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Professional boxers set to compete at Olympics

Top professional boxers will become eligible to compete in this summer's Rio Olympics under radical new proposals being pushed through by the sport's world governing body, AIBA.

Anthony Joshua celebrates with his Gold medal in 2012. Credit: PA

Its president, Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, has indicated that the last remaining barriers preventing full-time professionals competing in the Games are set to be abolished within a matter of months.

In an interview with Press Association Sport, Wu said: "We want the best boxers to come to the Olympic Games. It is AIBA's 70th birthday, and we want something to change - not after four years, but now.

"It is an IOC policy to have the best athletes in the Games, and of the international federations, AIBA is probably the only one without professional athletes in the Olympics.

"We already have our own professionals, APB and WSB boxers, in the Games - [and] we will go further."

Pressed on whether the change could realistically be made in time to affect eligibility for the Rio Olympics this summer, Wu replied: "According to our statutes it is absolutely possible."

Nike cut ties with Pacquiao after homophobic slur

Sportswear giant Nike has severed ties with multi-weight world champion Manny Pacquiao following a homophobic slur made by the Filipino earlier this week.

Pacquiao described homosexuals as "worse than animals". Credit: PA

The 37-year-old, who takes on Tim Bradley in April in what is rumoured to be the final bout of an extraordinary professional career, provoked outrage when he described homosexuals as "worse than animals" in a television interview.

Pacquiao apologised for the comment on Facebook, saying he he was "not condemning LGBT", although he remained unequivocal in his stance against gay marriage.

His contrition has not pacified Nike, however, which has swiftly ended its relationship with Pacquiao, who prominently wore the company's logo on his trunks during his fights.

A Nike spokesperson said in a statement to Press Association Sport:

We find Manny Pacquiao's comments abhorrent. Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community. We no longer have a relationship with Manny Pacquiao.

– Nike spokesperson
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