Irish amateur boxing could soon be reeling from a devastating one two with the potential loss of two of it’s brightest talents to the professional game.
Michael Conlon and John Joe Nevin may well leave the amateur ranks for lives as professional boxers in New York in a move which will seriously hamper Ireland’s medal hopes in Rio 2016.
Bronze medal winner in London, flyweight Conlan has said if the right offer comes along after the World Championships, which takes place in Kazakhstan next month, he will move to New York and turn professional. Conlan also said that Mullingar native John Joe Nevin, who won silver in London, would also be open to the move. Nevin recently won the European gold this year at bantamweight in Minsk.
“If I won gold at the worlds more than likely I’d be gone because the right offer would be there. There would no point in waiting around because other offers in a year would fade.” said Conlon
Of Ireland’s 29 Olympic medals our boxers have contributed 16, that includes 2 golds, 5 silvers and 9 bronze. Conlan who was only 20 when he took bronze in London would have been one of the favourites to take gold in Rio in the flyweight division. Nevin will be 27 by the time Rio comes around and with a wealth of experience behind him in his prime would have been a strong medal contender.
Boxing has been a real bright spot for the Irish Olympic Council in recent years with the investment in training camps reaping rich rewards, the loss of these two talents would be a severe blow for the country.