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Boxing's big stars could soon shine at Olympics

Published 24/02/2016

Big name: Amir Khan is a former World champion
Big name: Amir Khan is a former World champion

Top professional boxers could finally be granted the right to compete in the Olympics under new proposals being considered by the sport's governing body AIBA.

Restrictions which currently rule global stars like Wladimir Klitschko and Amir Khan out of the Games are set to be abolished at an AIBA Commissions meeting this week.

Under current AIBA rules introduced in 2013, professional boxers are eligible to go to the Olympics provided they have had under 15 paid bouts and sign a short-term contract committing themselves to AIBA's professional arm, APB.

However, it is understood the failure of APB to have the desired impact, coupled with AIBA president Ching-Kuo Wu's relentless drive towards a full merger of the former professional and amateur codes, has put the Olympic eligibility criteria firmly back on top of the agenda.

The new plan could allow any professional boxer to become instantly available to represent their country at an Olympics provided they sign with their respective national body, which in Great Britain's case would be the boxers' respective home unions.

It is unlikely any change will be passed in time to affect the Rio Olympics, with proposals not due to be ratified until the next meeting of AIBA's executive committee in July, after the qualification process is complete.

AIBA would not comment directly on the issue but Wu said in a statement: "2016 is a special year for AIBA as we celebrate our 70th anniversary. The 2016 Commissions will set guidelines in terms of the future development of boxing and having them take place in this boxing nation makes it even more unique."

The plans have been brewing for some time with Athens silver medallist Khan indicating a change was due after meeting Wu during last year's World Championships in Doha.

Khan said: "AIBA President Mr Wu is a good friend and I was in Doha for the amateur men's World Championships.

"I think they are changing the rules soon, that's what I gathered from Mr. Wu."

Belfast Telegraph

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