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Frank Warren Raves About British Team, Anthony Joshua

By Frank Warren

Boxing has contributed heartily to Britain’s record medal haul at London 2012 and now its turn to take centre stage. From an initial squad of ten men and women, half have reached the medal stages. Congratulations to flyweight Nicola Adams on becoming the first ever Olympic Champion in women’s boxing, bantamweight Luke Campbell, welterweight Freddie Evans, middleweight Anthony Ogogo and super-heavyweight Anthony Joshua for making the podium.

Team GB’s tally of five medalists is matched only by the Ukraine, and surpassed only by Russia (six medals). Commiserations to team captain Tom Stalker who missed the cut (controversially and by just a solitary point) when he was nudged out by a Mongolian in Wednesday’s quarter final. I thought he’d won.

True, there have been one or two close decisions which have fallen favourably for home fighters but we’ve suffered frequently before on foreign climes so it’s our turn to capitalize. At last year’s world championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, Andrew Selby and Anthony Joshua both dropped decisions to Eastern Europeans by a single mark. Had those contests taken place elsewhere, maybe both would now be styling themselves as world champions.

In addition to the surfeit of medals, there have been several other positives. Britain has certainly shown the rest of the world how to put on a show. The ExCel Arena has been rammed to capacity for every session and the presentation has been slick and snappy. Booming entrance music to welcome all fighters, mixed with announcers skillfully revving the audience up to fever pitch, has resulted in a chaotic atmosphere. I’ve never been the strongest advocate of women boxing and I’m yet to promote a bout involving a female. However, it’s induction as a medal sport at London 2012 has certainly enriched the tournament.

The arena is never more alive than when feisty Irish lightweight Katie Taylor – a four time world champion and her nation’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony – is showcasing her considerable talent. Her quarter-final bang up with England’s Natasha Jonas was one of the week’s highlights, for action and atmosphere, male or female.

The raucous sea of green that has illuminated each of Taylor’s fights here suggests the Irish filly could be a huge draw on either side of the Irish Sea, were she to vault into the professional sphere.

It will now be interesting to see which of the home medalists intend to pursue their careers in the paid ranks. Those who do must embark with realistic expectations of what they can demand. The financial climate is no longer as buoyant as when former domestic Olympic stars Audley Harrison (Sydney 2000), Amir Khan (Athens 2004) and James DeGale (Beijing 2008) brokered their first deals.

Medals at the major international amateur meets would indicate that a young boxer has both talent and mental toughness. However, it certainly doesn’t guarantee success in the pro code.

The recent decision of AIBA, the amateur governing body, to revert back to contests lasting three-three minute rounds, as opposed to four rounds of two minutes, has forced boxers to fight rather than take flight. Nevertheless, the codes remain worlds apart. Professional prizefighting entails 12 round championship fights with significantly less padded gloves and no head guard. It is a brutal way to earn your corn.

People should be aware that no British Olympic gold medalist has ever upgraded to a professional world title. Conversely, none of the nation’s biggest stars of this millennium- Naseem Hamed, Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe-even competed at an Olympic Games. A successful conversion is possible rather than probable.

Of the current British crop, I think Ogogo and Joshua will be best tailored to make the transition. All elite amateurs have technical talent but Lowestoft’s Ogogo, who returned from major shoulder surgery last year to make the Games, has consistently demonstrated heart. And that’s something you can’t teach from a coaching manual.

The 6ft 6in, 18 stone Joshua particularly impresses me. He always comes to win and can seriously bang. When he inevitably joins the profession, I believe he has the potential to become world heavyweight champion quicker than anybody previously.

In stark contrast to British successes, things couldn’t be grimmer for Team USA. The Yanks may have won more Olympic boxing hardware than any other nation but it’s all past tense. All of their nine strong male squad were eliminated before the medal stages.

At the heavily boycotted 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, the US nabbed nine of the 12 golds on offer. They secured a further eight medals, including three golds, in Seoul four years later. However, at four summer Olympics this millennium, the Septics have secured just seven medals and only one gold; Andre Ward at light-heavy in 2004.

The amateur program that once brought through the likes of Evander Holyfield, Roy Jones Jnr, Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jnr has completely gone to pot and it makes me titter when others lecture that our young prospects need to go over there to develop.

Given the size of the nations, our coaches compare very favourably to theirs.

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'Ear 'ear, Katie Taylor's (Ireland - Bray) who’s Dad Peter is her trainer and cornerman v Natasha Jonas (GB - Liverpool) officially recorded highest sound/noise at any Olympic 2012 event at 113.7 decibels!

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Hot stuff!.....Amir Khan has been organising daily, take away, curries for all the support staff.

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Meanwhile at the Officials Olympics...Pool & darts competitions are being held by refs & judges as appeals re decisions has officials not leaving ExCel until 2-3am.

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Back to the future. AIBA have decided on no head guards for men boxers after these Olympics and are even thinking of getting rid of vests. Jnr & female boxers keep head guards & vests. They also agreed pro scoring 10 point must system after Olympics.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Uncle Rodge on 08-11-2012

[QUOTE=Medved;12418347]Warren is the british Bob Arum. Same scum criminal diffirent accent.[/QUOTE] Were you raped by an Englishman?

Comment by Medved on 08-11-2012

Warren is the british Bob Arum. Same scum criminal diffirent accent.

Comment by dreamkiller on 08-11-2012

Anyone who watched the Olympics knows that Joshua was soundly beaten by Cuba's Savon (Felix' nephew). It was totally a home-cooked decision and a byproduct of arm-wrangling by AIBA to ensure Joshua wins gold -- which he clearly does not…

Comment by Sparked_26 on 08-11-2012

Warren has too many boxers at the moment.

Comment by Michael Paine on 08-11-2012

[QUOTE=Cloud;12418174]Warren want's Joshua but I hope if he signs Anthony, he does more with him than DeGale.. Love reading all these people screaming bias.. It'd be different if it was their home country. Foreign cunts.[/QUOTE] Warren was doing a good…

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