With the Olympics over, what will be Anthony Ogogo’s next step?
AS the dust settles on Anthony Ogogo’s memorable Olympic adventure, the inevitable question will be raised about the 23-year-old’s next step.
Ogogo entered the London Games with a relatively-high profile, as a face of food chain Subway’s latest advertising campaign, but his stock has risen to gargantuan levels since he secured bronze in the middleweight division.
Tweets from boxing legend Oscar Del la Hoya and former heavyweight world champion Lennox Lewis, thousands of fans chanting his name in London and a hero’s welcome on his return to Suffolk, Ogogo has the world at his feet.
But does he follow the path of former Olympians Audley Harrison, James DeGale and Amir Khan and move into the glitz and glamour of the professional ranks or chase another Olympic dream?
There could be the potential opportunity to avenge the defeat to his London nemesis, Brazilian Esquiva Falcao, in the South American’s back yard, at the 2016 Rio Games.
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For now his thoughts are solely focused on his family, especially his mother Teresa, who is recovering from a brain haemorrhage she suffered just before the start of the Games.
“I have not really thought about it as I just want to spend time with my family,” said Ogogo, who revealed his mum is making steady progress in her recovery.
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“I know I will have to consider my options and there are pros and cons to staying amateur or moving into the professional ranks.
“When I was boxing at the ExCel in the Olympics, the whole place erupted when I was in the ring and all the country was getting behind me and wanting me to win, in pro boxing you don’t get that.
“Being part of London 2012 made me feel so proud, having the lion on my chest and my name and GBR on my back.
“But four years is a long time, it is difficult making it to the top for two Olympics, and I can’t see the Rio Olympics being as good as the Games in London.
“I am sure the Brazilians will put on a brilliant spectacle, Rio is a beautiful city and I would love to be able to avenge my defeat to Falcao but the experience will never match London.”
It was not just the boxing and the atmosphere that made the Olympic experience so special for Ogogo.
For two weeks, he was a resident of the Olympic Village, a brand-new purpose-built facility that housed around 17,000 athletes, a ‘fantasy world’ according to the former Celebrity Big Brother contestant
“You are in a bubble and everyone there is striving for the same thing,” explained Ogogo.
“Everything was brilliant, new and pristine and you could not have wished for any more helpful volunteers.
“We were mixing with the big names. Ryan Giggs has been my absolute hero since I used to watch him on Match of the Day as a child and there I was having a photo with him and talking to him about my fights.
“Then there was Mo Farah, what a legend he became. It was like living in a fantasy land although I didn’t want to waste the opportunity by having too much fun. I was there for my boxing.”
Ogogo emerged with a bronze having lost to the Brazilian, who he also succumbed to in last year’s World Championships, and the Triple A boxer has mixed feelings over what happened.
“It was frustrating but I am not bitter,” revealed Ogogo.
“I am better than him, The Ukranian who I defeated took him apart as did the German that I beat.
“But while I was having a tough first round fight, Falcao had a bye and then the calibre of opponents he faced on his way to the semi-finals were not at the same level that I was fighting.
“My wins against the Ukranian (Ievgen Khytrov) and German (Stefan Hartel) took so much out of me. In the first fight, I was taking on the world champion and anything less than maximum effort and I would have lost.
“I did not want to get off my stool ahead of the third round ahead of the third round with the German and when it came to the semi-final, my tactics were okay but I could not box properly and I was getting caught.
“Frustratingly, I watched the final the following day, which was rubbish and I knew I could have beaten both men.”
Ogogo is now enjoying the trappings that come with being an Olympic hero and was given his very own ceremony in his home town on Tuesday.
“I would have not wanted to come back to Lowestoft and go back to my normal life,” he said.
“I really delighted that so many people were taken in by my performance and got some fulfilment and enjoyment from what I was going to do anyway.
“I am enjoying all the commitments that are coming my way. I did things before (Celebrity Big Brother and modelling) but that was when I was injured and had nothing to lose.
“This is totally different.”