Now that many professionals athletes are taking part in the Olympic Games, why do pro boxers not also compete in the boxing competition?

Are there any other categories that do not take part in the Olympic Games?

  • Sort of anti-duplicate: Why are professional athletes allowed to compete in the Olympic games?
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 23:00
  • I believe that this is different because this is the first time that professional boxers can take part to the Games, but seems that any of them (or most of them) do not take this chance.
    – Ale
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 5:54
  • 4
    Commenting cause I'm not sure: because it would affect their record? In most other sports, losing is a fact of life and W-L records get wiped out after each season, but a boxer's lifetime record is exactly that, and a dominant W-L record is essential. Putting all the best prize fighters in the world into the same ring two at a time, only one of them, at most, is going to come out of it undefeated. Risking that damage to your professional reputation for relatively little money (the USOC pays $25,000 for a gold; that's not even pocket change to a guy like Floyd Mayweather) just isn't worth it.
    – KeithS
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


The governing body of Olympic boxing, the AIBA, only recently changed its rule for the 2016 Olympic Games to permit boxers to qualify. To do that, they have to be an otherwise amateur boxer who participates in an AIBA sanctioned professional tournament called the APB. As far as I can tell from the AIBA site, participation in any other pro tournament still disqualifies a boxer from competing in the Olympics, though it's a bit unclear.

Keep in mind, though, that we only have one data point to look at when we say that professional boxers don't compete in the Olympics. We'll need to see what happens in 2020 to get a better idea of how the AIBA is implementing these new rules. (Of course, right now there's a question of whether the IOC is even going to allow boxing at all, but that's a different question.)

It's also important to note that boxing, probably more than any other professional sport, is rife with political and financial motives at the expense of the athletes and the quality of the sport; my best guess is that something along those lines is going on here, with all the other professional boxing federations not wanting their boxers to participate in an AIBA tournament, boxers not wanting to forego their usual salary and risk getting seriously injured fighting for the AIBA, etc. These various reasons could have kept a lot of professionals out of the games in 2016, but with time to prepare and negotiate new contracts some of those issues may go away.

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