Ukraine's undisputed world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko's hopes of competing in the 2016 Olympics have been dealt a blow after he failed to get permission to take part in his country's qualifying competition.
The executive board of the Ukrainian Boxing Federation has never given permission to either Klitschko or his older brother, Vitali, to take part in qualifying for the Games in Rio de Janeiro, meaning he has missed the deadline, according to the R-Sport news agency.
"The possibility of the participation of the Klitschko brothers in Olympic qualifying as professionals is something that has never been examined," Ukraine's Boxing Federation press service stated. That comes as a blow to the 38-year-old, who had earlier been quoted as saying: "I hope that international amateur boxing's ruling body will be kind to me, and that I will have enough health and motivation to perform at the Olympics in two years' time." Klitschko, who won gold at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, said he spoke to his former coach Emanuel Steward during the London Games and he had encouraged him to box in Rio.
Steward died in October 2012.
"It was our joint dream with Emanuel," Klitschko said, "and I hope I will be able to fulfil it."