Boxing

'I wouldn't pay AIBA fine if it was £1', insists a defiant Michael Conlan

Michael Conlan makes his feelings known to the ringside judges after his controversial exit from the Olympic Games in August
Neil Loughran

MICHAEL CONLAN has sent a defiant message to amateur boxing’s world governing body after he was fined almost £8,000 for his Olympic Games outburst, blasting: “I wouldn’t pay it if it was £1”.

In the aftermath of his controversial quarter-final defeat to Russia Vladimir Nikitin, the west Belfast switch-hitter didn’t hold back in a ringside TV interview, claiming the International Boxing Association (AIBA) was “known for being cheats”.

"Amateur boxing stinks, from the core to the top,” he said live on RTÉ after the August 16 fight.

“Today just showed how corrupt this organisation is.”

In a letter, AIBA notified Conlan’s solicitor Pádraig Ó Muirigh that the 25-year-old will have to pay 10,000 Swiss Francs (£7,873) if he “requests to become subject to AIBA jurisdiction or seeks to become a coach or member of any national federation”.

Therefore, that fine would come into play if Conlan decided to return to the amateur game in any capacity in the future. Having since turned over to the professional ranks with American promoters Top Rank, any move into coaching is a long way away, while he laughed off the suggestion that he could don the amateur vest again at Tokyo 2020 under new Olympic guidelines.

But Conlan insists that, no matter what happens down the line, he won’t be handing over any money to AIBA: “If the fine was £10, I still wouldn’t pay it and that’s the truth - I wouldn’t pay it if it was £1,” he said.

“It’s the principle of the whole thing - I know I was right and what I said was right. Maybe the fact I said it so publicly has shamed them, but they shamed me in that ring. They provoked that reaction so I believe I was in the right and that everything I did was right.

“When it comes to that stage, we’ll come to that stage, but it’s not going to happen. By the time I want to be a coach or whatever, those people won’t be in charge. I don’t know why they want to continue this. The fact they’ve fined me, it doesn’t bother me at all because until the day I die, I’ll never pay that fine.”

That details of the sanction were released to the public has annoyed Conlan more than the fine itself, as he had been prepared to let the issue lie.

“Why has it been leaked? Who’s leaked it? It doesn’t bother me because I’m not going to be paying anything and I wasn’t going to be paying anything anyway,” he added.

“I think they’re very silly releasing it because it’s just brought more bad publicity towards AIBA. I was putting it to bed, I wasn’t going to say any more about it because I don’t want to talk about it any more. But I’m not losing any sleep over it - I think it’s stupid more than anything.”

In the days following Conlan’s Olympic exit, six judges were sent home from the Games after AIBA reviewed the footage from contentious bouts. And in October, it was revealed they had since sidelined all 36 of the referees and judges who officiated in Rio pending an investigation.

AIBA also confirmed earlier this month that the scores of all five judges will be used across all grades next year. Previously, five judges scored fights, but only three scores were used.

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