Anthony Joshua Staying Amateur: Rightly So

By: Jack Bowers

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Super-heavyweight Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua has decided to resist the temptation of a big money professional contract and will remain an amateur.

The Londoner has chosen not to follow in the footsteps of other British boxers such as Lennox Lewis, Audley Harrison and Amir Khan, who all turned professional immediately after Olympic success. The 22-year-old has vowed to stay an amateur, and wants to become world amateur champion and then defend his Olympic title in 2016 before turning pro.

It’s a decision that shows tremendous maturity. Despite a number of promoters trying to outbid each other for his signature, Joshua has decided to look at the long view of his career. The Finchley ABC boxer is as clever outside the ring as he is inside it and he knows that, in terms of heavyweight boxing, he is just a baby.

Yes his overall dream is to become world heavy weight champion but he knows he has plenty of time to fulfil that ambition and that carrying on as an amateur will be the best for his development. While many fight fans would love to see him turn pro its worth mentioning that when Joshua’s Olympic final opponent, Roberto Cammarelle, won gold at Beijing four years ago, the Londoner had not set foot in a boxing ring.

In fact the Joshua’s Olympic gold medal match was just his 43rd fight. While some of his rivals are well into treble figures. His talent is clear for everybody to see but, so is his inexperience. In amateur boxing he can afford to make mistakes whilst developing, but in pro boxing, he can’t.

Besides, what would be in the pro scene for him at this moment in time anyway? David Price seems to be the British hope for the time being and it would be a while before Joshua got his big chance. Surely he would improve more as a boxer fighting skilled amateurs than he would fighting journey men and ‘has been’ pro’s.

I like Anthony Joshua, he comes across as a grounded young man and is clearly a huge talent to the sport. He said that money and fame does not influence him and I certainly hope he sticks to his word and is not distracted by a six figure cheque.

Within the next two years he can compete, as an amateur, in the world championships and the commonwealth games, and it makes a lot of sense for him to compete in them. Then who knows, he will still only be 24 and would then be able to decide more clearly whether he wants another Olympic gold or a pro contract.

Whenever he decides to turn pro, there will be big money for him; I just hope he makes the right decision for his career and not for his bank account.

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