Respected broadcaster Bunce backs Anthony Ogogo’s pro decision

TOP boxing pundit Steve Bunce has backed Anthony Ogogo’s decision to move into the paid-for ranks.

The 24-year-old signed with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy promotions last week, having deliberated over whether to remain as an amateur with Team GB.

The Lowestoft middleweight sealed his place at last summer’s Olympics, eventually winning a bronze medal, as a result of his silver at the 2012 European Championships.

However, that represented Ogogo’s last chance to qualify for London 2012 – the Triple A ABC boxer having been sidelined for six months, following a serious shoulder injury and subsequent surgery.

Such rigours would have been the downfall of lesser fighters and Bunce believes it would have been tough to go through another four years to try and reach the Rio Games in 2016.

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“Anthony would have had to go to two world championships, two European championships and a Commonwealth Games and the brutal fact is he would have to get a medal to qualify, which is quite tough,” said Bunce, a boxing journalist for the last 28 years

“There is a lot of bold talk from our Olympians with regards to the Olympics but it is difficult to get there.

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“It is far easier being a female boxer, not because they are inferior, but because there are fewer out there.

“Anthony won three times at the Olympic Games and, had that been in the women’s competition, that would have been enough for a gold medal. It is harder for men as there is more competition and far more tournaments.”

Ogogo is set to make his pro debut in the coming months – most likely in the US – and Bunce believes he should be making strides towards title shots within a dozen or so bouts.

“I would like to see him fight eight to 10 times in his first year,” said Bunce.

“I would like to think he would be at British title level by his 11th or 12th.

“If I was him, I would be asking about a potential fight with Chris Eubank Jr even if it was one or two years down the line to capture the public’s imagination.

“There are some great fights down the line if you do some crystal ball-gazing, fights that need to be staged.

“You have got the likes of Billy-Jo Saunders, Degale, George Groves, Matthew Macklin and Darren Barker. We have got to see names against names.”

The middleweight scene came to light domestically in the mid-nineties with the likes of Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn and Michael Watson as well as Ireland’s Steve Collins capturing the British public’s attention.

Bunce believes the new crop of boxers can be just as exciting.

“Absolutely. We’re not far away,” he said.

“But when (Chris) Eubank and (Nigel) Benn fought there was one TV channel, whereas right now in Britain, in the last two months, there have been major fights on no fewer than five TV channels.

“Every boxer is comfortable with his own deal and no one wants to surrender what they have. When that happens, we can have what we had before.”

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