The High Performance Unit is exploring the idea of inviting pro boxers back to the amateur fold for the Paris Olympics.
Irish-boxing.com understands a small ‘list’ of pro fighters that the IABA and the High Performance believe may benefit Team Ireland in the shorter and very much changed Olympic cycle has been drawn up.
It’s not sure which fighters are on that ‘list’ or whether or not any fighter has or will be approached as of yet, but a very select few across a very limited number of weights have been discussed.
A number of pros have taken the vest out of the draw this year and returned to the amateur ranks, including Dee Sullivan, who was selected in the Commonwealth Games squad.
It’s understood that the pros the High Performance have in mind are further along their journey and thus higher profile than the likes of Sullivan, James Cahill and James Lynch who are all now amateurs with pro experience.
If the IABA do decide to explore an option other countries have used to good effect, they will have to do so soon as the current Olympic qualifying system all but requires a #1 in each weight to be in place by the end of this year.
Only three pros competed – and did so with minimal success – in Rio the first Olympics in which professionals were allowed to participate. The numbers increased for Toky,o where 19% of the 186 men, 7% of the 100 women and 15% of the entire Tokyo group had pro fights on their resume.
Nearly all of the prizefighters in the Tokyo field had minimal pro experience, with 23 of the 43 showing fewer than three recorded pro bouts and seven made pro debuts in the year long pandemic inspired delay.