Joshua calls time on amateur career
Olympic super-heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has turned professional after announcing his split from the British amateur boxing programme.
The 23-year-old has not featured in the ring since beating Italy's Roberto Cammarelle to claim gold at the ExCeL Arena last summer.
Joshua had hoped to land a world title before leaving the amateur ranks, but has signed with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom stable and will now make his professional debut as the top billing boxer at The O2 on October 5.
"The British Amateur Boxing Association has confirmed that the 2012 Olympic super-heavyweight gold medallist, Anthony Joshua MBE, will not be part of the GB Boxing squad in the 2013-17 Rio cycle," the organisation announced in a statement.
"His contract with the BABA finished at the end of the 2009-2013 London Olympic cycle and he has now left the World Class Performance Programme to pursue other career opportunities."
The recent dissolution of the British Lionhearts franchise from the World Series of Boxing and the provisional suspension of the Amateur Boxing Association of England by the AIBA further complicated the situation, effectively ending Joshua's prospects of remaining in the amateur ranks.
In spite of that, Great Britain's amateur boxing chiefs had hoped that Joshua would target an Olympic title defence in Rio in 2016.
Great Britain performance director Rob McCracken paid tribute to Joshua, who follows fellow Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell in making the switch to the pro ranks.
"Anthony is a very talented sportsman who has enjoyed a meteoric rise to become Olympic champion, less than four years after he first began boxing," said McCracken.
"Naturally, it is a disappointment for us that Anthony has decided his future lies away from the GB Boxing programme, but he departs with our very best regards and we wish him every success in his future career."