Rio Olympics

Michael Conlan seething after shock decision ends Rio bid

 Picture by PA
Andy Watters

IRELAND'S last boxing hope, Michael Conlan, lost an inexplicable points decision against Russia's Vladimir Nikitin in the bantamweight quarter-finals.

The Belfast man felt afterwards that he had been robbed and it was hard to disagree with him after he out-boxed the one-dimensional Russian over all three rounds in Rio.

Conlan began the first with snappy one twos and kept come-ahead brawler Nikitin at distance landing shots of both hands as he tried to come in. Somehow the judges scored the round 10-9 against him.

Stung by that he met Nikitin in the centre of the ring in the second and traded blows in a furious war that suited his opponent. Despite that, he took the round 10-9 and so the contest was level going into the last.

Again Conlan looked the superior boxer and peppered Nikitin whose gameplan was to burrow in and land from close range. He had only occasional successes but the judges awarded him a unanimous decision.

Understandably Conlan was furious and let rip with an expletive-laden rant at ringside when interviewed by RTE.

"Amateur boxing stinks from the core right to the top" he added.

"It was like Katie (Taylor) yesterday. No way did she lose that fight, it was close but she didn't lose.

"Today I thought I boxed the ears of him in first round and the score went against me so I had to go to his fight which I did. I out-fought him.

"It's a shambles, I'm gutted from the bottom of my heart. I wanted to go back to Ireland with a gold medal now I'm going back like a loser. I'm not a loser, I'm a winner..."

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Rio Olympics