John Joe Nevin’s amateur accomplishments are no guarantee of similar success in the paid ranks, Colin Layde writes.

The Westmeath boxer turned professional last week and maintains he can go on to become world champion. Nevin enjoyed a glittering career in the vest and head guard, winning bronze at two World Championships, culminating in a silver medal at this summer’s Olympics in London.

Nevin has joined Amir Khan’s new promotion company Super Fight Promotions, believing Khan will help guide him to a world title. Khan, like Nevin, won an Olympic silver medal before turning professional, and has gone on to hold the WBA and IBF light-welterweight titles.

The Mullingar man believes Khan’s advice will be invaluable as he makes the change to the paid ranks. “He himself was an Olympic medallist so he has gone through the transition from amateur to professional” he says. Khan’s own career is currently at something of a crossroads, following his knockout loss to Danny Garcia in their world title unification fight earlier this year.  Never short of self confidence, Khan appears to have little doubt his new signing has the tools to succeed as a professional. “He’s slick, moves well and has a lot of attributes that I know will take him very far as a professional”, says Kahn.

However, boxing is littered with examples of talented fighters who have failed to adapt to the professional game. Nevin’s fellow countryman Michael Carruth memorably won gold at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, before promptly turning professional. Carruth’s ensuing career completely failed to ignite, finally retiring after being knocked out by unheralded American Adrian Stone in 2000.

British heavyweight Audley Harrison turned professional with much fanfare after claiming gold at the Sydney Games in 2000. Harrison was heralded as the natural successor to the departing Lennox Lewis and the boxer himself predicted he would be world champion inside 3 years.

Harrison’s career has subsequently descended into farce, being transformed from national hero to pantomime villain. ‘Fraudley’, built up an undefeated record against journeymen and novices, before being handed defeats by countrymen Michael Sprott, Danny Williams and David Haye. British and Commonwealth champion David Price, brought the curtain down on Harrison’s career last Saturday, brutally knocking the former Olympic champion out in the first round of their contest. A career that was apparently destined for the bright lights of the Vegas casinos, brought to an ignominious conclusion in the less salubrious surroundings of Liverpool’s Echo Arena. It was hard not to feel sorry for Harrison as he made his way back to the dressing room to a chorus of boos, his dreams of world titles in tatters.

Nevin is perhaps better prepared than Carruth or Harrison for the transition to the pro-ranks, having competed in the World Series of Boxing (WSB). The WSB was created by the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA), as an incentive for fighters to remain amateur, offering more regular top level competition. Unlike conventional amateur boxing, fights in the WSB were fought without a vest or head guard. Nevin was part of the victorious Paris United side that won the competition in 2011.

Should Nevin succeed as a professional, it will come as a much needed boost for professional boxing in Ireland, following the retirement of John Duddy and Bernard Dunne, and Andy Lee’s world title loss to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. earlier this year. Belfast’s Carl Frampton and Birmingham born Matthew Macklin are currently the only Irish fighters who look capable of capturing a world title.