Boxing

Amir Khan will not represent Pakistan at the Rio Olympics.

Amir Khan decides not to pursue representing Pakistan at Rio Olympics

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Football News
24/7

Amir Khan has decided not to pursue the chance to represent Pakistan at this summer's Rio Olympics, Press Association Sport understands.

Khan, who won a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Games, had said earlier this month that he would "love" the opportunity to represent the country of his parents' birth.

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But he has now acknowledged he will not be ready to seek a place in Rio via the final qualification tournament which is due to take place in Venezuela early next month.

Khan is still recovering from the brutal sixth round knock-out he suffered at the hands of Mexican Saul Alvarez in their WBC middleweight title fight in Las Vegas in May.

He had raised the possibility of returning to the Olympics after world governing body AIBA ratified the eligibility of professional boxers for the event at its extraordinary congress in Lausanne.

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Khan - who risked a two-year ban by the World Boxing Council had he made a return to the Games - is one of the few fully professional fighters to speak out in favour of the move.

The likes of Wladimir Klitschko and Manny Pacquiao, as well as 2012 gold medallists Vasyl Lomachenko and Zou Shiming, have all dismissed the opportunity to return in Rio.

And although AIBA are remaining tight-lipped on prospective entrants, it is looking increasingly likely their move to rush through the new eligibility criteria could end with an embarrassing failure to land any of the big professional names they crave.

To date Canada is the only nation to come out explicitly in favour of the move, with Boxing Canada president Pat Flacco - also an AIBA executive board member - confirming this week they will seek to fill their remaining quota with professional fighters.

Fiacco told the Regina Leader-Post: "We have a list of boxers that we're ready to nominate. We've been in discussions with them. July is going to come around the corner real quick and they have to be ready for that qualifying tournament.

"I've received a ton of emails from professional boxers since (AIBA) made this announcement."

AIBA boxers will continue to pursue their respective places in Rio at the world qualification event in Baku, Azerbaijan this week.

They include Pat McCormack and Josh Kelly, who will bid to take Great Britain's quota of qualified men's boxers to a full 10 when they compete at light-welterweight and welterweight respectively.

Great Britain flatly rejected a belated and seemingly publicity-driven inquiry from reigning British middleweight champion Chris Eubank Jr about pursuing qualification for Rio last week.

Safety fears have been raised over the prospect of seasoned professionals like Khan facing relative novices at the Games, but GB Chef de Mission Mark England said he would have no concerns in that increasingly unlikely eventuality.

Pointing at Khan's previous experience at the Games, England said: "I took Amir to Athens when he was 17 years old and he fought the European champion in the first round and the Olympic gold medallist in the final.

"It (the introduction of professionals) is a complex issue that we have debated long and hard around, and I think GB Boxing have got it spot on in terms of their comments around who may or may not make the team for Rio.

"I think it's an issue for Rob (McCracken, GB performance director) and the GB Boxing team and we have got every confidence in the ability of the team to do well."

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