- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Luke Campbell, who won an Olympic gold medal in the bantamweight division for Great Britain at the 2012 London Games, is going pro.
Campbell, 25, of Hull, England, signed Tuesday with promoter Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Sport and will make his debut at an outdoor stadium show on a date to be determined in July, Hearn announced.
As an amateur, Campbell also won a gold medal at the 2008 European championships and a silver medal at the 2011 world championships. Now it is time for him to try his hand in the paid ranks, he said.
"I am overwhelmed to be a part of the Matchroom stable," Campbell said at a news conference in London announcing his signing. "I am very excited about our journey together and where we can go. I have been an amateur boxer boxing for Great Britain for the last 13 years, and I have won medals at every major elite tournament.
"I have always known I wanted to be a professional fighter. I have always wanted to be a world champion as a professional boxer and the amateur career was that stepping stone. The experiences boxing around the world, in Russia, Germany, everywhere I have boxed against tough, hard opponents, all of them were learning curves for me for this real game which is the professional ranks."
Hearn said Campbell's pro debut will headline a Sky Sports-televised card in Great Britain at a venue to be determined. Also on the card, Hearn said, will be Tommy Coyle against Derry Mathews for the vacant Commonwealth lightweight title.
"This is a huge day not only for Luke Campbell but for British boxing," Hearn said. "We have someone in Luke that can penetrate fresh audiences and breathe new life into the sport. Luke is a tremendous young fighter and the perfect role model with a backing in his home city like I have never seen."
Campbell, the first Brit to win a bantamweight gold medal in more than 100 years, is excited to go pro after his successful amateur career.
"I think I learned a lot from the Olympic experience," he said. "It was the first time going out there where you had so much pressure on your shoulders, boxing for 10,000 people who were there for you and cheering for you. I use the fans for my benefit. Every time they cheered that raised my game a little bit. To handle that type of pressure, especially in your own country, was tough but I went out there, I enjoyed it and learnt a lot from it. Experiences like that will help me in my pro career.
"Whether my debut is at [possible venues] KC Stadium or at Craven Park I think the fans will bring an electric atmosphere and is going to be a night to remember. It has never been done before for a professional debut, so it is a chance for the city and fans to make history and worldwide news and do a massive outdoor event for somebody's pro debut. I am excited, I am training hard and I will put on the best show possible in the ring."