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Jeffries hits out as he turns pro

Tony Jefferies
Jeffries claims he has been treated badly by the ABA

Olympic medallist Tony Jeffries has criticised amateur boxing chiefs after signing a deal to turn professional.

Jeffries, 23, who won light-heavyweight bronze in Beijing, claims he is still owed a 5,000 medal bonus by the Amateur Boxing Association (ABA).

The ABA has rejected his complaint, with chief executive Paul King saying the bonus scheme was ended in 2007.

But Sunderland's Jeffries said he had been told he would get the money, and warned: "I may take legal action."

King insisted the bonus scheme was withdrawn after the last year's World Championships as UK Sport effectively took over financial responsibility for the GB elite squad.

King said: "We paid bonuses at the Commonwealth Games and the last World Championships, but there was never an offer to pay them in Beijing because it was not our place to make that offer."

I am determined to be a credit to north-east England and to take Britain's Olympic success onto the worldwide professional stage

Tony Jeffries

Jeffries also claimed he has been docked 2,000 in funding since returning from Beijing for missing training sessions he was not told about - something King would not comment on.

On one of those days concerned, Jeffries was attending the GB Olympians' parade in London.

He said: "I thought the ABA would be bending over backwards to try to keep us amateur after Beijing, and we all returned home hoping to sit down and listen to offers.

"But apart from attending a few of the squad sessions in Sheffield, I have heard absolutely nothing from anybody high up at the ABA. It's as if they have decided to forget about us."

The dispute overshadowed the decision of Jeffries to sign his first pro contract, joining promoter Dennis Hobson's Fight Academy set-up.

Jeffries put pen to paper on the pitch at half-time during Sunderland's Premier League match against Bolton at the Stadium of Light.

"Dennis has taken a personal interest in my amateur career and understands my fan base here in north-east England," said Jeffries.

Hobson guided Sheffield's Clinton Woods to the IBF light-heavyweight title and also promoted some of Ricky Hatton's fights in the United Kingdom.

Jeffries said: "I feel that I will learn from Clinton and benefit from his and Dennis's experience.

"I am determined to be a credit to north-east England and to take Britain's Olympic success onto the worldwide professional stage."

He added: "To sign on the pitch at half-time in a Sunderland home game is a dream come true. I've supported Sunderland all my life.

"I owe them a big thank you for all the support Sunderland FC have given me."

see also
Jeffries powers to boxing medal
19 Aug 08 |  Boxing


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