By Tom Degun

Anthony Joshua London 2012April 8 - The International Boxing Association (AIBA) have raised the age limit for men and women at the Olympic Games from 34 to 40-years-old.

The move came following ratification of the new AIBA Open Boxing (AOB) Competition Rules, which came into effect last month.

Rule 1.1.1. of the new AOB Competition Rules states that "men and women boxers between the ages of 19 to 40 are categorised as elite boxers" which means that it is the new age limit for the Olympic Games.

"As stated in point 1.1.1 of the AOB Competition Rules "men and women boxers between the ages of 19 to 40 are categorised as elite boxers", an AIBA spokesperson told insidethegames

"And since boxers at the Olympic Games are elite boxers only, the age limit at the Olympic Games is now 40."

It has been suggested that the move is designed to lure the likes of superstar professional fighters such as America's Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Mayweather Jr. is now 36 while Pacquiao is 34 but the new ruling would allow both to compete at Rio 2016 if they decided to sign up to AIBA Professional Boxing (APB).

APB will launch later this year and alongside the World Series of Boxing (WSB), it will be the only boxing competition that allows fighters to compete professionally and retain their Olympic eligibility.

Manny PacquiaoThe raising of the boxing age limit at the Olympic Games to 40 means the like of superstar Manny Pacquiao could compete at Rio 2016, although such a move is unlikely

It is part of AIBA's move towards professionalism with headguards no longer used in men's elite boxing, including at the Olympic Games, and a new scoring system which sees five judges around the ring but the scores of only three of them, which will be randomly drawn by a computer, taken into account.

Although it appears unlikely that Mayweather or Pacquiao will join the APB or compete at Rio 2016, AIBA's plans have caused huge concern within the World Boxing Council (WBC), widely considered the sport's leading professional organisation.

The WBC have complained to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over AIBA's increasing move away from amateurism and claimed in a statement that they are "committed to continue advising the boxing world and the world leaders of the sport about the danger to the sport of boxing that AIBA/WSB represents."

This is no major surprise because if AIBA's move towards professionalism is successful long-term, they would stop the world's top boxers going to the traditional professional ranks and control boxing at all levels.

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