Amateur boxers may not get a fair fight in Rio

Special Report by Scott Moriarty

The plans to potentially allow professional boxers to compete at the Olympic Games have drawn mixed views.

According to the head of the international amateur boxing association (AIBA) Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, the plan is to allow professionals who have had more than 15 paid fights to compete at the Olympics.

AIBA’s executive committee must approve this proposal, and Wu believes it is “absolutely possible” to change the rules in time for August’s Rio Games.

For some fight fans the prospect of this is an exciting one, with the possibility of seeing fighters like world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury fighting Deontay Wilder for Olympic gold sounding like a dream come true.

But there are concerns that the possible rule change could affect the amateur fighters who dream of representing their country at the Olympics.

For a lot of amateurs the Olympics is the platform they can use to advance to the professional level. British star Anthony Joshua turned pro a year after his heroics in 2012, as did compatriot Amir Khan in 2004. Both fighters are prime examples of how a successful Olympic campaign can boost an amateur fighter’s career.

Unified Super Bantamweight champion Carl Frampton said: “The amateurs at the moment are pretty much professionals. The established governing bodies are entitled to say: ‘If you guys are fighting as pros, why can’t our pro boxers enter the Olympics?’ They have a justified point.”

The proposal will not stop amateurs from competing in the games but there is a big possibility that an amateur could be paired up to fight a professional, who has far greater experience.

Former Olympic gold medallist and world champion Lennox Lewis said: “You could have a scenario where someone like (former world heavyweight champion) Wladimir Klitschko, who won Olympic gold in Atlanta and has so much experience, could go up against a kid of 18 who has had just 10 fights. I don’t think it is fair.”

Did you know?
Olympic boxers can be no younger than 17 years old and no older than 34. Also the fighters cannot have beards and moustaches can be no longer than the upper lip.
Notable winners of Olympic Gold Medals in boxing include Wladimir Klitschko, Lennox Lewis and Cassius Clay (Mohammed Ali)

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