Keyshawn Davis, Duke Ragan and Troy Isley are set to become the first outright professional boxers to compete for the U.S. at the Olympics, according to Olympic historians.
Davis, Ragan and Isley, who all turned professional during the pandemic, were added to the U.S. Olympic boxing team via international allocations, four weeks after the first six boxers were named.
A North and South American Olympic qualifying tournament, scheduled for Buenos Aires in May, was canceled due to the pandemic. Davis, Ragan and Isley were not in line to compete in that qualifier after they turned pro.
After it was canceled, Olympic spots were awarded based on amateur world rankings.
Davis, Ragan and Isley remain high enough in those rankings from results in 2019 to earn Olympic spots after the pandemic wiped out competitions in 2020 and 2021.
Davis, the top U.S. male amateur boxer in this Olympic cycle, was removed from USA Boxing’s team for Olympic qualifying in January after violating athlete selection procedures, which disqualified him from Olympic participation.
USA Boxing did not elaborate on the violation, but Davis and his national team coaches clashed over his attendance at training camps for the now-canceled Olympic qualifiers.
Davis said he couldn’t attend the workouts due to family obligations, particularly after his mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The disputes culminated in a letter from USA Boxing to Davis telling him he had been removed from the team — “on Christmas Eve,” Davis said with a laugh.
USA Boxing announced Davis’ removal in late January. Two days after that, it was first reported that Davis had a deal for his professional debut. He won pro fights in February, April and on May 8.
Davis, 22, is the middle brother in a set of fighters (older Kelvin and younger Keon). His silver medal at the 2019 World Championships matched the best Olympic or world finish for a U.S. male boxer since 2007. Andre Ward was the last U.S. man to win an Olympic boxing title in 2004.
For the 2016 Rio Olympics, the International Association of Amateur Boxing (AIBA) organized competitions with prize money that allowed amateur boxers to retain Olympic eligibility.
Some U.S. Olympic hopefuls took part and ultimately qualified for Rio, then after the Olympics turned professional in the traditional sense, signing contracts with promotional companies.
Two U.S. Olympic boxers in the 1920s were later found to have surreptitiously fought professionally, according to Bill Mallon of Olympedia.org.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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