Boxing: Pro fighters win and lose in first ever day at Games

Sat Aug 6, 2016 7:20pm EDT
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By Paulo Prada

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Professionals posted mixed results on Saturday, the first day that non-amateur boxers have been allowed to compete at the Olympics.

Cameroon's Hassan N'Dam N'jikam, a former WBO interim middleweight champion who is now fighting as a light heavyweight, lost to Brazilian amateur Michel Borges in a unanimous decision that delighted a raucous home crowd.

Earlier on Saturday, Italy's Carmine Tommasone made boxing history when he became the first fully professional fighter to compete, winning his opening bout against a Mexican amateur.

The two professionals and a Thai fighter who has yet to make his Olympic debut are competing after AIBA, the sport's governing body, made a constitutional change in June that ended 112 years of amateur exclusivity at the Games.

For 32-year-old N'jikam, the change to Olympic rules meant a struggle to adapt. Compared with professional boxing, which can feature 10 rounds or more, Olympic bouts are compressed to only three.

As a professional, "I take time in the first round to know what he's going to do," he said, admitting that the cautious approach led to his losing crucial early momentum.

Still, he does not regret competing.

"I am not happy but I (had) fun," he said.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Boxing - Preliminary - Men's Light (60kg) Round of 32 Bout 4 - Riocentro - Pavilion 6 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 06/08/2016. Carmine Tommasone (ITA) of Italy reacts. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra