Amateur | Issue | Premium | Oct 01 2019

Should pros be allowed in the Olympic Games?

The debate around pros in the Olympic Games restarts. The Amateur Scene this week
Olympic Games

AMERICAN super-heavyweight Richard Torrez can feel aggrieved. He is a good boxer but is now known for being the victim of a chilling knockout beneath an almighty cross from Bakhodir Jalolov at the recent World championships. Under normal circumstances Jalolov wouldn’t even have been in the tournament. He had already amassed a 6-0 professional record before returning to AIBA boxing.

The rules did change for the last Olympic Games. It’s up to national federations whether they want to select professionals, although the pros who made it to Rio 2016 made no impression. There has been a new round of criticism since Jalolov’s knockout, although it is hard to say that six pro bouts against humble opposition made the Uzbek any more formidable than, say, a season in the World Series of Boxing or even staying with his national programme would have.

The issue would become more controversial if big names were brought in for an Olympics. The Mexican federation have already called for their national stars, including heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz, to represent the country in an Olympics. That is hard to see happening but the WBC have still responded by threatening to ban any pros who participate in the Olympics for two years.