TWO-time National amateur champion Arnold Obodai has signed a promotional contract with Queensberry.
The Londoner gave up a promising basketball career in the United States and could have been playing in the NBA, but for his boxing love affair.
“I played college basketball in North Carolina, but I was torn between that and boxing. I picked boxing because I don’t have to rely on team-mates,” said the athletic Cruiserweight who was awarded a collegiate scholarship.
“In boxing it’s down to the individual. You either crumble or rise to the occasion. I will never let myself down.
“I got a basketball scholarship and perhaps I could have gone on to play in the NBA where some of my mates are.
“One of my best mates Rayjon Tucker plays for Philadelphia 76ers and another friend Bam Adebayo is with the Miami Heat.
“You can make it as an individual in the NBA, but your team also carries you in a way. In boxing the pressure is on you.
“You can have an exceptional basketball game, but if your team-mates don’t play as good as you, then you can still lose and it takes away how well you played.”
Obodai took up boxing, aged 19, when he returned home from the USA in what he expected to be a brief visit.
Obodai who often spars with close friend Lawrence Okolie, the WBO World Cruiserweight champion explained: “There was an issue with some documents when I was in the United States.
“When I came back to England to sort out the issue too much time had lapsed to go back and do collegiate and basketball.
“I decided it was too late and put all my eggs in one basket and that is boxing.”
While boxing in the world famous Repton ABC vest, Obodai won a NABC title and the Class B 91kg+ crown at the National Development Championships in 2018.
Obodai who will trains under Will Jones hopes to make his debut next month after injury wrecked his Olympic dream.
He added: “My heart isn’t in the amateurs anymore so this is the right time to turn professional.
“I had a goal that I wanted to achieve and go to the Olympics, but I ruptured my Achilles in early 2019 and that didn’t allow me to do that.
“When I had the injury I looked at the time frame and my age so I decided to turn professional.
“I am still a baby in boxing terms, but if I waited until the 2024 Olympics I would be nearly 28.
“I am ambitious, don’t mind the pressure and I want the world. But, I am young. I don’t want to rush and I’ve only been boxing five years.
“As long as I do what I need to do and do things right we can start looking at belts in 18 months, but who knows what can happen or how soon.”