PROFESSIONAL boxers could be allowed to compete in the Olympic Games. AIBA, the world governing body for the Olympic sport, held a commissions meeting in Manchester that concluded today. While a decision is yet to be made, the commissions meeting has recommended professional boxers be made eligible for the Olympics, a ruling which could be introduced in time for Rio 2016.
It’s too early to say how this would work in practice, the qualification process is already well underway but presumably national federations would be able to select current professional boxers for their team.
A spokesperson for GB Boxing said, “The proposals have the potential to broaden the talent pool from which we are able to select boxers and we are looking forward to hearing more about them in due course. In the meantime, we have a squad of talented boxers that are all training hard to qualify for Rio 2016 and all of our efforts are focused on helping them to achieve this.”
It’s already peaked the interest of some top pros. Tyson Fury, the world heavyweight champion, suggested, “Why not? The only thing I never won…”
Eight AIBA commissions assembled this week to discuss competition structure, removal of headguards as well as eligibility for pros. The discussions, we’re told, were held in the spirit of the HeadsUp! campaign, the ongoing initiative launched in 2015 to propagate a greater responsibility for the health of AIBA boxers and the nurturing of their careers from inception through to retirement and beyond.
“AIBA’s 70th year is the perfect time to rejuvinate the annual meeting of our commissions. The topics under debate and discussion affect every level of our sport so it is vital that all of our commissions are heard on these crucial issues. The HeadsUp campaign has made important inroads and we look forward to acting on the valuable opinions we have heard over the past days here in Manchester”, said AIBA President Ching-Kuo Wu after addressing the 110 attendees.