DAVID Oliver Joyce has been confirmed as the first Irish boxer to sign up to the new AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) tournament.
The AIBA are billing the APB as a ‘groundbreaking and innovative new tournament’ described on the AIBA on their website as follows:
APB is an unprecedented, top-class Pro Boxing competition based on individual rankings and introduced by AIBA to showcase the best features of Pro Boxing. The pre-ranking phase, which will run through to January 31 2015, will identify authentic champions in each weight category. For the first time in history, boxing fans will witness a comprehensive, merit-based ranking system in Pro Boxing. In March 2015, the APB program will have its grand opening with the first cycle of competition between these ranked boxers.
At the same time, Rio 2016 will be the first Olympic Games allowing pro boxers to compete. The only way pro boxers can qualify for the Olympic Games in 2016 is the APB competition, which is fully supported by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The qualification path to the Games will be through competing in the APB program from its launch in 2014 until the APB Olympic Qualifying Events in 2015.
Based on the rankings decided by the seven members of the APB Boxers’ Selection and Ranking Committee, a shortlist of 120 boxers was whittled down to 80 boxers who will initially compete twice over six rounds of three minutes to establish world rankings in each of the ten weight categories. Then, based on these world rankings, each boxer will again fight at least three times over six rounds in the Matches for Champions, with those successful pitted against each other to challenge for the title of APB World Champion, contested over eight rounds.
A number of Irish amateurs show a lack of desire when it came to fighting in the new tournament, but Joyce, Fighter of the Tournament in last years Senior National Championships has signed up.
Joyce will compete in a talented lightweight division which includes Italy’s 2009 World Champion Domenico Valentino, Kazakhstan’s rugged reigning Asian champion Berik Abdrakhmanov, and the brilliant Brazilian tactician Robson Conceição who won a silver medal at the AIBA World Boxing Championships last year.
Russian Dmitry Polyyanksiy, a bronze and silver medalist in the European Boxing Championships will join the ranks along with the ambitious former Youth World Champion Artur Bril from Germany, and Beijing 2008 Olympian Hurshid Tojibaev from Uzbekistan.
Completing the group are two more top class operators in Filipino fighter Charly Suarez, and Ireland’s 2009 European Union Boxing Championships gold medal winner David Oliver Joyce.