Professional boxing hits out at move to open Games to pros

Wed Jun 1, 2016 2:52pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Amateur boxing's decision to allow professionals into the Olympics for the first time drew fighting talk on Wednesday from champions and sanctioning bodies opposed to the break with tradition.

The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC), which governs the country's professional fight scene, said the change was dangerous, disrespectful and "against the spirit of the Olympics".

"It is the hope of the British Boxing Board of Control and many within the professional Sport in Great Britain and throughout the world that AIBA reconsider such a move that is not beneficial to the sport as a whole," it added in a statement.

AIBA, the international boxing association for amateurs, earlier approved a constitutional change that would allow professionals to compete at the Rio Games in August.

AIBA boss Ching-Kuo Wu told Reuters in Lausanne that the change to the AIBA constitution was approved with 95 per cent in favor -- 84 of 88 voting members.

It follows a decision in March to extend the scrapping of headguards in men's amateur boxing -- introduced three years ago -- to the forthcoming Olympics.

Some 26 Olympic spots will be up for grabs when fighters compete at a qualifying tournament in Venezuela next month.

While an AIBA spokesman said the governing body was "acting for the Olympic legacy" and rejected fears that there would be a disparity between amateurs and professionals, boxers with experience of both disagreed.   Continued...