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Gavin Backs Anthony Joshua To Defend His Olympic Gold

By Phil Barnett

Former world amateur champion Frankie Gavin has backed London 2012 gold medalist Anthony Joshua to make history by turning down lucrative offers to turn professional and instead retain his Olympic crown in 2016.

Joshua shot to fame earlier this month by winning gold at his home Games to join an elite group of fighters.

Speculation immediately started over whether Joshua, 22, would be tempted into switching to the professional game and cashing in on his amateur glory.

However, the Watford man has insisted he is young enough to remain a part of the Team GB set-up and has set his sights on winning gold again in Rio de Janeiro.

Gavin - who became Britain's only world amateur champion in 2007 before infamously failing to make weight ahead of the Beijing Olympics a year later - wants Joshua to add to his legacy by staying on for Brazil.

"He's only a baby," Gavin told Press Association Sport.

"Why doesn't he go to the next Olympics? He's going to earn a lot of money through sponsorship, TV deals and the BABA. He's proved himself now by winning a world silver medal and an Olympic gold, so he's on the best funding.

"From watching those Olympics, there's only the Cuban, Erislandy Savon (who can possibly threaten him). Roberto Cammarelle, who he beat in the final, will go professional now or retire and we don't know what Savon will do. Maybe he'll defect from Cuba and try to go professional.

"There's no-one else who is going to touch him so, for four years' time, it's worth a go. There's no-one in England coming up to take his spot."

Gavin admits Joshua's legacy is secure whatever happens - but hopes he enhances his accomplishments by becoming the first Briton to do it twice.

"He's a legend in his own right now for winning one, but winning two is really special," said the unbeaten Birmingham fighter (13-0, 10KOs).

"Just going to two Olympics is special, so winning two, or even getting medals at two, is great. So winning two golds has got to put you up there as a legend."

Gavin, meanwhile, has other things on his mind as he prepares for a probable British welterweight title challenge against Junior Witter.

The British Boxing Board of Control have installed him as their mandatory challenger and the 26-year-old hopes to fight the veteran in November after a warm-up bout in October.

"I wanted to be in this position 18 months ago," said Gavin, who endured personal problems outside the ring last year before settling down in his native Birmingham.

"Good things come to those who wait and I've had to wait. I haven't been beaten, I've got a good record and I'm really thriving at the moment. I want to beat Witter, defend the title three times so I can win the belt outright and then get the European title too."

Phil Barnett (@elnoiangles) covers boxing for Press Association Sport

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Drunk Punch on 08-22-2012

He should be fighting at 135 or 140, doesn't have enough pop at 147.

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