Professional boxers eligible to fight in Rio Olympics this summer!
Wednesday, 1 June 2016 | Carl
Professional boxers will be allowed to participate at the Olympic Games in Rio this summer, the sport's governing body has confirmed.
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) voted on Wednesday to make a rule change allowing professionals to compete, with 95 per cent of member federations in favour.
A total of 26 places in the Rio tournament will be made available at a qualifying event in Venezuela next month.
AIBA's plan has been criticised across the professional ranks as a move toward dangerous mis-matches between established boxers and inexperienced amateurs.
Great Britain's men won two gold medals at the London Games, thanks to super-heavyweight Anthony Joshua and bantamweight Luke Campbell, who could now theoretically defend their titles four years on.
"This is a key part of my master plan and is a big step forward," said AIBA president CK Wu.
"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."
The British Boxing Board of Control will talk over the change to Olympic rules next week, but general secretary Robert Smith is not in favour.
Smith told Sky Sports News HQ: "We do not think it's a good idea. We await to see how this will be implemented. It is not to the benefit of boxing."