May 3 - A British franchise will join the World Series of Boxing (WSB) as the format for the entire competition will be completely revised for the new season this autumn, it has been claimed by C K Wu (pictured left), President of the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
The WSB, which is owned by the AIBA, is the only professional boxing completion in the world that allows fighters to retain their Olympic eligibility and last night saw the climax of season two as Italian franchise Dolce & Gabbana Milano Thunder defeated Russia's Dynamo Moscow in the team final at ExCeL in London.
Wu revealed at a press conference at the event that season three, which is set to get underway at the end of the year, will see revolutionary changes made whereby instead of city franchises, there will be national franchises meaning that Milano Thunder will become Team Italy and Dynamo Moscow will become Team Russia.
But in a surprise announcement, Wu, who is also the chairman of WSB, said that Britain are set to join for season three as new franchise along with several other nations including Argentina, Ukraine and Bulgaria.
"Our plan for next season is to increase the size of the event to have another four teams involved so we are likely to have around 16 teams," explained Wu, who is also an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member.
"We will also be using the national names instead of the city names going forward to help spread the appeal of the event.
"It looks like the new teams that will be joining us will be Argentina, Ukraine and Bulgaria and Great Britain although we are still working out how season three will look."
The move would be a major turnaround after London were originally set to be one of the key WSB franchises for season one before pulling the plug on the idea due to financial concerns.
The move started a bitter row between the Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) and AIBA which culminated in former ABAE chief executive Paul King unsuccessfully attempting to dethrone Wu as AIBA President.
King's campaign ended in complete disaster and he was eventually forced to resign from the position.
King was replaced by Mark Abberley (pictured) who has managed to help mend the fractured relationship between his organisation and AIBA leading to the potential British franchise announcement from Wu.
"We now have a great relationship with England but the plan is to have English, Welsh and Scottish boxers competing together in one GB team for WSB," Wu said.
"We are in the process of finalising things and we will have a fruitful working relationship going forward."
Wu also explained that there will be huge benefits in joining the WSB as well as the organisation's new project AIBA Pro Boxing (APB), which will launch at the end of 2013, as they will offer a combine 66 spots at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
"For the Rio 2016 Olympics, there will be 56 quota places available from APB and 10 quota places available from WSB making a combined 66 places," he said.
"Therefore we are confident that many nations will want to be involved and we think Great Britain could be a strong partner to AIBA in this going forward."
But despite Wu's confidence, insidethegames understands that negotiations are far from complete on the subject and the prospect of a GB franchise materialising still remains some distance away.
However, AIBA are currently in negotiations with UK Sport and the British Amateur Boxing Association (BABA) about the potential franchise meaning that it does remain a real, if somewhat surprising possibility.
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