Professionals and Olympic Boxing

Professionals and Olympic Boxing

The 2020 Tokyo olympics showcase some great amateur talents in the boxing ring. However, this year is a little different in that over 40 participants are professional fighters. It should be noted that these professionals for the most part have very little experience fight wise. Many have under 5 professional fights. The 2016 olympics were the first time professionals could compete and only three did so. Let’s take a look at why would a professional fight in the olympics and why not, how the fights differ between the two, and how will it progress going

As mentioned above, until recent times a professional fighter could not enter the olympics but it was voted by almost unanimous decision to allow it in 2016. I think the main reason many do not participate is the money. A pro fighter can make millions in one fight and also risk injury fighting at the olympics. Another downfall is the rules are different in the olympics and this leads to different judging as well. Judging is all over the place and it is hard to have unity in how to score a fight when each country has their own views of how a fight is being scored. The olympics are also known to heavily protect a fighter. An example of this was this past weekend when a fighter was stunned and wobbled from a punch but not knocked down, the fight was stopped anyway. 

There is a good side to this, as a young professional could gain experience and knowledge of the sport while trying to win gold for his country. Many are unknown at this stage in their careers and fighting at the olympics could help them get exposure. It could also help expand their social media following and provide opportunity for more sponsorships. It truly does depend what the fighters goals are and if the Olympic Games make sense for them to

Some felt allowing professionals into the Olympics wild tarnish it but that has not been the case. Many have struggled due to differences in the sport at the olympic level. A large difference is a bout lasts only three rounds. Some pro fighters take this long to get in the groove and by then the match is over. The reason for shorter fights is the number of times they could fight over a 16 day period. Nonetheless it’s a much different fight. Power shots aren’t being scored as highly either, unless you get a knockout. The amateur/Olympic values volume punching at a much higher standard. Another change is there are five judges from all over the world. These judges are purely subjective and could rate the work of a boxer quite differently. You could see a fighter get a knockout and still lose a three round bout.  These aspects really change the game and a sometimes dominate favorite by being a pro will lose these short round fights. It’s all about can a fighter change and adapt when they change the script.

As time goes on, we think more and more professionals will take a shot at gold. However, will we truly see a top level pro fight in the olympics, I think not. The risk of injury and chance to ruin a career they make millions in is just too great. To this point the country with the most medals is the United States with 114, Cuba with 73, and Great Britain with 56. Its truly unique to watch amateur boxing in the olympics, it’s like an art form. You have to be more technical and score points to win the judges favor. It’s not the pure brawling for the most part that you would see in a professional bout with millions on the line. Almost every other sport in the olympics includes professional athletes but boxing seems to be the one that struggles to bring in the best in the world and for good reason. The question will always remain; go for gold or go for millions.

Have you been watching Olympic Boxing this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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