Wladimir Klitschko is not ruling out the possibility of returning to compete in the Olympic Games.
Klitschko, who won super-heavyweight gold in Atlanta in 1996, could take advantage of a new AIBA move to open up its eligibility criteria to all existing professionals.
The 39-year-old has long stated his desire to fight in the amateur code again before retirement and will press his case following his forthcoming world heavyweight title rematch with Tyson Fury.
Klitschko said: “I have always said that I would love to participate again in the Olympic Games but right now I’m only focusing on my rematch with Tyson Fury.”
Klitschko previously expressed his desire to try to qualify for London 2012 but was ruled out by a combination of the current AIBA rules and the reluctance of the Ukrainian Boxing Federation.
He would also need to persuade AIBA chiefs to lift the age limit for fighters under their jurisdiction. He will be 43 by the time of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, and AIBA’s upper limit currently stands at 40.
Klitschko is the highest-profile fighter to express an interest in taking advantage of the new ruling, which will be officially ratified by AIBA in May, enabling professionals to enter the final Rio 2016 qualifying tournament in Baku in June.
But others believe top professionals will be reluctant to commit to the Games for a mixture of reputational, licensing and financial issues.
British promoter Eddie Hearn said: “I think you might get some mid-level professionals having a crack at it but I don’t think you are going to get the elite guys.
“Sometimes that’s also the case with other sports – we’ve seen that tennis and football hasn’t always had the strongest representation in the Olympics, but I think it is a strange situation in boxing.
“There are questions over funding and sponsorship and although the sport is in a kind of transition at the moment, I think the two should stay as they are – boxing should be one of the few sports where you have amateur and pro separation.”
Scott Quigg, preparing for his world super-bantamweight title unification bout against Carl Frampton in Manchester on Saturday, said he disapproved of the idea.
Quigg said: “When you are an amateur you are learning and if you start mixing up with the professionals, I think it is a bad idea and it could be dangerous.
“The Olympic Games is the pinnacle of an amateur’s career so you have got to keep it separate. I was shocked when they said it could actually go ahead, and I hope they have another good think about it and make the right decision.”