A final agreement has been signed by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) and the Venezuelan Boxing Federation (VBF) to confirm that the World Series of Boxing (WSB)/AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) Olympic Qualification Tournament will be held in Vargas from July 3 to 8.
AIBA executive director Karim Bouzidi and VBF President Fran Lopez penned the agreement at the international governing body’s headquarters in Olympic capital Lausanne.
Following a historic ruling, passed unanimously at AIBA’s Extraordinary Congress in Lausanne on June 1, National Federations will be able to register all non-AIBA professional boxers for the tournament according to the criteria for registration of professional boxers.
The competition will offer 26 quota places for this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
"We are very proud to host this tournament in Venezuela, a strong boxing nation with a big local fan base who will have an opportunity to witness a high-level boxing event for the first time in Latin America," said Lopez.
The decision to grant professionals the opportunity to compete at the Olympics has been heavily criticised, with possible safety risks due to mismatches between professional and less-experienced amateurs among the concerns.
The World Boxing Council (WBC) has warned that professional fighters ranked in the top 15 of its standings face a two-year ban if they compete at Rio 2016.
One fighter who could be threatened with a ban if he competes is Amir Khan, the WBC’s top-rated welterweight fighter, who has claimed he would like to compete for his native Pakistan at Rio 2016.
Khan, who won a silver medal for Team GB at Athens 2004, subsequently turned professional and has boxed for Britain ever since.
Manny Pacquiao had been billed as a potential superstar attraction at Rio 2016 but has decided to focus on his political career as an elected Senator in his native country, The Philippines.
The closing date for entries for the WSB/APB Olympic Qualification Tournament is June 23, when the names of boxers competing will be announced by AIBA.