David Haye criticises plans to allow professional boxers to compete in the Olympics

The former world heavyweight champion warned it would put fighters' health and safety at serious risk

BY Cian Roche 16:21 Wednesday 23 March 2016, 16:21 23 Mar 2016

Image: Adam Davy / PA Wire/Press Association Images

David Haye has branded plans to allow professional boxers to compete at the Olympics as "insane" and warned that the move would pose a serious threat to the health and safety of the fighters.

AIBA president Ching-Kuo Wu told Press Association Sport that the sport's world governing body intends to open up its Rio 2016 qualifying process to full-time professional boxers but the plans have been met with criticism from figures around the world of boxing.

"You get these young kids who are training their whole life to go to the Olympics," Haye told the SportsPro Live conference at Wembley.

"To go there and not fight someone else like them but fight someone who has might won an Olympics before, been a world champion and is just coming back to fight some kids, I think is insane.

"I think you're going to get some young kids hurt and you're definitely going to stunt the growth of these young kids.

"Some kids may be able to handle it, but a lot of them won't. How would you feel if your 17-year-old son was playing on a rugby team and all of a sudden he was playing Harlequins? The kid would get absolutely mullered, completely smashed to bits.

"Then they would think 'rugby's not for me'. They'll never become a professional because they've been so badly injured by these big, strong guys."

The former world heavyweight champion questioned the motive behind the decision and claims the AIBA's desire to monetise their product is the reasoning behind the move.

Wladimir Klitschko has already expressed an interest in fighting at the Rio Olympic Games to secure a second Olympic gold should his heavyweight title bout against Tyson Fury allow it. The plans will go before AIBA's organisation Extraordinary Congress in May.

"To go back from (making it as a professional), it just seems like a cheat," Haye said of the move.

"All it's going to take is one 17-year-old kid from Sweden fighting an American 30-year-old current world champion, puts the poor kid into a coma and then everyone will go 'why did you allow that to happen?'

"Obviously it is a contact sport so why would you allow that 17-year-old boy to fight this 30-year-old man who has already won the Olympics 10 years ago? What's the point?"

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