Former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis has branded a proposal to allow professional boxers to compete in the Olympics as “preposterous”.
The president of the International Boxing Association (AIBA), world boxing’s governing body, Dr Wu Ching-kuo, revealed his desire to abolish regulations preventing fighters with 15 or more paid fights from taking part in Olympic competition.
Wu feels it is possible to have the rules changed before this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, although the plan requires approval from the AIBA’s executive committee.
Former world champion Barry McGuigan has denounced the idea, but Wladimir Klitschko – winner of a super heavyweight Olympic gold medal in Atlanta in 1996 – has said he would be open to a second appearance at the Games.
However, Lewis, who claimed gold for Canada in 1988, has been quick to reject such a change.
“I know they are doing it for other sports but I don’t think it works with boxing,” he told the BBC’s Sportsweek.
“I think it is preposterous to a certain degree.
“Olympic boxing is built for amateurs and is the highest achievement you can get, alongside being world amateur champion.
“All of a sudden you could have a scenario where someone like 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.
“Even the scoring systems are different. In the professional game, you score on power punches and you keep pressure on your opponent, while the amateur system is to score points.”
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