Olympics boxing: More women wanted for Rio 2016

By Matt SlaterBBC sports news reporter
Nicola Adams of Great Britain
Nicola Adams of the Great Britain women's boxing team

Olympic boxing at the 2016 Games in Rio could see more female fighters, no head guards and a pro-style scoring system.

The sport's governing body, wants to "bridge the gap" between the amateur and professional ranks, whilst maintaining its Olympic status.

International Boxing Association (AIBA) president Dr Ching-Kuo "CK" Wu said of the women's weight divisions: "Three is certainly not enough.

"We have 10 categories [for men], so why only three for women?"

And he added: "It is because of [the International Olympic Committee's] quota. They have a limit of 10,600 athletes in total, and just 286 boxers.

"So we reduced the men's categories by one to make room for 36 women. It is a step in the right direction.

"AIBA is trying its best. Talk to the IOC!"

Women's boxing is not the only innovation AIBA has brought in for London - there is also a new scoring system.

Five judges score each round independently, and then a computer selects the three "similar scores" on the cards. Each boxer is given the average of his or her similar scores.

If there are no scores clustered together, the computer drops the highest and lowest, and records the average of the three remaining scores.

The other major change is that these scores are only updated at the end of each round.

"It's very simple and absolutely impossible to manipulate," said Wu, while admitting the changes could have been communicated better.

Anthony Ogogo
Having no head guards is one change proposed by the AIBA for Rio 2016

But this could be a brief chapter in Olympic history, as Wu wants to introduce the 10-point scoring used in professional boxing and AIBA's hybrid competition, the World Series of Boxing (WSB).

"You are not only scoring punches, you are assessing the shape of the fight, the style. The judges have more to consider," he said.

"But we will wait until all our judges reach that standard."

And with AIBA-sanctioned boxers already competing without head guards and vests, there is also no secret about Wu's desire to do away with these historic elements of the amateur game.

"Yes, this is the direction we're going," he said.

With 13 gold medals up for the grabs, London 2012's Olympic boxing tournament is being staged at ExCeL. The finals take place 9-12 August.