No hurry for young boxing talent to sign professional deal, says long-time coach
PUBLISHED: 17:58 26 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:58 26 May 2020
The coach of one of Fenland’s brightest boxing talents has said “there is no hurry” for his young star to turn professional, despite not knowing who he would fight for in the future.
Matt Lenton, from Sparta Amateur Boxing Club in Chatteris, has coached Erik Ciureja from Wisbech for 10 years and has helped him win several titles along the way, including three national championships.
Eryk, now 18, has been wanting to sign his first professional contract for at least two years, but his licence has been suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Lenton knows the quality that Eryk has in the ring, but he believes now is not the time for him to make that next step.
“This isn’t a case that Eryk cannot get a licence, no way. He wants to train professional, but the whole situation has put this on hold,” Matt said.
“We have to be tested for illnesses and if anything causes an irregularity, you will lose your licence. It is very uncertain times.
“As an amateur, you box against kids your own weight and age. As a professional, Eryk may be up against a 30-year-old man who is stronger.
“If he is put back six to twelve months, it will not be a bad thing. From the moment he boxed as a 10-year-old, he was super talented. I try to say, ‘what’s the hurry?’ but it is his life and ambition.
“He’s the son I never had. He’s a very dedicated and committed lad - this means the world to him and it’s just around the corner.”
A fundraiser was set up to help further Eryk’s career, where he has won 43 times from 58 amateur fights.
If Eryk did turn professional, he may not be able to represent his home country of Poland because he has been living in England since the age of six, but he may also not be allowed to fight for England because he is classed as a Polish citizen.
Eryk has been told he can represent England if he changed his nationality, but he does not want to do this, and his coach believes he knows where his ambition lies.
“Eryk said he will not change nationality. He said the way he has been treated in England he is very proud of and does not want to be anywhere else, but he will not turn his back on where he came from,” Matt said.
“When he turns pro, he will box in England but box as a Polish citizen, and then he could go back to Poland to fight for the Polish title. My gut feeling says he wants to box for Poland and win the Polish title.
“Perhaps the whole thing (COVID-19) is a blessing in disguise and gives him another year to develop and to mature.
“Another year of training would be a good thing and not rushing to turn professional. I have no lack of confidence in him, but there is no hurry.”
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