KARACHI - British boxer Amir Khan Wednesday hailed the decision to allow professional boxers at the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, saying he would love to represent the country of his parents' birth, Pakistan.

Khan, born and raised in Bolton, England, won a silver medal in the lightweight category of the 2004 Athens Olympics before turning professional a year later.

But Wednesday's ruling by boxing's governing body at an extraordinary congress in Lausanne, Switzerland that professional boxers can compete at the upcoming Olympic Games in Brazil, rekindled Amir's dreams of glory.

"It's a decision which I welcome," Khan said at a press conference at a promotional event in Karachi. "It will help boxers and if I am permitted as per rules and from my promoter then I would love to compete for Pakistan."

His father Sajjad Khan hails from Matore village near Kahuta, home to Pakistan's nuclear facilities and close to the capital Islamabad. He migrated to Britain, where Khan was born in 1986.

Khan said he has roots in Pakistan and wants to serve the country. "I will be very happy if I can compete in Olympics. I want to serve Pakistan," said Khan, who has been scouting boxing talent in the country for the last few years.

But Khan's younger brother Haroon's dreams of representing Pakistan in the 2012 London Olympics after being snubbed at home were blocked by boxing's governing body AIBA as he had represented Great Britain at junior level. Haroon had represented Pakistan in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India where he won a bronze medal in flyweight event. Seven Pakistani boxers will compete in the last qualifying rounds in Baku, Azerbaijan, but they stand little chance of reaching the Rio Games. Pakistan's last appearance in the boxing event came at the Athens Games in 2004.

Pakistan Boxing Federation secretary Iqbal Hussain said he was thrilled at the prospect of Amir representing the country. "I have to check the rules whether Amir can compete or not but it would be a huge boost for us if it happens because he is our hero," Hussain told AFP. Meeting at an extraordinary congress in Lausanne, Switzerland, 95% of the AIBA delegates voted in favour of the controversial move, an AIBA statement said.

"This is a momentous occasion for AIBA, for Olympic Boxing, and for our sport as a whole, and represents another great leap forward in the evolution of boxing," AIBA chief Wu Ching-Kuo said. "We have embraced reform at AIBA over the past decade, making historic changes that have shaped the present health of boxing and precipitated its ongoing surge in popularity worldwide." The revolutionary decision is however unlikely to see boxing's biggest names enter the Olympic ring in Rio. For most professionals, like former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, it is already too late to take part in a qualifying contest. The last tournament is in Venezuela in July.

There is a rich history of fighters making their name at the Olympics before moving on to have groundbreaking professional careers, including Muhammad Ali, who won gold at the Romes Games in 1960, when he was still known by his birth name, Cassius Clay.

But letting those who have already turned professional fight at the Games has faced some resistance, including from former gold medallist and world heavyweight title holder Lennox Lewis, who said it would be "preposterous" to let professionals into the same ring as amateurs.

AIBA president Wu has aggressively supported the move, arguing that the distinction between amateurs and professionals had become increasingly arbitrary.

The admission of professional basketball to the Olympics in time for the 1992 Games in Barcelona has helped make men's basketball one of the most hotly-anticipated events of the Games.

But AIBA will have to answer questions about its dope testing policy in order to satisfy the International Olympic Committee, which is embroiled in a series of doping scandals and is battling to keep drug cheats out of the Rio Games.

A World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report found that the AIBA has not carried out any out-of-competition tests in the year ahead of Rio and hardly any in the past three years, the British magazine Private Eye reported.  The report was quoted as saying that the AIBA's actions fell "considerably short" of WADA's requirements.

AIBA had started working on the implementation of the recommendations, the WADA spokesman added. Boxing has undergone major changes in recent years. Women were allowed into Olympic competition in 2012 and headguards will no longer be compulsory from Rio