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Michael Conlan launches foul-mouthed tirade on AIBA after Rio defeat

Published 16/08/2016

Michael Conlan was left fuming after his elimination from the Rio Olympics.
Michael Conlan was left fuming after his elimination from the Rio Olympics.

Michael Conlan departed the Rio Olympics with a foul-mouthed tirade after finding himself on the wrong end of a controversial unanimous decision against Russia's Vladimir Nikitin in their bantamweight quarter-final on Tuesday.

Ireland's reigning world champion could not hide his anger when the three judges sided with his opponent after three fast and furious rounds, leaving his dream of building on his bronze medal at London 2012 in tatters.

Conlan fired expletives in a post-fight interview with RTE before expanding on feelings to media in the press mixed zone, where he vowed never to box in an AIBA-sanctioned competition again.

Conlan said: "My little dream has been ruined. I will never box in an AIBA competition again - I feel they are one of the most corrupt organisations in the world.

"If you have watched these Olympic Games and seen some of the decisions, Olympic boxing is dead. It's whoever pays the most money - whoever has the most, wins.

"One thing I can say for sure is I will never box in an AIBA competition again as they are rotten to the core.

"If they offered me five million to box in APB (AIBA's professional arm), I'd tell them, 'you probably got that for me losing'. I will not box for them again."

Conlan was the last Irish boxer standing in the competition after shock early defeats for Paddy Barnes and Katie Taylor, and was expected to move through to the medal rounds again.

But the Russian caught the eye of the judges in a ferocious first three minutes which, in truth, it appeared Conlan may have shaded.

The Irishman had a better second, after which he dragged the scores level, but Nikitin got the verdict after smothering much of Conlan's cleaner work and turning the last round into a brawl.

Conlan shook his head and waved his arms in frustration when the verdict was announced, while a section of the crowd including his Irish team-mates jeered.

He directed another tirade towards the judges as he passed them on his way out of the ring, before an RTE microphone caught the sharp end of his true feelings.

The 24-year-old said: "AIBA are cheats. They're f*****g cheats. That's me - I'll never box for AIBA again.

"They're cheating b******s, they're paying everybody. I don't give a f*** that I'm cursing on TV.

"I was here to win Olympic gold. My dream's been shattered now. But you know what? I've a big career ahead of me.

"These [unintelligible] - they're known for being cheats, and they'll always be cheats. Amateur boxing stinks, from the core right to the top."

The controversy over the verdict follows a highly contentious decision in the men's heavyweight final on Monday night, when another Russian, Evgeny Tishchenko, was awarded a unanimous win over Kazakhstan's Vasiliy Levit to a chorus of boos.

In a statement, the Olympic Council of Ireland said: "While we understand and share Michael's disappointment with the decision today, the OCI does not condone his comments or conduct. We will evaluate internally before taking any action on today's events."

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