Amongst the squadron of elite athletes striving to book their tickets to the Brazilian capital is rugged Romanian and 2011 World Boxing Championships bronze medalist Bogdan Juratoni, who has his sights firmly set on becoming the first ever APB World Champion in the middleweight category.
Juratoni, who also won silver in the 2013 European Boxing Championships in Minsk, said: “AIBA Pro Boxing PB is definitely a good thing. You can be professional at the same time as retaining your Olympic eligibility, so it’s a positive step for the sport.
“I’m ready to compete and my aim is to be the first middleweight World Champion in APB. I was at the London 2012 Olympic Games and it was an incredible experience. For that reason I want to go to Rio, and I believe that APB provides a great opportunity for me to qualify.”
Lining up alongside Juratoni in the competition is multi-decorated Turk Adem Kilicci. Kilicci has won a host of medals in international tournaments in a glittering boxing career, including the bronze medal in the 2007 World Boxing Championships and gold in the 2013 Mediterranean Games.
French idol and World Series of Boxing (WSB) veteran Michel ‘Le Cubain’ Tavares and Egyptian 2007 All-Africa Games bronze medalist Hosam Abdin are also in the middleweight mix, together with rangy Russian Artem Chebotarev who won the gold medal in the European Boxing Championships in 2010.
Completing the 75kg group are German WSB star Xhek Paskali, 2013 Summer Universiade gold medalist Dmytro Mytrofanov from Ukraine and London 2012 Olympian from Ecuador Marlo Delgado who concludes the pack of APB boxers eager to make their quest for qualification a successful one.