By Tom Degun

c k_wu_bulgaria_30-04-12April 30 - International Boxing Association (AIBA) President C K Wu has met with a high profile Bulgarian delegation, including President Rosen Plevneliev, in the country's capital Sofia to discuss the new AIBA Professional Boxing (APB) programme that will be launched next year.

APB is designed to help the sport of amateur boxing move towards professionalism and will feature both individual and team bouts at national, continental and world levels in arguably the AIBA's most ambitious project to date.

The competition will officially get underway in the latter part of 2013 and it follows the launch of the AIBA owned World Series of Boxing (WSB) competition, which was inaugurated in 2010 and sees boxers compete without head guards and vests, while being scored by three judges.

The meeting in Bulgaria saw Wu and AIBA vice-president Humbert Furgoni meet with the Bulgarian President as well as the Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, the Minister of Sports Svilen Neykov, the President of Bulgarian Boxing Federation Krassimir Ininski and the Bulgarian Olympic Committee (BOC) President Stefka Kostadinova.

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The Bulgarian delegation showed strong support for the visit of the AIBA President and vice-president as the Prime Minister, boxed in his youth, the Minister of Sport was a champion rower before training his wife to Olympic medals and the BOC President still holds the world record in women's high jump.

Wu explained that Bulgaria can play a major role in the development of the APB and that the programme would allow National Federations to play key roles in boxers' entire careers rather than leaving them with the sole option of turning professional.

It was concluded that Bulgaria has a vital role to play in the future of the sport with new cooperation agreed between AIBA and the Bulgarian Boxing Federation

It also means that there is a strong possibility in holding future major AIBA events in the country, including the World Championships.

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