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Feared potential Katie Taylor foe could instead face Kellie Harrington at Tokyo Olympics

IBF World super-featherweight champion Maiva Hamadouche has stated her intention to compete at Tokyo 2020.

Image: Canal

WHAT COULD BE construed as good news for Ireland’s leading professional boxer could transpire to be bad news for her successor in the amateur ranks.

Maiva Hamadouche, the ferocious-punching French professional super-featherweight, has stated her intention to participate at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

Hamadouche, a professional world champion whose record stands at 20-1 with 16 of her wins coming by stoppage, has long been touted as a future opponent for Katie Taylor a division above.

The Hauts-de-Seine resident, however, could instead face Ireland’s amateur world champion, Kellie Harrington, after confirming that she intends to campaign in the Dubliner’s 60kg weight class in Tokyo.

Hamadouche pushed Taylor’s mooted upcoming opponent, WBC world champion Delfine Persoon, all the way in a lightweight world-title encounter in 2015, suffering her sole loss on points before dropping down to super-feather and rattling off 11 consecutive victories, eight of them quick.

In her most recent outing as a professional, last December, she took just five rounds to get rid of Viviane Obenauf, who had previously taken Taylor the distance over six and sensationally stopped the Bray woman’s amateur rival, Natasha Jonas, last August.

Pro fighters were allowed to compete in the Olympics for the first time at Rio 2016 after amateur boxing’s governing body, AIBA, controversially approved a constitutional change just two months out from the Games.

Before this, under new rules introduced in 2013, professional boxers with fewer than 15 paid fights on their record able to go to the Olympics provided they signed a short-term contract committing themselves to Aiba’s professional arm, APB. These restrictions were lifted following the constitutional amendment in June of 2016.

Hamadouche IBF World super-featherweight champion Maiva Hamadouche.

At Rio, however, former professional world champs such as Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam and Amnat Ruenroeng failed to make a much-feared dent in the unpaid ranks’ global showpiece, with only one pro — Mathieu Bauderlique of France — medalling at the Games.

Fighters from the professional ranks still have to qualify for the Olympics the same way as their amateur counterparts. Hamadouche could begin that process as soon as the Women’s Elite World Championships in October, where she could cross paths with Harrington who is also aiming to seal a seat on the plane to the Far East.

The 29-year-old Frenchwoman has been a professional since 2013 when she beat Karina Kopinska inside two rounds on her debut. Kopinska would later face Katie Taylor on the Irish icon’s own professional bow, lasting one round longer.

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