Professional boxers will now be eligible to participate in the Olympic Games from the upcoming games in Rio, Brazil. The decision has however received huge condemnation for proponents of amateur boxing
Ricky Hatton, former three-time light welterweight and welterweight champion of the world said, the decision had effectively knocked out amateur boxing. ‘Pro boxers in the olympics. What are AIBA thinking. Goodbye amateur boxing now as far as I’m concerned,’ Hatton tweeted.
Pro boxers in the olympics. What are AIBA thinking. Goodbye amateur boxing now as far as I'm concerned. Can't say I'm a fan of this.— Ricky Hatton MBE (@HitmanHatton) June 1, 2016
The British Boxing Board of Control in a statement signed by its general Secretary also spoke in very harsh terms of the AIBA’s move describing it as ‘not beneficial to the sport as a whole’
British Boxing Board of Control object to professionals competing at Olympics: “disrespectful and dangerous” pic.twitter.com/FCIeFRzcXn— Richard Conway (@richard_conway) June 1, 2016
How the AIBA decision was reached
This landmark decision was reached after the International Amateur Boxing Federation (AIBA) on Wednesday voted in favor of the integration of professionals in the Olympics starting in August with Rio 2016.
AIBA (@AIBA_Boxing) June 1, 2016
Members of AIBA, at an extraordinary congress in Lausanne, Switzerland voted resoundingly by 84 votes with 4 abstentions in favor of the admission of professionals at Olympic boxing tournaments.
Boxing was one of the few sports that had refused to admit professional boxers at the Olympics, ensuring over the years that only amateurs qualified to participate at the games.
As part of the new rules ANY boxer can participate in the qualifying rounds slated for Venezuela in which some 26 Olympic places are up for grabs. But in the case of a second qualifier in Azerbaijan, only amateurs are allowed to participate.
Other opponents of the new regulation expressed their disappointment on social media platform, twitter.
Gutted to hear about it being confirmed pro's can box in the Olympics. Absolutely ruins amateur boxing that in my opinion. Wrong 👎🏼— Stephen Smith (@SwiftySmith) June 1, 2016
— Tony Barrett (TonyBarretTimes) June 1, 2016
OllieHolt22Spot on. Amateur boxing has long been one of the best things about the Olympics. Allowing pros in is a backward step.