International Boxing Association (AIBA) president Dr Wu Ching-kuo believes amateur boxers would be capable of holding their own against professionals in the Olympic Games.
Wu last week said it is “absolutely possible” that full-time professional boxers will be allowed to compete in Rio this year in a radical rule change.
That was met with mixed reactions from the boxing fraternity, with Lennox Lewis describing the plans as “preposterous”, while Wladimir Klitschko was among the boxers to express their interest in competing.
Concerns have been raised over the safety of less talented and inexperienced boxers coming up against professionals, but Wu is not concerned over that issue.
“They are good boxers, don’t underestimate them,” he told insidethegames.
Wu reiterated that there is no reason why professionals should not enter the ring in Brazil, but said they will have to earn the right to compete in the Olympics.
“We gave the eligibility to the National Federations, and said, you decide,” he said.
“It means the National Federations can choose which boxers to put into qualifying. But they still have to go through qualifying.
“It’s not a case of, okay, you come to the Olympics. That is ridiculous – how could we operate like that?”
Wu claims 90 per cent of the world’s National Federations support the move, which is “not a change, just the opening of the door”.
He added: “It is in line with [the IOC’s] Agenda 2020 [reform process].
“This was very clear. Bring the best athletes into the Olympic Games. All the other 27 sports have professionals, so why can AIBA not have them as well?”
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