Japan's Fair Trade Commission has asked the country's Amateur Boxing Federation to consider allowing retired professional boxers to compete in the Olympics.
People familiar with the matter say the antitrust watchdog visited the federation on Monday to inquire about a case involving former minimum-weight world champion Katsunari Takayama.
The 35-year-old boxer retired as a pro in April of last year aiming to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He has filed an appeal with the Japan Sports Arbitration Agency. The Amateur Boxing Federation previously dismissed his bid. The federation's rules bar retired professional boxers from registering as amateurs. This prevents them from taking part in Olympic qualifying matches.
The International Boxing Association has allowed professional boxers to compete in the Games since the 2016 Rio Olympics.
A panel of experts under the Fair Trade Commission said in a report this year that sports organizations could face antitrust problems by restricting the activities of member athletes.
Takayama says he believes Olympic events should decide the world's top athletes, regardless of status. He says many retired and active professionals are hoping to compete, and that he will continue his campaign.
The Japan Amateur Boxing Federation says it bars retired and active pros from joining because its purpose is to nurture young boxers in a way different from professionals. It says it will consult lawyers on how to respond to the Fair Trade Commission's inquiry.