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Rio Olympics: Michael Conlan fight referee Kheira Sidi Yakoub sent home

By Sean McGoldrick

The referee in Michael Conlan's controversial Olympic defeat is understood to have been one of the six judges sent home from the Rio Games.

Sources within AIBA, the world governing body, confirmed that Algeria's Kheira Sidi Yakoub is one of the six officials who had been stood down after controversy erupted over two decisions involving Russian boxers.

There is also growing speculation in Rio that one of the other referees stood down is Irishman Michael Gallagher.

The Omagh native, who was twice named as AIBA's Referee and Judge of the Year, has not officiated at the tournament since Monday night.

He is one of the most respected officials in the game.

He was one of the three scoring judges - as was Sidi Yakoub - in the controversial heavyweight final in which Russia's Evgeny Tischenko was deemed to have beaten Vassiliy Levit of Kazakhstan.

In a radio interview Conlan had complained about the referee in his contest, saying: "Before the fight the referee said to me 'keep your head up'. Why would you say that even before the fight, just as I had stepped into the ring?"

"During the fight she was constantly on me saying 'keep your head up Conlan and one more I am going to warn you'.

"When he (opponent Vladimir Nikitin) was cut, she was cleaning me instead of cleaning him. I just didn't understand it.

"In the second round he was knackered and she was taking me over and cleaning me and then cleaning him, giving him extra time to get his breath back. To me he was gassing. Thinking back on it now, it is annoying."

Meanwhile, AIBA announced yesterday that they had reassigned French executive director Karim Bouzidi to a new role.

Franco Falcinelli, AIBA's most senior vice-president, will take over operational responsibilities for the Olympic competition.

"The latest decisions taken emphasised AIBA will not shy away from its responsibilities and will continue to ensure a level playing field and a fair and transparent sport," a statement said.

Source: Irish Independent


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