Rio 2016 will have pro boxers, says AIBA boss

Tue Mar 1, 2016 9:32am EST
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By Karolos Grohmann

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Professional fighters will feature at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics as long as a constitutional change goes through in June, the president of the international boxing federation AIBA said on Tuesday.

Last month's decision by AIBA to begin procedures to open the door for pro boxers to compete alongside amateurs at the Games means the sport could get increased exposure with potentially big-name fighters taking part.

The move, though, has also earned a lot of criticism as many argue it would be unfair to the thousands of amateurs who have trained for the Games for years and now have to possibly make way for the pros.

"Professional boxers will be at Rio. I don't know how many but they will be," AIBA boss Ching-Kuo Wu told Reuters. "But they will have to go through the same procedures as everyone else.

"What we have to do is just amend the constitution of AIBA and we will do that at an extraordinary congress in June. The constitution is the only thing blocking this at the moment."

Boxers qualify for the Games in a series of regional events, many starting later this month.

Wu said after the constitutional amendment goes through, professionals could book their tickets for Rio at the final world Olympic qualifying tournament in Azerbaijan in mid-June.

There are doubts, however, over whether professional world champions would want to jeopardize their careers by taking part in three-round contests that bear little resemblance to paid bouts.   Continued...

AIBA President Wu Ching-Kuo attends a news conference in Baku in this file photo dated September 24, 2011. REUTERS/Osman Karimov