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June 2, 2016

Amir, ­Waseem to ask promoters for Rio participation

Sports

June 2, 2016

KARACHI: British boxer Amir Khan on Wednesday said that it would be good if he got an opportunity to play for Pakistan in Rio Olympics after world boxing governing body (AIBA) allowed pros to compete in Olympics.

“It would be great. I played in Olympics in 2004 for England and it would be nice to play for Pakistan also after AIBA’s ruling. But I have contracts and will discuss it with my promoters when I return to England before making any decision,” Amir said at a press briefing here on Wednesday.

At its congress on Wednesday in Lausanne AIBA amended the Article 13 (J) of its statutes which opens the doors for pros to represent their countries at the Olympics.

As many as 84 members of AIBA voted in favour of the move, none voted against and four abstained. Pakistan was represented in the meeting by the Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) president Doda Khan Bhutto.

The PBF secretary Iqbal Hussain said his federation would have no objection if rules allowed Amir to represent Pakistan in Olympics. “It would be great if rules allowed Amir to play for Pakistan,” Iqbal told this correspondent.

As many as 26 Olympic spots will be up for grabs when fighters compete at a qualifying tournament in Venezuela next month, with a total of 286 boxers, 236 men and 50 women set to compete in Rio’s boxing events.

AIBA spokesman Nicolas Jomard said there would be no wild cards, with the age limit of 40 for the athletes.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s pro boxer Mohammad Waseem on Wednesday said that he would consult his promoter before deciding whether he should fight for Rio Olympic slot.

“It’s good news that AIBA has allowed pros to compete at Olympics. As far as I am concerned I will consult my promoter what I should do if I get a chance to play in Olympic qualifiers,” Waseem told ‘The News’ from Las Vegas on Wednesday.

Waseem is in America to train for his WBC silver world title bout which he is going to play against Jether Oliva of Philippines on July 17 in Singapore.

As no Pakistani amateur boxer has so far qualified for Rio it would be a blessing for Pakistan if Waseem got the promoter’s nod to fight for the Olympic slot.

Waseem says that currently he is fully focused on his July 17 bout. “Participating in any Olympic event before my fight on July 17 would be difficult for me. I don’t know exactly what will follow,” Waseem said.

He was quick to add that if he did not compete in Rio he would definitely play in 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“I feel that I can play for a few more years. Playing in 2020 Olympics would not be difficult for me,” said the 2014 Asian Games bronze medallist.

Waseem turned pro last year and has won all his three bouts so far.

His fight against Oliva may change his fortune as a pro boxer. “Definitely it will be a big fight. I am in fine shape and will InshaAllah win the fight to win the title for Pakistan,” the confident Waseem said. Oliva is more experienced as he has played 31 bouts of which he won 24.

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