Lisa unlikely to be swayed by pro overtures

Lisa Whiteside
Lisa Whiteside
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Preston fighter Lisa Whiteside seems likely to reject any thoughts of turning professional – for the time being at least.

Female boxing has found itself in the spotlight in recent times after a number of high profile stars have made the decision to turn pro.

Double Olympic champion Nicola Adams is perhaps the biggest name to turn her back on the amateur ranks after she signed a deal with renowned male boxing promoter Eddie Hearn.

She followed fellow GB star and London Olympic gold medallist Katie Taylor, who turned pro in October after also being snapped-up by Hearn.

As a serial national champion and a former World Championship silver medal winner, flyweight Whiteside would arguably be an attractive proposition for a promoter.

However, according to her trainer Mick Day, the 31-year-old looks to be fully focused on achieving her dream of competing at the next Commonwealth Games, on the Gold Coast in Australia, next year and ultimately the Olympic Games, in Tokyo, in 2020.

“There seems to have been a big push with the females to turn professional recently,” said Day. “Nicola Adams has turned pro and Katie Taylor turned over before the end of last year. There seems to be a lot more females making the step into the professional game.

“Turning pro is an option for Lisa at some point. I think she will keep her options open, but I don’t think it’s something she is looking to do at this moment in time.”

The fact that Adams has turned her back on the chance of going for a third successive Olympic gold – unless Team GB change their stance on professionals competing in Tokyo – should convince Whiteside to remain in the amateur ranks.

Her path to previous Olympics has been blocked by Adams, who has always won selection ahead of her in the flyweight division.

But with the Leeds fighter now out of the equation, Whiteside is the top Team GB fighter in her weight category – although a lot can still happen between now and Tokyo.

“Obviously Nicola turning pro changes things,” said Day. “But it’s not something Lisa has thought too much in relation to Nicola. She has always been focused on her own career and has her own ambitions and dreams.”

Whiteside is in action this week after flying out to Hungary to compete in the Bocskai Memorial Tournament.

Although the event is a low-key affair, the competition should be of a high standard as countries such as Russia, Belarus and China have entered strong squads.

It will also be Whiteside’s first experience of three three-minute rounds rather than the previous format of two rounds lasting four minutes each.