Wladimir Klitschko’s Olympic eligibility unclear

Wladimir Klitschko
AP
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In February, boxing’s international governing body (AIBA) said that world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko “is not eligible for any of the qualifying paths” for the Rio Olympics, but that is no longer AIBA’s stance.

Last week, AIBA’s communications department was asked if Klitschko is eligible for Rio given reports this month that he was in discussions with AIBA about competing in the 2016 Olympics.

“Whilst it is proof of appeal of AIBA boxing, we have no comment at this stage concerning particular boxer presence at Rio 2016,” AIBA’s communications department said in an email Wednesday. “The eligibility will be determined by December 4th 2015 and will be communicated accordingly by each National Olympic Committee.”

Klitschko and retired brother Vitaly Klitschko attended the AIBA World Championships in Doha last week and reportedly discussed with AIBA Wladimir potentially competing in the Rio Olympics. Since London 2012, AIBA has moved to start allowing some professional boxers the chance to compete in the Olympics.

A Klitschko representative said in an email Wednesday that Wladimir’s Rio 2016 status “depends on AIBA.”

The Dec. 4 date is the deadline for National Olympic Committees to confirm that they will fill Olympic boxing berths. However, Ukraine has not yet qualified a spot in Klitschko’s super heavyweight category.

Ukraine’s next chance to do so is at a European qualifier from April 20-May 1 in Istanbul.

Klitschko is next scheduled to fight Tyson Fury on Nov. 28. In 2014 and 2015, Klitschko has had two fights each year — one in April and one in November.

Klitschko has repeatedly said he would like to compete in the 2016 Olympics, 20 years after he won gold in his lone Olympic appearance, as an amateur, in Atlanta.

“If there is a chance, I would love to participate,” Klitschko said in February, calling it “a dream.” “Any other sport, they can play professionally [and play in the Olympics]. It’s a shame for boxing that professional boxers cannot perform in the Olympics.

“I hope things will be cleared up in the next half-year, and then we’ll go from there.”

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