By Tom Degun

World Series_of_Boxing_2012March 16 - The World Series of Boxing (WSB) have announced that the team finals and individual finals for season two of the competition have moved from Guizhou Province in China to the ExCeL in London, the venue for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The WSB is currently the only professional boxing tournament in the world that allows fighters to retain their Olympic eligibility and to qualify for the Olympic Games while it is owned by the International Boxing Association (AIBA).

The finals were moved from the University of Guizhou - where they were held last year for season one - to London after AIBA decided that staging the event in England and in the London 2012 venue would give it more exposure in the lead up to the Olympic Games.

The team finals will be held over two days from May 1 and 2 while the individual finals will be held on June 9, less than two months before the start of the Olympic boxing competition.

"With these WSB finals being the pinnacle of the season, we decided to bring this fantastic show to the city whose heart will be beating for boxing in just a couple of months' time," said AIBA President and WSB chairman C K Wu.

"Great Britain is one of the hubs of the sport and we are convinced that fans from all around the country will come to the ExCeL to witness the best Olympic boxers competing in a pro format."

The event will also see the unveiling of the new ground-breaking initiative, the AIBA Professional Boxing (APB) programme.

APB will be officially launched in 2013 and will feature both individual competition and a worldwide team competition.

Like the WSB, the new APB will allow competitors to retain their Olympic eligibility despite boxing professionally.

"In London, we will also be unveiling the latest plans with regards to AIBA Professional Boxing," said Wu.

"I truly believe this project is the most important revolutionary project in the history of the sport of boxing and AIBA."

APB could turn back decades of tradition where boxers turn professional after competing successfully at the Olympics.

Among those who have become professionals after winning Olympic gold medals is the most famous boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali, who won the light heavyweight gold medal at Rome in 1960 under the name of Cassius Clay.

Sugar Ray_Leonard_Montral_1976
Other notable names include George Foreman, who won the heavyweight gold medal at Mexico City in 1968 and Sugar Ray Leonard (pictured above right), winner of the light welterweight title at Montreal in 1976.

Lennox Lewis, fighting for Canada, won the super heavyweight gold medal at Seoul in 1988 before switching allegiance to Britain and becoming the country's greatest ever heavyweight.

The professional style competition means that there will be no use of head guards in all elite men competitions in AIBA Amateur, WSB and AIBA Professional Boxing programmes, while the current WSB scoring system with three judges is set to be used for all AIBA Amateur and Professional Boxing competitions.

However, head guards will be maintained for women, youth and junior categories.

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