IOC won't change boxing age limit to let Manny Pacquaio compete at Paris Olympics at age 45

AP , Sunday 18 Feb 2024

The International Olympic Committee will not change its rules to let boxing great Manny Pacquaio compete at the Paris Games aged five years beyond the entry limit.

Manny Pacquiao
The International Olympic Committee said on Sunday it will not change its rules to let 45-year-old Manny Pacquiao, right, of the Philippines compete at the Paris Games, aged five years beyond the entry limit. Photo: AFP

Pacquaio, who retired in 2021, wanted to box at age 45 in the Olympic tournament in Paris where medal bouts will be held in the Roland Garros tennis complex.

The IOC said Sunday it wrote to Olympic officials in Philippines explaining the age limit for boxers of 40 will be upheld. The IOC now oversees Olympic boxing after de-recognizing the International Boxing Association governing body.

The age limit for Olympic boxing was raised to 40 from 34 in 2013 — a move that would have let Pacquaio try to compete at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. He chose not to at the time when he was also elected to be a senator in his home country.

It is unclear if Pacquaio would have tried to earn a place at the Paris Olympics in one of two qualification tournaments that open later this month in Italy and in May in Thailand.

The Philippines Olympic body had talked of trying to get a so-called “universality” entry to the Paris Summer Games. These are effectively free passes to events given to countries that have few athletes at the Olympics and typically struggle to qualify on merit.

However, the IOC explained Sunday that the Philippines had been too successful to benefit from the scheme.

“Universality places are not allocated to (teams) with an average of more than eight athletes in individual sports/disciplines at the last two editions of the Olympic Games,” the IOC said. “This is the case for the Philippine Olympic Committee.”

Pacquaio ended his storied career in September 2021 at age 42 after 72 fights, winning 12 world titles at a record eight different weight divisions.

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