Spurred on by the success of Oscar-winning movie Million Dollar Baby, women's boxing may be included as an Olympic event for the first time in Beijing 2008, say the International Boxing Association and officials from the Chinese boxing federation. 'We have had detailed discussions with the International Olympic Committee on this matter and we are hopeful women will be boxing at the 2008 games,' said Cedric Rigoli, an association spokesman, speaking from Lausanne in Switzerland. The IOC has requested additional information on how the women's sport would be inducted into the games, he said, adding the committee would be making a final decision on the matter at the end of next month. A representative of the Chinese boxing federation said this week that IOC president Jacques Rogge had pledged his support for the bid. 'The IOC and the association have agreed in principle to admit women's boxing in the next Olympiad,' Shen Zhigang, vice-director of the Chinese boxing federation, said. The sport has gained in popularity around the world recently, promoted partly by Clint Eastwood's movie and the high profile of female fighters like Laila Ali, daughter of former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. The association says it now has affiliate national women's boxing associations in 113 countries, including China, which has about 200 registered boxers. Sources say the IOC is likely to support the introduction of women boxers because it is keen to promote gender equality in sport and wants to increase the number of female participants at the summer and winter games. But the thorny issue still to be resolved is whose slots the female boxers would take, as the IOC is determined to limit the summer games to its current level of 10,500 competitors. While the details still have to be worked out, sources say the association is looking at the option of omitting two weights in men's boxing and including four weights for women.