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Rio 2016 IBF warn champions over participation

The International Boxing Federation (IBF) have warned their champions they will be stripped of their belts should they choose to fight at Rio 2016.

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The International Boxing Federation (IBF) have warned its champions they will be stripped of their belts should they choose to fight at Rio 2016.

Professional boxers were given the green light to compete at the Olympics earlier this month for the first time, the Games normally limited to amateur fighters. 

An International Boxing Association vote saw 84 of the 88 member federations back the rule change, but the move has brought some criticism – the British Boxing Board of Control branding the decision as "dangerous".

And the IBF have echoed those sentiments, saying the decision presents "an inherent risk" with professional competing against amateurs.

As a result, the participation of any IBF ranked fighter in Rio will be considered "unsportsmanlike behaviour due to the potential risks involved" and they will be removed from the rankings for a year, while any champion will have their title removed.

"Making this decision was not difficult for us," said IBF president Daryl Peoples

"We felt it was important for the IBF to get involved and take a stance against professional boxers competing against amateurs due to safety concerns as part of our commitment to this sport is to promote the health and well-being of the boxers."

Anthony Joshua is the current IBF heavyweight champion, while Gennady Golovkin holds the middleweight belt.

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