"It all stinks!" - Heartbroken Michael Conlan questions boxing's place in the next Olympics

He discusses his sense of injustice exclusively with Off The Ball's Ger Gilroy on Wednesday night

BY Raf Diallo 23:18 Wednesday 17 August 2016, 23:18 17 Aug 2016

Ireland's Michael Conlan following his defeat to Vladimir Nikitin of Russia ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Less than 48 hours on from Michael Conlan's controversial elimination from Rio 2016, the sense of heartbreak and injustice for the Irish boxer remains palpable.

The 2015 world champion joined Off The Ball's Ger Gilroy to talk about the fallout from a fight which prevented him from winning, as judges - inexplicably in pretty much everyone else's eyes - awarded victory to Vladimir Nikitin of Russia.

"I'm still heartbroken. It's done now. I've moved on. I've seen apparently the Russian is probably out of the semi-final because of the damage I've caused him," he told Ger.

"I hope it's not true and I hope he's still in the semi-final but I don't think he deserves to be there anyway."

Conlan continued: "He's a tough fighter but I'm devastated, I'm heartbroken. He's took my dream and not even tried to go on and emulate my dream and get that gold medal."

He added that "it all stinks" regarding everything that happened during and after the fight.

"It stinks. I believe the whole system of amateur boxing at the minute is - Olympic boxing especially - is stinking. I think the IOC need to have a look at boxing in the Olympics and wonder should it even be in Tokyo. If I was a young boxer watching the Olympics, I don't think I'd want to be there." 

He added that he has always had an "inkling that there is corruption in boxing".

"Before the Games, we got the bad feeling that with an ex-Irish referee, who was part of AIBA, and came out and outed them, that they were going to come down hard on us for him coming out and having his say."

He also hopes that his angry reaction after the fight "opens the eyes of the world" to amateur boxing's scoring system for athletes in the future.

"I hope I can change people's opinions and open their eyes to corruption," he said.

On the fight itself, he was unhappy with the way the referee handled the fight.

"The referee was terrible. Before the fight even started, she said to me 'Keep your head up' and I hadn't even moved. I was only stepping into the ring and she comes over and checks my gloves and my gumshield and she says 'Keep your head up'. Why would you say 'Keep your head up' when I haven't even started boxing. Throughout the fight, she was always on me, saying to me 'Keep your head up, Conlan, keep your head up... one more and I'm going to warn you'. So you were on thin ice the whole time. And then when [Nikitin] was cut, she was cleaning me, instead of cleaning him. I just didn't understand it." 

Meanwhile, Conlan also confirmed that he is sending his Olympic vest to the Dublin boy who wrote him a letter and offered him his school medal.

Listen to the full interview on the podcast player:


Judge orders two American swimmers to stay in Brazil to seek clarity on armed robbery allegations

17:15 Wednesday 17 August 2016 0 Minute Read

Ronan O'Gara discusses the possibility of taking his coaching career back to Ireland one day

20:28 Thursday 11 August 2016 0 Minute Read

As it happened: Rio 2016 - Day 10

22:35 Monday 15 August 2016 0 Minute Read

Martin O'Neill gets behind Dundalk for their Champions League bid

14:26 Monday 15 August 2016 0 Minute Read
Off The Ball


The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week