Professional boxers to compete at Olympics after AIBA confirm constitutional change
Professional boxers are eligible to compete at the Rio Olympic Games after the International Boxing Association (AIBA) changed its rules.
Their potential inclusion will be decided upon by the national federations after 84 of the 88 delegates present at an extraordinary congress at Lausanne in Switzerland voted to make them eligible.
They are not expected to be given a wildcard to the Olympics and must therefore pursue qualification at a tournament scheduled for Venezuela in July.
“This is a key part of my master plan and is a big step forward,” said AIBA president CK Wu, according to insidethegames.
“At this stage, it is difficult to say how many professionals will compete in Rio. But there will be some.
“They will all have to go through the qualification system.
“In my belief every athlete should have the right to go to the Olympic Games.”
One of the world’s leading professional boxing organisations, the WBC, has described the move as the “shameful lowest stage” of Olympic boxing.
The British Amateur Boxing Association (BABA), however, is not expected to consider the selection of professional fighters for the Games.
The BABA has only two places remaining on the Great Britain squad, at light-welterweight and welterweight, and is confident at least one of its fighters will qualify at an event in Baku, Azerbaijan, later this month.
Their success at the past two Games has also been considerable, and included three gold medals at London 2012, and one at Beijing 2008.
The British Boxing Board of Control, which oversees the UK’s professional fight scene and has been credited with doing much to improve the sport’s safety, also disapproves of the development.
“The Board are against it,” their general secretary Robert Smith told Press Association Sport. “We possibly have to speak to (BABA) about this. (But) we do not think it’s a good idea.
“We have a board meeting next week, when I presume we’ll discuss it.”