By Duncan Mackay in London

June 28 - Ireland's Olympic silver medallist Kenny Egan was drafted by Miami in the Americas conference at the official launch of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) here today.

Egan was one of five Irish boxers who were part of the draft for the series that is due to begin in November.

John-Joe Joyce and David Oliver Joyce were selected by Delhi while Willie McLoughlin, along with John-Joe Nevin, head to Paris.

Each franchise has had to pay between $2-3 million (£1.5--£2 million) which they will seek to get back through television rights and sponsorship.

The semi-professional tournament, which takes in a dozen cities throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas, starts on November 19 and runs until March.

Each boxer is to receive at least $25,000 (£16,600) with bonuses expected for wins.

Each city is obliged to have a least three foreign-born boxers in its team.

The WSB, which has the full backing of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA), marks a radical new departure for the sport.

Boxers competing in the WSB will not wear protective headgear or vests and will be rewarded financially.

WSB bouts will last for five, three minute rounds as opposed to three, three minute rounds in amateur boxing.

Crucially, however, boxers competing at the WSB will not lose their Olympic status.

The WSB will annually crown city-based teams and individuals as World champions.

Today's draft at the Millennium Kensington Hotel saw eight franchises representing cities from Europe and Asia complete their teams from a selection of 175 boxers from 64 countries.

The European franchises are Istanbul, Milan, Paris and Moscow.

The Asian franchises are Astana, Baku, Beijing and Delhi.

The Americas franchises Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Mexico City.

C K Wu (pictured), the President of AIBA, said: "Today, boxers have a new choice.

"A competition that will not only offer them long-term security, a guaranteed salary and regular competitive boxing at the highest level, but that will also allow them to retain their eligibility for the Olympic Games.

"For the first time ever, we will see a global, team boxing league in which the world's best boxers compete against each other on a regular basis, year after year."

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