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AIBA news: Rio 2016 Olympic boxing will officially have no headgear plus updates on qualifying & WSB action

Credit: AIBA

In the light of AIBA’s exhaustive medical research following the decision to remove headguards for men at the 2013 World Championships, the International Olympic Committee Executive Board has agreed to the removal of headguards in the men’s competition for Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The IOC has officially taken note of the technical decision of AIBA to remove the headguards for male competitions at the Olympic Games. It has also confirmed that the technical rules of the competitions fall under the remit of each International Federation. The IOC Executive Board has been following AIBA’s recommendation meaning that the men’s competition will be organised without headguards for the first time since Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games.

“We are profoundly pleased that there will be no headguard for male boxers in Rio. It is something that has been expected by our boxers and by the boxing fans the world over. Since our very first conversations with athletes and medical staff on the issue we have been investigating the possibility of removing headguards and both our statistical research, and the feedback from boxers and coaches, shows us that this is the best outcome for our sport. It is undoubtedly a great achievement for AIBA to present our boxers without headguards at the next Olympic Games, the most important sporting event“ added AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu.

AIBA’s research into a change in the rules has centred around the 2013 World Championships in Almaty, the first in 30 years where the boxers were without headguards. The Association’s Medical Commission has studied more than 11,000 bouts in major boxing competitions and the number of concussions showed a significant drop of 43% from 2013 to 2015. At last year’s World Championships in Doha, no concussions were recorded.

As part of AIBA’s commitment to put boxers first, the HeadsUp campaign was launched in 2015 in particular to encourage the boxers to adopt a better stance, a more upright style in the ring. The initiative also focuses on protecting and extending the career paths of boxers in and out of the ring in all corners of the globe.

American Boxing Confederation’s top athletes gear up for crucial Olympic Qualification Tournament in Buenos Aires

The American Olympic Qualification Event get underway in ten days time, with a record number of 241 boxers from 34 countries registered for the tournament in Buenos Aires from 11-19 March in Predio Ferial la Rural de Palermo venue. In all, 25 men’s and 5 women’s quota places for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will be confirmed at the end of 11 days of boxing in the Argentina’s capital.

“It is moments like these for our boxers that bring their years of dedication and training into focus. The Olympic dream is a unique driving force for athletes and with 60 places at Rio 2016 already taken up, there is no doubt that the race for the remaining spots between so many brilliant athletes from this famous boxing continent will be thrilling”, said AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu.

Top US women’s boxer Claressa Shields has won all of her major competitions since the London 2012 Olympic Games, and the reigning Olympic, AIBA Women’s World, American Confederation and Pan-American Champion now has her sights firmly set on Rio 2016, along with Canada’s Pan-American Games winners Mandy Bujold and Caroline Veyre.

With six boxers already confirmed for Rio, Cuba’s men’s team will only have four representatives in Buenos Aires, all of them stars of the Domadores WSB franchise: reigning Olympic champions Roniel Iglesias and Robeisy Ramirez, Erislandy Savon and Leinier Pero.

There is great expectation on the shoulders of rising US stars Shakur Stevenson and Antonio Vargas, while the Argentine fans will want to get behind their medal hopes Yamil Peralta, Alberto Palmetta and APB star Alberto Melian. WSB stars Yoel Finol of Venezuela and Carlos Andres Mina from Ecuador will also be among the favourites to qualify, while Costa Rica pins its hopes on flyweight David Alejandro Jimenez, the first boxer from the country ever to win a medal at the AIBA World Championships.

“The strength of the field in Buenos Aires speaks volumes about the quality of boxing on our continent as we go into this important Olympic year. There are potential gold medal winners in every squad, but it is a long journey to becoming Olympic champion with a lot of bouts to win, starting here in ten days’ time”, said American Confederation President Osvaldo Rafael Bisbal.

British Lionhearts focused on preserving lead at the top of Group B against closest rivals USA Knockouts on Thursday

British Lionhearts could seal their place as Group B winners on Thursday night as they entertain the USA Knockouts in London’s York Hall. Season VI began well for the home side with a tight win in Miami, and victory in the return match would book their place in the Playoffs stages.

European Confederation Championship silver medalist Muhammad Ali will be first into the ring for the unbeaten Lionhearts looking for his second win of the season against Knockouts’ talented Indian Gaurav Bidhuri. Also in form for the hosts is Welshman Joseph Cordina, recent lightweight winner at the Bocskai Memorial Tournament in Hungary and favourite to overcome Knockouts’ debutant Bruce Carrington, bronze medalist at the US National Olympic Trials.

British Lionhearts’ newcomer Cyrus Pattinson took silver in Hungary at welterweight and he meets Ardreal Holmes in what will be a revealing battle of the WSB debuts, before light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi, winner of both the Rio Test Event and Bocskai event, unleashes his powerful combinations on Knockouts’ French talent Souliman Abdourachidov.

The last man out for the home side, with the possibility of sealing the Group B top spot in style, is European Games Super Heavyweight champion Joe Joyce. Joyce returns to the team after a brilliant 6-1 season last year, to face American Brandon Lynch, who will be riding high after defeating Mexico Guerreros’ Elvis Garcia on WSB debut in Week 4.