Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Olympics

Michael Conlan will be hit hard for his X-rated reaction

By Graham Luney

Insult has been added to injury for Michael Conlan, a proud man who is now being kicked while he's down.

Still seething with anger after watching his Olympic dream ripped away in heartbreaking fashion, Conlan has been dealt another body blow.

The Belfast fighter aimed a colourful verbal blast at the International Boxing Association (AIBA) after suffering a highly-controversial quarter-final loss to Vladimir Nikitin at the Rio Olympics.

Conlan couldn't keep a lid on his anger as he let rip at the judges and the AIBA - but now its President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu has threatened to hit the 24-year-old with disciplinary action.

More: Michael Conlan defeat: Shamed AIBA already in a deep hole but still they keep on digging

It's another slap in the face for the man who celebrated victories at the European, Commonwealth and World Championships but was denied his golden moment in Brazil.

Conlan always said he would strike gold in Rio but he now feels robbed and cheated and after his controversial loss to Nikitin he gave the judges a one-figured salute and made corruption allegations.

The AIBA has come out fighting, with Wu taking a swipe at Conlan, saying there was "nothing wrong" with a similarly contentious outcome which saw Russia's Evgeny Tishchenko defeat Kazakhstan's Vassiliy Levit.

Wu said: "(Tishchenko) never said anything. (Levit) never said anything. They all accept the result. But (Conlan), he immediately showed his finger to the referee-judges.

"The IOC says this is totally unacceptable. You cannot humiliate people. They are officials. He put himself in a difficult position, I can tell you. A lot of disciplinary action will follow. You should show proper behaviour.

"If you are not happy about the result, you cannot humiliate in public our referee-judges. That has already drawn a lot of people's attention who want to punish him, so we are going to have a disciplinary commission for the case."

The AIBA felt it had to threaten legal action to protect its integrity and that of Olympic boxing but the governing body did remove judges from bouts and "reassigned" one of its top executives who was in charge of helping run the Rio Olympic boxing.

Omagh official Michael Gallagher, who was one of the three judges who controversially deemed that Tischenko had won the heavyweight final, did not officiate at any further bouts.

Wu dismissed accusations of corruption in amateur boxing, saying: "People accusing AIBA of corruption, please give me the evidence.

"I have no mercy to those (corrupt) people. I hate manipulation, corruption. You will see how severe punishment I punch to those people. Really! People say corruption. What corruption?

"I have no salary. I am absolutely a volunteer. Everybody knows I'm only working for sport. I don't have an account, nothing. Even if people wanted to give me money, I have no account. I don't need money. I don't like it.

"Money can help you. Money can kill you if you don't handle it carefully. That's why from the first day I'm elected to the AIBA presidency, I said, 'I don't need a salary.'

"A lot of reform and changes happened because I hate corruption. I will immediately punish the people involved.

"Maybe (corruption) happened 10 years ago with the old administration but that is no more. During that time, I watched carefully, and that's why I already removed four vice presidents, now three secretary generals, six executive committee members.

"There is zero tolerance."

Conlan also blasted the AIBA following British boxer Joe Joyce's controversial defeat against Frenchman Tony Yoka.

Joyce was convinced he did enough to claim gold in the men's +91kg division but two of the three ringside judges favoured Yoka in a split decision which was greeted with loud booing by sections of the predominantly Brazilian crowd.

Conlan took to Twitter to say: "AIBA don't cheat... Said no one ever!!!! Hard luck big @JoeJoyce_1 your not the first and you'll not be the last!"

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph