Boxing: Nevin insists World Series deal with Paris team will boost Olympic hopes
IRISH champion John Joe Nevin has signed with Paris United in the ground-breaking World Series of Boxing (WSB), which gloves off across three continents next month.
The 21-year-old bantamweight signed a three-year deal with the Paris franchise yesterday. He will team up with his new colleagues on November 1.
Paris, which meet Milano Thunder in their first match in mid-November, will also face Istanbulls and Moscow's Kremlin Bears, home and away over 12 matches in the European group.
Four teams from the Americas -- Ken Egan has signed for Miami -- and four from Asia will battle it out in corresponding groups. The three group winners and best runners-up will qualify for the play-offs. The play-off winners will meet in the finals in Macau in March.
The top-ranked boxers in the WSB Team Championships will qualify for the WSB Individual Championships, which will act as a qualifier for the Olympics.
WSB boxers will not wear protective head-gear and will be on a salary. It is understood that they will be paid a minimum of $30,000 (€21,000) for the season.
"The Individual WSB is a great incentive as it offers an extra opportunity to qualify for the London Olympics, which is a major goal of mine," said Nevin, who boxes out of the Cavan BC.
Nevin's first fight for Paris United could see him trade leather with Vincenzo Picardi, whom he beat 11-3 when Ireland thrashed Italy in Dublin this year.
"I've had a look at my opponents and I'm ranked higher than them, so I believe I can do well," he said.
"All the people that didn't want me to do this were an extra motivation for me to do it. I believe that the WSB offers me a fantastic chance to improve."
Egan is due to travel to the US as soon as he receives visa clearance. His opening fight will be against either first-choice LA light-heavyweight Lamar Fenner, or reserve Joshua Ndere of Kenya.
Ndere was beaten by Belfast's Tommy McCarthy -- who Egan beat in the last two Irish senior finals -- at the Commonwealth Games.
Egan and Nevin will defend their Irish titles in February.