Olympic rule change 'will ruin boxing', says Jeffries

Jony Jeffries won bronze at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 Credit: Paul Faith/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Former Sunderland boxer Tony Jeffries says the decision to allow professionals to fight in the Olympic Games will 'ruin amateur boxing'.

The sport's governing body, the International Boxing Association (AIBA), this week voted in favour of a rule change makingprofessional fighters eligible to compete in this summer's Olympics in Rio.

The proposed changes have been met with opposition from throughout the sport, with some fighters suggesting it could lead to dangerous mis-matches between established professionals and amateur boxers.

Jeffries, who won a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, has also spoken out against the new ruling and says it could deter parents from allowing children to enter the sport in the future.

Speaking from his gym in California, Jeffries told ITV Tyne Tees:

A big difference between amateur and professional boxing is the length of a fight.

Amateur bouts are usually spread three over rounds, with each one lasting three minutes. Professional bouts also contain three-minute rounds, but the fight can last for up to 12 rounds.