Boxing: After headguards, vests next on Olympic hit list

Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:12pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Male boxers will step into the ring without headguards at the Rio Olympics for the first time since the 1980 Moscow Games, and their vests could be next on the hit list.

With the lines between amateur and professional increasingly blurred, another distinctive difference between the codes -- the red or blue singlets worn by Olympic boxers -- is being questioned.

"The removal of vests (from the ring) is a proposal we are looking at," a spokesman for governing body AIBA told Reuters in response to a query.

"It has to be approved by the relevant AIBA commission and approved by the executive committee and then we will present this request to the IOC (International Olympic Committee)."

Unlike professionals, who fight bare-chested, Olympic boxers have always worn tops -- possibly for reasons of decency in the early days although they also protected against rope burn and absorb sweat.

There was once even talk of 'smart vests', with electrodes to sense a scoring blow, before AIBA discarded the computers and changed to a pro-style 10-point scoring system.

AIBA president Wu Ching-kuo said in 2011 that "we will still need to keep the vest for amateur boxing because of the country name" but much has changed since then.

The Olympic tournament is no longer the preserve of amateurs, with AIBA approving a constitutional change in June that allows professionals in for the first time.   Continued...