Thursday 25 February 2016

Professional Boxers To Be Eligible For Rio Olympics

The president of world governing body AIBA has said that professional boxers would be allowed to compete in the Rio Olympics. AIBA president, Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, has indicated the last remaining barriers preventing full-time professionals from competing in the Olympics are to be abolished within a matter of months.

Dr Ching-Kuo Wu who spoke at the AIBA Commissions meeting in Manchester on Wednesday said “We want the best boxers to come to the Olympic Games. It is AIBA's 70th birthday and we want something to change - not after four years, but now. It is an IOC policy to have the best athletes in the Games and of the international federations, AIBA is probably the only one without professional athletes in the Olympics. We already have our own professionals, APB and WSB boxers, in the Games and we will go further”. He was asked if the change could realistically be made in time to affect eligibility for Rio and he said “According to our statutes it is absolutely possible.

Despite the qualifying process for Rio already being underway, the intention is clearly to change the rules in time to give individual national federations the chance to select whoever they want in time to join the remainder of the procedure. In reality, for the majority of nations it will be a more gradual process and the likelihood of Joshua taking part is low.

AIBA say they have been working on broadening their eligibility criteria for Rio for some time. They were given implicit encouragement to fast-track the process by the publication of the IOC's Agenda 2020 document in 2014, whose Recommendation 9 declares the intention of “ensuring participation by the best athletes”. Reform of AIBA's eligibility criteria has been top of Wu's agenda since he was elected president of the organisation in 2006.

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