A Look at the Potential Implications of Amateur Boxing’s Governing Body Allowing Professional Boxers to Retain Olympic Eligibility
Amateur boxing has a rich history in the Olympic Games. Fordecades, many of the world’s top professional boxers have introduced themselves to the world in medal winning performances in amateur boxing. It thus came as a shock this past month to read about AIBA, the governing body that presides over amateur boxing worldwide, signing several top Olympic boxers, including two-time gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko, to professional contracts under the new outfit AIBA Professional Boxing (“APB”). Most surprising was the Associated Press report which indicated, in part, that the top 56 boxers who sign with APB to begin their professional careers will have Olympic quota places reserved for them, “while regular professional boxers wouldn’t be eligible for an Olympic shot.” If interpreted as it appears to read, boxers who turn professional under the umbrella of APB, an off-shoot of amateur boxing’s international governing body, will be permitted to return to the Olympics and compete in the boxing competition even though they will have fought as professionals by then, yet those who do not sign promotional agreements with APB cannot. If one thinks that this sounds patently unfair and could eventually spell the death in the participation of amateurs in Olympic boxing, such thoughts do not seem so farfetched. Why would any nation feel compelled to keep sending its best amateurs when those nations with APB signees can send their best professional boxers? A quick look at the intention behind APB and what a country such as the United States might be able to do in order to send its own professionals follows.
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