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.
David Ortiz called his good friend Aly Raisman on Thursday night. Raisman had one request for their scheduled meeting for Friday.
“I told him that he had to hold my medals while I threw out the first pitch,” Raisman said on NESN. “I told him he better not forget, but he remembered.”
Ortiz made it a highlight, wearing Raisman’s three Rio medals and plodding as if they were weighing him down before the Royals-Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Friday night.
It was reminiscent of Bryce Harper serving as a medal rack for Katie Ledecky on Wednesday night.
Ortiz and Raisman have come to know each other in the last four years, after Raisman’s first Olympic appearance in London. Raisman, a native of Needham, Massachusetts, has attended a gala and golf tournament benefitting Ortiz’s children’s charity.
She previously threw a first pitch at Fenway following the 2012 London Games. It didn’t faze Raisman that her pitch Friday bounced before reaching home plate.
“My pitch was horrible, but that’s OK,” Raisman said on NESN. “I’m good at gymnastics, so it doesn’t matter.”
Raisman will rejoin her Final Five teammates for a USA Gymnastics tour of 36 cities that begins Sept. 15. Whether she returns to competitive gymnastics is unknown.
MORE: Gymnastics royalty reacts to Biles and Raisman’s Olympic heroics
Claressa Shields may just be the most dominant female athlete on the planet. The Flint, Mich., native is now a two-time Olympic boxing champion with a 77-1 record and a four-year unbeaten streak.
Actor Mark Wahlberg, who played boxer Micky Ward in the 2010 film “The Fighter,” took notice.
He taped a video that Shields watched before a celebration in her hometown Thursday, according to the Flint Journal.
“You are the true definition of a champion,” Wahlberg said. “You continue to inspire so many people, not only in Flint, but all over the world. I’m so proud of you. Your performance was amazing. God bless you. I look forward to seeing you, and I look forward to doing lots of things with you.”
Now Shields must decide whether to turn professional, which would end her Olympic career.
“Professional women’s boxing is not nowhere near on the same attention level as the Olympics are,” the 21-year-old Shields said, according to the Flint Journal. “I get way more attention than any female boxer who is professional right now with me being an amateur.
“So the goal is to go professional but still have that same attention and same mainstream. Hopefully, if they have the rule changed that the women professionals can come back and fight the Olympics, I would go professional to fight on TV and make a bunch of money but then come back and defend my two gold medals in 2020.”
MORE: Shields becomes first U.S. fighter to win back-to-back golds