Conlan declares Olympic boxing "dead"
Belfast bantamweight, Michael Conlan, declared Olympic boxing "dead" after a controversial defeat to Russian, Vladimir Nikitin, in Rio today.
Conlan's defeat means Ireland's boxers will return empty-handed from an Olympics for the first time since the '04 'Games in Athens. Clearly furious with a verdict widely considered dubious, Conlan declared of boxing's world governing body, the AIBA, "They're corrupt, simple as that."
Conlan was down on all three judges' cards despite looking, by far, the better boxer. He dominated round two, getting all three verdicts, but was left jumping around the Olympic ring in clear exasperation when the Russian's hand was raised after an admittedly close third.
Calling the judges "cheating b....rds" immediately after, Conlan said "My Olympic title was robbed from me there". The reigning World, European and Commonwealth champion added "I wasn't even breathing hard after the first round. It's been an horrendous week for Irish boxing, it's been an horrendous week of scoring for Irish boxing.
"We haven't got any favours, we're not winning anything."
Conlan intends to follow his brother, Jamie, into the professional ranks now, saying he would not fight again under AIBA rules even if offered five million euro."
All three Irish coaches were adamant that Conlan had won the fight comfortably, but concerns about the judging at these Olympics had been flagged from before the 'Games began. Head coach, Zaur Antia, described the decision as "terrible".
Eddie Bolger said it had been "bewildering" to discover that Conlan was behind after round one.
Asked if there was a need for reform in 'amateur' boxing, Bolger suggested that the time to do that had been before Rio, not after. "It's very sad for the Olympics" said Bolger.