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Friday 22 August 2014

Boxing: Nevin turns back on pro game after joining British Lionhearts

Gerard Hughes

Published 07/11/2012 | 05:00

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IRELAND'S Olympic silver medallist John Joe Nevin appears to have turned his back on professional boxing after signing up for the upcoming World Series of Boxing (WSB) season.

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Nevin and European champion Joe Ward -- ranked in the top 10 in the world -- were named on the new British Lionhearts team at yesterday's WSB launch in London.

Nevin, a silver medal winner at the 2012 Olympics, looked set to end his amateur days last month when he announced he was joining Amir Khan's professional stable.

However, it is understood that the Mullingar boxer did not sign a contract with Khan.

This frees him up to participate in the amateur-sanctioned event -- and ultimately box for Ireland at the 2016 Olympics.

The highly-regarded Ward (19) was poised to sign for Milan in the WSB two years ago but was turned down because he was a year shy of the minimum age.

"I'm looking forward to the extra rounds as there are five rounds in the World Series. I can't wait to get started," Ward said. "I think I will be making my debut against Italy in Wales this month. I was disappointed that I couldn't box in the World Series two years ago, but I'm ready to go now."

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The Lionhearts will open their campaign away to the USA Knockouts next week -- and will come up against Ireland's 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Michael Conlan and Sean Turner.

The WSB, overseen by the International Boxing Association (AIBA), allows amateur boxers to fight under professional rules but retain their Olympic eligibility. WSB boxers are paid salaries and bonus payments for wins.

Reacting to the Nevin news, Khan expressed disappointment that Mullingar man has decided to remain amateur, but says he respects his decision.

Britain's 2004 Olympic silver medallist issued a statement saying he wished the Irish bantamweight well with the Lionhearts. "It's disappointing John Joe will be staying amateur as I firmly believe that he has the potential to make big waves in the professional scene.

"Nevertheless, I respect his decision to represent the British Lionhearts in the World Series of Boxing and do not rule out the possibility of working with him in the future," Khan stated.

Irish Independent

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