OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Boxing: Reid knows gold would trigger stampede

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

ROBIN REID has put to one side the prospect of a money-spinning professional career until his Olympic success story is over.

The 21-year-old bookmakers' cashier was already the target of some managers in the paid ranks before the Games in Barcelona. Now assured of a bronze medal after three wins in the light-middleweight division, Reid will be interesting a lot more.

If he goes all the way by becoming Britain's first champion in the ring since middleweight Chris Finnegan in Mexico City in 1968, the race to secure his signature will become a stampede.

But Reid, who meets the Dutchman, Orhan Delibas, in tomorrow afternoon's semi-finals, said: 'I need to be 100 per cent focused on this tournament. I think I have a chance of the gold and nothing is going to interfere with that target.

'I have professional ambitions and people have made offers. But there will be plenty of time for that when I get home.'

Reid, who was born in Liverpool, lives in Runcorn and boxes for Warrington, is studying tapes of the man who bars his way to the final. He lost on points to Delibas in the Olympic qualifying tournament in Italy in March, but said: 'I had already made sure of a place by winning my first three fights and maybe the incentive wasn't as big as it should have been. He is a small, stocky fighter who is in and out all the time. We'll be working on the tactics needed to cope with him.'

If Reid prevails he may meet the Cuban world champion, Juan Lemus, to whom he lost on points in the 1990 World Cup in Bombay, in the final. Lemus meets Hungary's Gyorgy Mizsei in the other semi-final.

The Cubans are proving the lords of the ring in Barcelona with nine men through to the medal positions out of 12 but the US team were left contemplating just three survivors. 'We're hurting real bad,' the American coach, Joe Byrd, said. It was not very impressive for a nation that won nine golds in Los Angeles in 1984 and six medals in 1988.

The Cubans are on course for another golden haul. 'My personal prediction is seven or eight golds,' the triple heavyweight world champion, Felix Savon, an almost certain winner, said.