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Page last updated at 21:01 GMT, Friday, 31 October 2008

Gavin to join professional ranks

Frankie Gavin
Gavin returned from Beijing with thoughts of what might have been

World amateur champion Frankie Gavin will turn professional next week.

The 23-year-old reigning lightweight world champion is set to sign with promoter Frank Warren and expects to be trained by Anthony Farnell.

The Birmingham fighter will compete at light-welterweight and hopes to make his debut early next year.

Gavin was controversially forced to withdraw from the Beijing Olympics at the last minute after failing to make the lightweight division weight.

He had to return home from China before the boxing tournament had even begun.

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Asked if his Olympic disappointment contributed to his decision, he said: "Yes, definitely."

Gavin told the BBC in September that there was "a good chance of me staying amateur", with November's European Championships in Liverpool his next amateur target.

"I didn't go to the European Championships because I had better options, to go professional," Gavin explained.

"I haven't signed yet but I'm very close to signing, the deal should be done next week with Warren.

"He made his interest known quite a while ago. He's the best promoter in Britain by far, if not the world.

"I'm going to base myself in Manchester with Anthony Farnell. He's got some of my mates up there and the lads I've spoken to gave me a good talk.

"So as long as the contract gets signed next week, that is what will happen."

Warren said: "We are nearly there. We've just got a few bits to sort out and hopefully next week we'll make it official.

"What happened at the Olympics was a great shame. He was world champion since the age of 17, he has been a very successful amateur and I'm sure he would have come back from Beijing with a gold medal.

"Now he's moving on and hopefully he will go on to bigger and better things."

Former WBU middleweight champion Farnell retired from the ring in 2005 because of health problems and has since moved into training.

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