considering offers from professional promoters.
However, welterweight silver-medallist Fred Evans and fellow Welsh Olympian Andrew Selby, the European flyweight champion, are among others in the 2012 squad who have committed themselves to a tournament designed to offer an alternative to officially turning pro for the world's best young amateurs.
There has been a bitter debate within amateur boxing as to whether GB should enter a franchise for an event which has six-figure prize money for the final stages but Derek Mapp, chairman of the British Amateur Boxing Association, said last night: "We recognise its potential to deliver alternative career options for young boxers and are now in a good position to give it a go."
The first match will be against Italy at Celtic Manor, Newport, on 23 November. How ironic, though, that Aiba have hired a pro, the former world champion Barry McGuigan, to host Tuesday's WSB launch yet GB coach Robert McCracken continues to be banned from the corner because of his association with professional boxing. This smacks of hypocrisy by a governing body embracing so many facets of the pro game in an attempt to keep their best boxers "amateur" – surely now a complete misnomer. It's time the sport's new paymasters removed the word from their title.
Coming out fighting
Olympic Gold medallist Nicola Adams's inclusion in The IoS Pink List coincides with the timely lifting of a three-month ban on the US Amateur Boxing Association imposed by Aiba after they initially refused to remove former president Hal Adonis from their board.
He had alleged that "half the girls [in the US team] have been molested, half are gay", which Aiba declared "outrageous".
Removing the ban means that the US can now enter the WSB tournament – though as yet women are not included. Gay sporting icons seem to be in vogue in 2012 – but the Aussie swimmer Ian Thorpe insists he is not among them. Launching his biography last week, Thorpe said he is tired of tired of the gay innuendo and declared: "The rumours are simply not true. I think it's because I don't fit into the typical stereotype of an Australian athlete. I'm a nerd who happened to be good at sport."
Now Coe can lord it
Seb Coe, who as you would expect has been first to the tape with a post-Olympics biography – a plethora of others, among them those by Jessica Ennis and Bradley Wiggins, are in hot pursuit – will be formally elected chairman of the British Olympic Association on Wednesday.
The role is unpaid, not that this should concern his lordship, who has just sold his management consulting firm, The Complete Leisure Group, to Chime Communications in a deal worth £12 million. As BOA boss he he will lead an overhaul of the structure of the organisation, with the likely return of Sir Clive Woodward, axed by chief executive Andy Hunt last month, to a part-time role as chef de mission for the next Winter and Summer Olympics.
Should Coe seek a replacement for the outgoing communications director, Darryl Seibel, who is returning to the US, need he look any further than his right-hand lady at Locog, the formidable Jackie Brock-Doyle, the 2012 communications chief who was recently named PR Professional of the Year?
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