Boxing

Frampton hits out at AIBA decision to allow pro boxers to compete at Rio Olympics

Carl Frampton has labelled the AIBA's decision to allow professional boxers to compete at this year's Olympic Games as 'ridiculous'. Picture by Nick Potts/PA
PA Reporter

CARL Frampton has hit out at the International Boxing Association’s decision to allow professional boxers to compete at the Rio Olympic Games.

Their potential inclusion will be decided upon by the national federations after 84 of the 88 delegates present at an extraordinary congress at Lausanne in Switzerland voted to make them eligible.

They are not expected to be given a wildcard to the Olympics and must therefore pursue qualification at a tournament scheduled for Venezuela in July.

Frampton has likened the decision to allowing a badminton player to play tennis at the Games, which begin on August 5.

“Pro boxers being allowed to fight in Olympics is ridiculous! They're two different sports. It's like a badminton player playing tennis,” he said.

“Also when and how do they qualify for Rio? It starts in about 10 weeks. AIBA have got worse since I was an amateur and that’s hard to believe.

Former welterweight and light-welterweight world champion Ricky Hatton also expressed his disappointment at the decision.

AIBA president CK Wu is reported to have labelled the move as “a key part of my master plan and is a big step forward.”

He added: "At this stage, it is difficult to say how many professionals will compete in Rio. But there will be some.

"They will all have to go through the qualification system.

"In my belief every athlete should have the right to go to the Olympic Games."

One of the world's leading professional boxing organisations, the WBC, has described the controversial move as the "shameful lowest stage" of Olympic boxing.

The British Amateur Boxing Association (BABA), however, is not expected to consider the selection of professional fighters for the Games.

The BABA has only two places remaining on the Great Britain squad, at light-welterweight and welterweight, and is confident at least one of its fighters will qualify at an event in Baku, Azerbaijan, later this month.

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