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Tyson Fury: Michael Conlan has been robbed of a gold

Fuming Michael can make a great pro, says Fury

By David Kelly

World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has come out blasting after Michael Conlan was robbed of an Olympic medal in Rio.

Bantamweight Conlan’s defeat at the hands of Russian Vladimir Nikitin brought a hail of criticism raining down on the World governing body AIBA and their judges who somehow decided the Belfast man had lost a bout which everyone else believed he clearly won.

The quarter-final loss means World amateur champion Conlan will leave the Games with his dream of a gold medal shattered but Fury believes the future is bright for the 24-year-old.

“I was doing an interview about three hours before the fight and in it I was saying how corrupt amateur boxing is and then we saw Michael Conlan suffering a disgraceful decision,” said Fury.

More: Decision was wrong... on so many levels

“I really believe that before they have the fights the medals have already been determined unless there’s a knockout of course and in amateur boxing you don’t get too many knockouts because of the big gloves and even more so at the lighter weights.

“But Michael has a very promising career as a professional and I wouldn’t mind managing him myself as it happens!”

Furious Conlan has made it clear he will never box amateur again.

More: Fists of fury as our Michael beats his opponent... but not the judges

Indeed, Conlan called AIBA "one of the most corrupt organisations in the world" after losing a unanimous decision to the Russian, just 24 hours after the heavyweight final when another Russian, Evgeny Tishchenko, was incredibly given the verdict over Kazakhstan's Vassiliy Levit.

"I am absolutely devastated; my Olympic dream was robbed from me," said Conlan, whose dad John was in his corner.

"F****** cheats. That's me, I'll never box for AIBA again, they're cheating b******s, they're paying everybody. I have a big career ahead of me. These ones are known for being cheats, they have always been cheats. Amateur boxing stinks from the core right to the top.

"My boxing dream has been ruined and I will never box in an AIBA competition again because, I feel, they are one of the most corrupt organisations in the world.

"Whoever pays the most money wins."

While Fury expects Conlan to embark on a highly successful professional career, the heavyweight champion did suggest that this defeat will have hit the Belfast man in the pocket.

"It's all so political and it's cost Michael a fortune in signing-on fees and early purses and whatever sponsorship he may have been able to get as an Olympic gold medallist," added Fury.

"I couldn't put a figure on it but his earning potential at the start of his career has been hit by this decision. Not only have they hurt Michael but they have robbed Ireland of a gold medal.

"I feel really gutted for him but out of every negative situation there are positives and I should know that because I've had my own ups and downs and... I wouldn't be here without taking the positives.

"I've seen a lot of robberies in these championships. It's only when it's someone you know or from your country that it becomes a big deal but other boxers have suffered as well."

Meanwhile, Conlan dismissed any suggestion there is a problem with Irish boxing despite the lack of medals from Rio.

"Some people are saying it's been a horrendous week for Irish boxing, but I think it has been a horrendous week of scoring for Irish boxing," he added.

"We haven't had any favours, we must not have paid enough money to the AIBA this time.

"I watched the heavyweight final after what happened to Katie (Taylor), but I never thought it would happen to me. AIBA are killing people's lifelong work. One thing is for sure, I will not box in AIBA competition again, even if they offered five million."

In a statement, the AIBA responded to Conlan, saying: "These statements are foundless but he's free to have his opinion."

Once he returns from Rio, Conlan will then start weighing up his move into the professional ranks, joining brother Jamie who is the reigning Commonwealth super-flyweight champion with World title aspirations.

Belfast Telegraph

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