Top Rank Promotion head Bob Arum said that he is supporting the International Boxing Federation (IBF) initiative of imposing heavy sanctions on its boxers who will compete in the Rio Olympics in August.
Citing safety concerns, the IBF announced on Monday that it would punish any of its titleholders or rated fighters with one-year suspension if they compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Besides suspension, the IBF said it would also strip any violator of his title.
“I’d like the proposition because pitting professional boxers against amateur boxers is totally nonsense and ridiculous,” Arum told The Manila Times in a phone interview on Tuesday. “Maybe they can allow professional fighters who only have five fights and not 20, but not this year.”
Arum said that the IBF is not the only boxing sanctioning body that opposes the decision of the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) to allow professional boxers to compete in the Olympics.
“IBF is not the first boxing to impose sanctions like that, the WBC [World Boxing Council] did already a month ago. I have no idea what’s the stand of the WBO (World Boxing Organization). But I think they are also against that AIBA move,” he added. “Olympics is only for amateur fighters.”
He also thanked Filipino promoters and fighters for not participating in the upcoming quadrennial meet, “Filipino boxers and promoters know how dangerous the sport is, and I’m thankful they agreed not to participate,” Arum said.
Jhun Agrabio, the trainer of newly crowned IBF world flyweight champion Johnriel Casimero, said that his ward is not interested in competing in Rio. “Johnriel is not interested because he doesn’t want to hurt young and inexperienced fighters,” he said.
“It doesn’t come to his mind that he will compete in the Olympics and even before, it wasn’t a priority because it is not really appropriate,” said Casimero’s Filipino promoter Sammy Gello-ani. “I fully support the IBF’s move to suspend any titleholder and world rated boxer if they compete in the Olympics.”
“Let’s just leave the Olympics to the amateur.”
So far, only two amateur Filipino boxers have qualified for the Olympics namely flyweight Rogen Ladon and lightweight Charly Suarez.