Prospect of winning Olympic gold at Rio 2016 stopped me turning professional reveals Nevin

Monday, 21 January 2013
By Tom Degun

JohnJoeNevinJanuary 21 - Irish boxing star John Joe Nevin has revealed he turned down the chance to turn professional because the prospect of winning a gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games was too big a lure for him.

The 23-year-old from County Westmeath won a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games as he lost to Britain's Luke Campbell in the bantamweight final 14-11 in one of the fights of the Games after he had beaten reigning world champion Lázaro Álvarez of Cuba in his semi-final.

Following the Olympics, Nevin appeared on the verge of signing a professional contract with Super Fight Promotions, the company run by former light welterweight world champion and Athens 2004 Olympic silver medallist Amir Khan.

But Nevin pulled out of the deal and instead signed with the UK-based World Series of Boxing (WSB) franchise the British Lionhearts.

The WSB is owned by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) and is the only boxing competition in the world that allows fighters to compete professionally and retain their Olympic eligibility.

"I suppose the reason I didn't sign a professional contract is because still I want to get an Olympic gold medal," Nevin told insidethegames.

"Four years isn't really that much time to wait and I want to give it one more shot to get that gold in Rio.

"A lot of people were giving me different advice about what to do but it really was my own decision.

"Straight after I stepped out of the ring at the Olympics with that silver medal, I wanted to turn professional straight away.

"But once I sat down and started thinking about it I realised how much I wanted to go after that Olympic gold medal.

"I know Luke hasn't signed anything yet and I would love him to stay on to Rio too.

"It would be nice to have another crack at him.

"We've boxed three times now and we've both beaten each other.

"As far as I'm concerned, there would be nothing better to meet him at Rio 2016 in another Olympic final.

"That would be great."

JohnJoeNevin v Luke CampbellJohn Joe Nevin (right) won silver at London 2012 after he was narrowly defeated by Luke Campbell (left) in the Olympic bantamweight final at ExCeL

Nevin, who also has two World Championship bronze medals in his collection, continued that he feels more boxers will start turning to the traditional professional ranks in the future due to AIBA's plan to professionalise the sport at Olympic level.

At the end of this year, the WSB will be joined by AIBA Pro Boxing (APB), which will see boxers again fight professionally but retain their Olympic eligibility.

The APB will offer 56 quota places for the Rio 2016 Olympics, with the WSB to offer a further 10 slots for the Games in Brazil, and Nevin feels this could change the landscape of boxing.

"We have the WSB and the APB coming along too and a lot of professional boxing promoters won't like that," he said.

"But t gives the chance for good boxers to stay on after the Olympics and that is great.

"If enough good boxers commit to it, it could really alter boxing so that all of the world's best fighters compete at the Olympics every four years.

"That would be a great thing for the sport."

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