Sunday 19 November 2017

Nevin weighs up 'attractive' pro offers

John Joe Nevin
John Joe Nevin

Boxing Bernard O'Neill

Ireland's amateur ranks are taking a standing count ahead of next month's World Elite Championships with the news that world No 1 ranked bantamweight John Joe Nevin is on the verge of going professional.

The London 2012 silver medallist has declined to comment on speculation surrounding his future except to say that it was "likely" that he will turn pro.

Nevin (24) also declined to comment on who he will sign with. However, it is understood that Oscar de la Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank Promotions are tracking the current European Elite champion. Mike Tyson's new stable has also been mentioned.

Nevin is not in the training camp with Ireland, Australia, Poland and Scotland in Mayo. The Elite training camp began in Castlebar last Tuesday and will run until September 20.

Nevin, Jason Quigley, Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan, who claimed two gold and two silver medals at the European Elite Championships in Belarus this summer, were selected for the World tests in Almaty.

The rest of the squad for Kazakhstan will be confirmed after the Mayo training camp and head coach Billy Walsh said his focus was on helping to prepare Irish boxing for its biggest test since London 2012.

"John is not here in training camp in Mayo. The rest of the squad are preparing very hard for the World Championships and we're very pleased with where they are at at this point in their preparations," he said.

Brian McKeown, Nevin's coach at the Cavan BC, said that some attractive offers were being made for Nevin's signature.

"At the moment he is considering a number of very attractive offers," said McKeown, who described Nevin as a natural, the 'George Best' of boxing.

"He's giving these very serious consideration and I would expect that a decision will be made this weekend."

Nevin is ranked No 1 in the world by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) and would have been seeded No 1 in the bantamweight class for the World Elite Championships which begin on October 11. The Cavan BC orthodox looked set to sign with Amir Khan last year but pulled out of the deal and fought for the British Lionhearts in the World Series of Boxing, which is run by the AIBA.

He also looked poised to ink a deal with AIBA Pro Boxing, which would have allowed him to box professionally and retain his Olympic status.

If Nevin does switch codes he will leave behind one of the most impressive CV's in Irish amateur boxing as he is the only Irish male fighter to medal at all the majors – Olympics, World, European and EU Championships.

He is also the only Irish male boxer in the 102-year history of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association to win two World Elite Championships medals, both bronze. Katie Taylor has won four, all gold, at World Championships level.

Nevin turning pro does does not entirely rule out his chances of competing for Ireland at the 2016 Olympics, as some pro boxers can retain their Olympic status if they meet certain conditions.

For now, however, Irish sport appears to have lost a red-hot medal prospect for the 17th AIBA World Elite Championships.

Meanwhile, Kieran Molloy, Sean Conroy and Willie Donoghue will be looking to upgrade their bronze medals to at least silver in today's World Junior Championships semi-finals in Kiev.

Molloy meets Vladislav Tugui of Moldova and Conroy is in against Russia's Vitaliy Bakhmatov. Donoghue will go three rounds with Puerto Rico's Jonathan Lopez.

Irish Independent

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