With the boxing world abuzz over the AIBA's decision to allow professionals to compete in the upcoming Olympic games, USA Boxing has announced its position, declaring that it is too late in their selection process to apply the changes necessary to include professionals.
"USA Boxing appreciates AIBA's continuing efforts toward the evolution of international boxing, and we recognize that the admission of professional boxers is an inevitable development. However, USA Boxing's Olympic selection procedures, on which our amateur athletes have relied for the past two years, preclude us from making the last-minute changes that would be required to invite professionals to compete," USA Boxing said in a statement. "We believe that many other countries face similar difficulties, and in fairness to our athletes who have already been selected to fulfill their Olympic dreams, we abstained from voting for the proposed change of the eligibility rules."
Reaction to the AIBA's ruling has been mostly negative, although the likes of Vasyl Lomachenko and Amir Khan have expressed support for the concept, if not necessarily the idea of professionals making a late bid for Rio without time to prepare. It remains to be seen how other countries will respond to the ruling, whether they ignore it or amend their qualification process to admit pros.