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Boxing organizations don’t want pros in the Olympics

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A new rule set in place by the International Boxing Association that would allow pros with fewer than fifteen bouts on their records to compete in the upcoming Olympics is in jeopardy after protests from boxing organizations and promoters.

Now North American Boxing Federation President Joseph Dwyer is getting into the fight, and said his organization supports the protests against the AIBA. He believes allowing pros in the Olympics would put amateurs from underdeveloped countries at a dangerous disadvantage.

“In boxing, athletes punch each other and might get hurt if a non-experienced boxer is fighting against a professional…” Dwyer said. “We respectfully but strongly request AIBA not to proceed to his ruling, and the IOC not to accept it for the fatalities that might occur.”

The European Boxing Union has also been vocal about their distaste for the rule, using similar arguments regarding violence to suggest that the AIBA is trying to “force professionalism into the Olympic Games.” Of course, we’re not talking about anyone jumping into the ring with Mike Tyson. Again, rules state that the “pro” must be on the AIBA’s own circuit and have fewer than fifteen bouts on his record to compete.

AIBA President Wu Ching-kuo hoped the rule would help young boxers earn salaries and prize money so they’re not immediately lured away by the promises of agents and promoters. The AIBA is also doing away with headgear and changing the controversial punch-count scoring system to make the event safer and more professional, which might encourage amateurs to compete in the Games.

WATCH LIVE: Big Air at Fenway — 8:30 p.m. ET

Fenway Big Air
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Fenway Park will host some of the world’s best freeskiers in the one-of-a-kind Big Air at Fenway, live on NBC Sports Live Extra on Friday night.

Big air skiers will descend from a ramp that’s four times higher than the Green Monster inside the hallowed Boston Red Sox home.

Ski big air is most like slopestyle of the current Olympic disciplines, except skiers get one jump per run.

WATCH LIVE: Big Air at Fenway — 8:30 p.m. ET

On Thursday, Canadian Max Parrot and American Julia Marino won the snowboard big air competitions at Fenway Park.

Big Air at Fenway coverage will conclude with an NBC show on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.

MORE: Olympic champ suffers concussion at Big Air at Fenway practice

Lillehammer Youth Winter Olympics open with homages to 1994

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In an homage to the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympics, Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway lit the Lillehammer Youth Winter Olympic cauldron to cap the Opening Ceremony on Friday night.

The princess’ father, Crown Prince Haakon, lit the 1994 Olympic cauldron in a very similar fashion (video here). Princess Ingrid Alexandra was born in 2004.

The Opening Ceremony, held outdoors at a ski jump (same venue as 1994) in sub-freezing temperatures, included a speech from International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.

“I’m just a little bit too old to compete in the YOG,” Bach said, urging listeners to use the hashtag #IloveYOG during the nine-day Winter Games.

The ceremony included Olympic legends, such as 2010 figure skating gold medalist Yuna Kim and eight-time Olympic cross-country champion Bjorn Daehlie carrying the Olympic flag.

Marit Bjoergen, a 10-time Olympic medalist cross-country skier, handed the Olympic flame to the princess.

NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will air coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Saturday at 12:30 a.m. ET, plus daily coverage throughout the Winter Games. A full broadcast schedule is here.

MORE: Two years to Pyeongchang: Updates on U.S. Olympic medalists from Sochi