Professional ranks expected to prove too enticing for Campbell

Olympic champion Luke Campbell is to turn professional, the Yorkshire Post understands.

Luke Campbell

The 25-year-old, who claimed a glorious gold medal in the bantamweight division at London 2012, has signed with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sports and could make his debut in his home town of Hull in July.

An announcement is set to be made this lunchtime.

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Campbell – who was a world silver medallist and European champion in a decade-long amateur career – could be fighting for his first title within a year.

First-year pros in the Hearn stable generally fight once a month.

Scotty Cardle, a fellow Team GB boxer based in Sheffield with Campbell, turned professional after missing out on a place in the Olympic squad last summer. He won his first title in Blackpool on Saturday night in his 11th bout.

Campbell’s debut is likely to be in July, with him still training with Team GB at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport.

Matchroom like to promote new fighters on hometown bills with Hull’s City Hall venue a possible destination.

The KC Stadium is a potential venue for a debut or indeed a title fight later down the line.

Sheffield’s Kell Brook, one of Matchroom’s highest-profile boxers, made his debut in his home city nine years ago and was fighting for the vacant British welterweight title after 16 unbeaten fights.

The Matchroom move is a good fit for Campbell. Rob McCracken, the man who transformed his fortunes in the amateur ranks after a spell in 2009-10 where he almost quit the sport, is on Hearn’s books as a coach to Carl Froch.

Campbell shot to prominence at London 2012, where, after a nervous start in the opening two rounds, he progressed to the final at the ExCel Arena, where he outpointed Ireland’s John Joe Nevin to become the first Briton for 108 years to win a bantamweight gold medal.

He has taken his time deciding his future, with the lure of pushing on to Rio 2016 something that proved hard to ignore.

But in an interview in December he made no secret of the fact that the paid ranks was enticing as he sought a new challenge in his life.

Campbell said at the time: “I’ve achieved my dream and it’s something I can be proud of for the rest of my life.

“Now it’s about setting new goals.

“I’m putting a new dream in place and trying to go for that.

“I’ve definitely still got that hunger.

“I’ve learned from the Olympics and I’ve got a burning passion inside me that I want to get out there and entertain people again.”