In what is a great news for India’s first pro-boxer Vijender Singh, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) on June 1 approved a constitutional change allowing professional boxers to be able to take part in the upcoming Olympic Games.
According to AIBA chief Ching-Kuo Wu, the change was approved with a staggering 95 percent voting in favour.
The Summer Olympics will start on August 5, 2016 in Rio, Brazil, and pro boxers can be part of it as long as they qualify through one of the qualifying tournaments.
Vijender during a pro match. NDTV
Though the move has excited many pro boxers, it is also being criticised.
Many feel that this is unfair to amateur boxers who have been training to be part of the Games for years and now may have to make way for a professional boxer to be part of it.
At present Vijender can qualify if he appears in a WSB or APB tournament which together has 26 Olympic quota places on offer.
For now he is focussing on his June 11 match for his maiden title – the WBO Asia belt. Besides Vijender, who turned pro just a few months back, there are many other known boxers who won Olympic medals as amateurs and later went on to become top professionals. Few of these known names are Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Vladimir Klitschko.