Monday 23 October 2017

AIBA votes to allow professional fighters to box at Rio Olympics

Michael Conlon and Paddy Barnes met one of tennis' all time greats today in Rio
Michael Conlon and Paddy Barnes met one of tennis' all time greats today in Rio

Declan Warrington

Professional boxers are eligible to compete at the Rio Olympic Games after the International Boxing Association (AIBA) changed its rules.

Their potential inclusion will be decided upon by the national federations after 84 of the 88 delegates present at an extraordinary congress at Lausanne in Switzerland voted to make them eligible.

They are not expected to be given a wildcard to the Olympics and must therefore pursue qualification at a tournament scheduled for Venezuela in July.

"This is a key part of my master plan and is a big step forward," said AIBA president CK Wu, according to insidethegames.

"At this stage, it is difficult to say how many professionals will compete in Rio. But there will be some.

"They will all have to go through the qualification system.

"In my belief every athlete should have the right to go to the Olympic Games."

One of the world's leading professional boxing organisations, the WBC, has described the move as the "shameful lowest stage" of Olympic boxing.

The British Amateur Boxing Association (BABA), however, is not expected to consider the selection of professional fighters for the Games.

The BABA has only two places remaining on the Great Britain squad, at light-welterweight and welterweight, and is confident at least one of its fighters will qualify at an event in Baku, Azerbaijan, later this month.

weekend from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) that the AIBA had only performed one out-of-competition test in 2014 and 2015.

Beijing silver medallist Kenny Egan was immediately on to his former team mates about the news.

More to follow

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