Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Michael Conlan defeat: Decision was wrong... on so many levels

By Vincent Hogan

Published 17/08/2016

You got it wrong: Michael Conlan shows what he thinks of the judges' decision in Rio
You got it wrong: Michael Conlan shows what he thinks of the judges' decision in Rio
Michael John Conlan of Ireland during his fight with Vladimir Nikitin (not pictured) of Russia in the boxing Men's Bantam (56kg) Quarterfinal 1 on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Blood covered Russia's Vladimir Nikitin reacts to winning against Ireland's Michael John Conlan during the Men's Bantam (56kg) Quarterfinal 1 match at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Riocentro - Pavilion 6 in Rio de Janeiro on August 16, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - Ireland's Michael John Conlan (R) fights Russia's Vladimir Nikitin during the Men's Bantam (56kg) Quarterfinal 1 match at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Riocentro - Pavilion 6 in Rio de Janeiro on August 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Yuri CORTEZYURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Vladimir Nikitin of Russia is introduced to his fight with Michael John Conlan (not pictured) of Ireland in the boxing Men's Bantam (56kg) Quarterfinal 1 on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Vladimir Nikitin (R) of Russia fights Michael John Conlan of Ireland in the boxing Men's Bantam (56kg) Quarterfinal 1 on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Michael John Conlan (L) of Ireland fights Vladimir Nikitin of Russia in the boxing Men's Bantam (56kg) Quarterfinal 1 on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Vladimir Nikitin (R) of Russia fights Michael John Conlan of Ireland in the boxing Men's Bantam (56kg) Quarterfinal 1 on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Michael John Conlan (L) of Ireland fights Vladimir Nikitin of Russia in the boxing Men's Bantam (56kg) Quarterfinal 1 on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Vladimir Nikitin (L) of Russia throws a left on Michael John Conlan of Ireland in the boxing Men's Bantam (56kg) Quarterfinal 1 on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Vladimir Nikitin (R) of Russia fights Michael John Conlan of Ireland in the boxing Men's Bantam (56kg) Quarterfinal 1 on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Vladimir Nikitin (L) of Russia throws a left on Michael John Conlan of Ireland in the boxing Men's Bantam (56kg) Quarterfinal 1 on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Vladimir Nikitin (L) of Russia celebrates his victory over Michael John Conlan of Ireland in the boxing Men's Bantam (56kg) Quarterfinal 1 on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Michael John Conlan of Ireland jestures to the crowd after his defeat to Vladimir Nikitin (not pictured) of Russia in the boxing Men's Bantam (56kg) Quarterfinal 1 on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Vladimir Nikitin (L) of Russia throws a left on Michael John Conlan of Ireland in the boxing Men's Bantam (56kg) Quarterfinal 1 on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Vladimir Nikitin (L) of Russia celebrates his victory over Michael John Conlan of Ireland in the boxing Men's Bantam (56kg) Quarterfinal 1 on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Vladimir Nikitin of Russia celebrates his victory over Michael John Conlan (not pictured) of Ireland in the boxing Men's Bantam (56kg) Quarterfinal 1 on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Michael John Conlan of Ireland jestures to the crowd after his defeat to Vladimir Nikitin (not pictured) of Russia in the boxing Men's Bantam (56kg) Quarterfinal 1 on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Ireland's Michael John Conlan, bottom, gestures after losing a men's bantamweight 56-kg quarterfinals boxing match by a decision against Russia's Vladimir Nikitin at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Furious cries rang out from Riocentro Six as the Algerian referee kept Michael Conlan's hand down by his side.

The Russian corner looked momentarily startled as their boxer, Vladimir Nikitin, was declared winner.

It was a decision that seemed out of kilter with all the evidence from three rounds of boxing in which Conlan had looked the more accomplished fighter.

Concern about the probity of Olympic judging had been raised before these Games in an English newspaper - that debate reaching a new crescendo on Monday night with Russian heavyweight, Evgeny Tishchenko, inexplicably getting a verdict over a Kazakh boxer, Vassiliy Levit, having looked outclassed.

Now Belfast's Conlan - the reigning World, European and Commonwealth bantamweight champion - was gone too, meaning Ireland's Olympic boxing challenge had ended without a medal for the first time since Athens 2004.

If there had been some anger within the Irish camp over Katie Taylor's split-decision loss to Finland's Mira Potkonen on Monday, Conlan's defeat took that indignation to another level.

His father, John, interjected "shame on them, shame on them" as Michael articulated his frustration afterwards in the mixed zone. In the immediate aftermath, Michael himself had given the finger to ringside judges, labelling the governing AIBA "corrupt".

Last night, there was word of a movement growing against that body, with Irish, British, Canadian and American officials said to be meeting with a conviction that there has been something fundamentally amiss with the boxing judging at these Games. Before Rio, one Irish judge, Seamus Kelly, revealed that he'd been told to cheat at the Arab Games in Doha in 2011.

He said that, having raised the alarm to AIBA President, Dr CK Wui, in an email, nothing happened - and he had effectively been sidelined by the body.

In response, the AIBA claimed that Kelly's allegations were baseless", accusing the Irishman of "erratic behaviour".

A Canadian, who pulled out of officiating in Rio, cited the "blatant corruption" of the process as his reason for doing so.

In Riocentro Six yesterday, the rising decibels seemed to trumpet a consensus that Olympic boxing had some pretty grave questions to answer.

Belfast Telegraph

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph