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Edwards upbeat despite defections

Billy Joe Saunders, James DeGale and Frankie Gavin
Saunders, DeGale and Gavin have signed for promoter Frank Warren

Olympic boxing coach Terry Edwards insists Britain will overcome the loss of Beijing gold medallist James DeGale and three other top amateur boxers.

DeGale has joined fellow Olympians Frankie Gavin, Billy Joe Saunders and Tony Jeffries in turning professional.

"We've had to rebuild after most Olympic Games," said Edwards.

"I've done it now for three Olympics and brought back two gold medals, two bronzes and a silver. It's quite a loss but we'll get over it I'm sure."

DeGale is the most high-profile of the defections after winning gold in the middleweight division in Beijing.

The 22-year-old Londoner said it had been hard to turn his back on the chance to compete in an Olympics in his home city but conceded that money was a factor.

He will earn a reported 1.5m over the next two years after signing with promoter Frank Warren.

The promoters' wallets are bigger than ours... that's a fact of life

Terry Edwards

"Whilst James would have loved to have boxed in London, the offer was too big," added Edwards.

"The promoters' wallets are bigger than ours. That's a fact of life. My enjoyment is working with this talent, seeing them reach their potential and then making that choice (whether to turn professional). That's satisfaction in itself for me."

Jeffries also won a medal in Beijing, taking light-heavyweight bronze. He has signed with Dennis Hobson's Fight Academy.

Saunders, who lost early on in the welterweight competition, and world amateur lightweight champion Gavin, who was forced to withdraw before the Games started after failing to make the weight, have followed DeGale in joining the Warren camp.

Meanwhile, the BBC understands that Irishman Gary Keegan has been offered the role of performance director for the newly-formed British Amateur Boxing Association.

Keegan is a former director of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association and is now head of the Irish Institute of Sport.

Recent reports suggested Edwards is unhappy with a performance director operating above him, but he is said to have a good relationship with Keegan, raising hopes he could remain in his job until London 2012.

see also
Superb DeGale lands boxing gold
23 Aug 08 |  Boxing

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