Boxing is often considered as one of the most violent sports at the Olympic games. Although it has been a part of the Olympic games for a long time, it still evinces myriad reactions amongst sports enthusiasts.
With two starkly divided camps, professional and amateur boxing worlds are quite different. The chance for a shot at the limelight might be better in amateur boxing, compared to professional boxing. The ultimate sporting prize for many, an Olympic medal is a quick mode to instant stardom and adulation.
Professional boxers, on the other hand are faced with much more significant hurdles, by way of competition. Although it is an unfair comparison in many ways, one can stick one’s neck out and say the challenges in professional boxing are significantly more arduous than those in the amateur domain.
So why do so many amateur boxers opt for the professional circuit, over time? The answer, quite simply, is money. Fame and adulation fare poorly when it comes to generating revenue. While a successful amateur boxer might enjoy greater global prominence, a boxer who is successful on the professional circuit will be earning in the millions.
While a boxer may not have had significant success in amateur events, he may develop into a force to reckon with on the pro circuit. While the reasons are not exactly clear, here we take a look at 5 such boxers, who made the leap from amateur to pro boxing and had great careers:
#1 John H. Stracey:
John Stracey hailed from London and represented team Great Britain at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. In his first round, he comfortably beat his Canadian opponent, only to be pitted against the great southpaw Ronnie Harris in the second round.
Although Stracey put up a dogged fight and gave his superior opponent many causes for worry, the tide eventually turned against him, as he finished on the losing side. He lost on points despite one of the five judges giving him the edge over his opponent.
Ronnie Harris went on to win the gold in the lightweight category that year but Stracey earned widespread recognition for his dogged perseverance. He went on to forge a successful career in professional boxing.
The greatest moment in his boxing career quite fittingly came in Mexico City, as the scene of his defeat 7 years earlier turned into the scene of his victory. Stracey defied all odds to defeat the overwhelming favourite Jose Napoles to become the welterweight champion of the world.