New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – Top Olympic boxing prospect Erickson Lubin has turned professional, signing a contract with Mike Tyson’s promotional company.
“Officially signed to Iron Mike Promotions. My pro career starts now,” Lubin, a two-time junior Olympic champion, said on his Twitter account.
Lubin’s move prompted USA Boxing to write an open letter to Tyson, asking the former heavyweight champion to stop interfering with the Olympic process and allow young athletes to follow their Olympic dreams.
In his open letter, USA Boxing president Charles Butler described Lubin as the USA’s “best hope” in the Olympics.
“IMP (Iron Mike Promotions) and Rivalta Management signed him today on his 18th birthday,” said Tyson’s publicist JoAnn Mignano. “That was his choice, nobody forced him to sign a pro contract.”
Mignano and IMP publicist Bob Trieger claimed that nobody complained when New York-based promoter Lou DiBella signed highly regarded 17-year-old amateur prospect Junior “Sugar Boy” Younan last month.
USA Boxing said it will pursue legislation to stop “professional promoters from attempting to sign athletes in the Olympic pipeline.”
“You are offering these athletes pennies on the dollar of what they could be worth with an Olympic medal, or even potentially just being an Olympian,” Butler wrote in his letter to Tyson. “You are also undermining the next United States Olympic Boxing Team in the process.”
The USA boxing program has suffered in recent years. There were no male Olympic medalists in London last year, and only one, bronze medalist Deontay Wilder, in Beijing in 2008.
The last U.S. Olympic gold medalist was Andre Ward in 2004 in Athens. Ward is now the undefeated super middleweight world champion.