Professional boxers can compete at Rio Olympics

Meeting at an extraordinary congress in Lausanne, Switzerland, 88 members of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) voted in favour of the move, while none voted against and four abstained.

IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua went pro after winning the gold medal at London 2012.   -  Getty Images

Professional boxers can compete at the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the sport’s governing body ruled in a landmark decision today.

Meeting at an extraordinary congress in Lausanne, Switzerland, 88 members of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) voted in favour of the move, while none voted against and four abstained.

The final results of the vote were told by a senior official within AIBA who requested anonymity as they were not authorised to speak publicly on the subject before the official announcement.

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The revolutionary decision is however unlikely to see boxing’s biggest names enter the Olympic ring in Rio.

For most professionals, like former heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko, it is already too late to take part in a qualifying contest. The last tournament is in Venezuela in July.

Boxing has undergone major changes in recent years. Women were allowed into Olympic competition in 2012 and headguards will no longer be compulsory from Rio.