by Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
PROMOTER Frank Maloney has urged Anthony Joshua to turn professional – but warned him it will take years to get to the top.
Joshua claims he will stay amateur to gain experience after the 22-year-old Londoner won Team GB’s last Olympic gold medal in the super-heavyweight final last Sunday.
Joshua, who edged Italian Roberto Cammarelle on a desperately close points decision, will still get offers to swap his amateur vest and headguard for the professional ranks.
And Maloney is one of the promoters declaring his interest to work with the 6ft 6in Olympic hero.
Maloney signed Lennox Lewis after he won super-heavyweight gold at the 1988 Olympics while representing Canada.
London-born Lewis went on to become undisputed world heavyweight champion.
The British promoter is now trying to take Liverpool’s 2008 Olympic bronze medallist David Price on the same journey as he took Lewis.
Price, 29, defends his British heavyweight title against 2000 Olympic super-heavyweight gold medallist Audley Harrison on October 13.
And Maloney has warned Joshua that Harrison is a good example of how a gold medal does not always guarantee success in the pro ranks.
But Maloney reckons Joshua’s best option is to turn professional now.
He said: “There was only one Team GB fighter that I would be interested in signing and that’s Anthony Joshua.
“There were a couple of others from a foreign country, too. There’s a great difference between amateur boxing and professional boxing and that was proved by the last crop of Olympians four years ago. You have to dismantle what you have got and completely rebuild it.
“It’s a long-term job with Anthony Joshua and there can be no rushing him. He’s young, so he could wait. Lennox Lewis didn’t turn professional with me until he was 24.
“My advice to him would be to look at all his options.”
The International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) Professional Boxing (APB) programme has been signing up Olympians to keep them amateur – but Maloney thinks the lure of professional boxing will still tempt most.
“They can’t pay them what they can earn as professionals,” he said.