Amateur boxing legend Kenny Egan has encouraged young Irish fighters to remain in the vested game for “as long as possible.”
The 2008 Olympic silver medalist believes that the judging controversies at the recent Rio Games has the potential to turn young amateurs towards the pros. It is Egan’s worry that this could lead to boxers turning professional before they are ready and lead to negative consequences.
Speaking this afternoon on RTÉ Sunday Sport, Egan mused how “young lads looking at these Games, and have dreams of becoming Olympians, it probably makes them second guess and go, ‘I’d rather go pro.’”
While he acknowledges the attraction of the paid side of the game, the Dublin fighter urged caution, and noted how “anybody can go professional and that’s the problem. There are a lot of journey men out there getting used left, right, and centre, thrown into the ring for six or eight rounds, getting their pay day. There’s journeymen out there making a wage because they are in the ring so much, but it’s not healthy.”
“If I was to give any advice to young lads coming up, it would be to stay in the amateur game for as long as possible because the pro sport is not a game, it’s a business.”
Following the Games in Brazil, Mick Conlan, Paddy Barnes, and Katie Taylor all turned professional, but Egan argued that these are exceptional and experienced boxers and shouldn’t be seen as a precedent for all amateurs to go pro.
He described how “they [Conlan, Barnes, Taylor] have fantastic experience in the ring, they know what they are doing when they get into the boxing ring as a pro. Whereas young pros, who are turning pro at 17, 18, 19, thinking they are going to make it, they haven’t learned their trade.”
“It’s a scary place to be.”
Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey look ahead to 2017 in episode 1 of The Irish Boxing Show