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Controversial Omagh boxing judge steps down from Rio bouts

By Declan Bogue

Published 20/08/2016

Michael Gallagher: his family say he is still out in Brazil. Photo: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Michael Gallagher: his family say he is still out in Brazil. Photo: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

The family of Omagh boxing judge Michael Gallagher, who was caught up in an Olympic scoring controversy, has confirmed that he will not be officiating any more boxing matches in Rio.

A total of six judges have been "sent home" from the Olympic Games. However, Gallagher's daughter, Catherine, confirmed that her father was still out in Brazil.

While the family said they were making no public statement at this time, Catherine was adamant that Michael had no case to answer and that he was innocent of any suspicions, saying the past week had placed them all under huge stress.

The decision follows a "performance review" looking into questionable refereeing decisions in the tournament, with Michael Conlan delivering some forthright criticism in the wake of his defeat earlier this week to Russian Vladimir Nikitin.

While official sources said they were not prepared to name the judges in that bout, Gallagher was one of the three judges who controversially deemed that Russia's Evgeny Tischenko beat Kazakhstan's Vassily Levit in the heavyweight final.

Such was the surprise at that result that the crowd - which was largely Brazilian - booed the decision roundly.

Another of the judges from that match, Algeria's Kheidra Sidi Yakoub, is widely believed to have been stood down.

Tyrone judge Gallagher, who has twice been named as AIBA's referee and judge of the year, in 2011 and 2012, has not officiated at the tournament since Monday night. He also claimed a further title of World Amateur Boxing referee of the year in 2012.

This week, world boxing chiefs at the AIBA announced in a statement that after a further review they had "decided to reassign immediately the current AIBA executive director to a new role within the organisation".

They went on: "Consequently, the operational responsibilities for the remainder of the Olympic boxing competition will now fall under the responsibilities of the most senior vice president of the AIBA executive board, Mr Franco Falcinelli, president of the European Boxing Confederation".

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