LAUSANNE: Male boxers will compete without headguards in the 2016 Rio Olympics after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) endorsed the decision of the sport’s amateur governing body.
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) changed the rules for amateur fighters back in 2013, and now boxers will fight without headgear at the Games for the first time since 1984.
The rule change does not apply to female fighters, who will continue to use head protection.
The AIBA changed the rules for the 2013 world championships in Almaty, and extensive research has shown a drop of 43 percent in the amount of concussions suffered in major bouts since.
“We are profoundly pleased that there will be no headguard for male boxers in Rio. It is something that has been expected by our boxers and by the boxing fans the world over,” said AIBA president Dr Ching-Kuo Wu.
“Since our very first conversations with athletes and medical staff on the issue, we have been investigating the possibility of removing headguards.
“Both our statistical research, and the feedback from boxers and coaches, shows us that this is the best outcome for our sport.”
This may not be the only significant change for Olympic boxing this year, with the possibility that professional fighters will be allowed to compete for the first time.
Earlier on Wednesday Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao said that Wu had “personally invited” him to compete in Rio.