Por Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
The trend of basketball players-turned-boxers expands to Lazaros Papadopoulos.
Papadopoulos, 41, was announced as a new signing by PRIVE BOXING, a promotion based in Greece. He is expected to be part of the stacked event scheduled to be held on December 19 in Athens. His first opponent is yet to be named.
The Krasnodar-born seven-footer will apparently be enjoying a sizable reach advantage, but also must overcome the lack of combating experience and strength disadvantage compared to shorter Heavyweight boxers. He has been training in recent years under the guidance of Greek coach Giannis Klonis, adjusting and sparring in the demanding ring environment, but until this point fell shy of actually competing in a match and turning pro.
“I prefer team sports for the attached prestige. You become a member of a team and enjoy multiple benefits and more. In individual sports, as in boxing, you actually compete against yourself,” he mentioned in a recent interview with Athens-Macedonian News Agency, “As for your body, individual sports can improve you beyond the point of the team sports. I would not be able to pick which of the two is better.”
The crowning achievements of his basketball career include the 2002 and 2012 EuroLeague titles with Panathinaikos and Olympiacos, respectively. Besides the Greek giants, his career featured stints at Iraklis, Dynamo Moscow, Real Madrid, Fortitudo Bologna, PAOK, and Khimki. He last played professionally in 2014 as a member of Tenerife. At the international level, he was a member of the Greek senior national team capturing gold in the 2005 EuroBasket and silver in the 2006 FIBA World Cup.