Shortly before the news that multiple judges and referees at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics would be sent home after the International Boxing Association (AIBA) found evidence of rigged matches, Irish boxer Michael Conlan left the ring angrily, brandishing his middle fingers and declaring, “I’ve been robbed.”
Earlier this week, Irish bantamweight boxer Michael Conlan lost a controversial match against Russian boxer Vladimir Nikitin. Conlan was seen raising his middle finger in the directions of the Olympic judges that presided over the match. “My dream has been shattered. I’ve been robbed,” Conlan said immediately following the loss.
The National Post reported, “On Tuesday, Conlan, the bronze medallist from London, sounded off about the unanimous decision awarded to Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin in their 56-kg bout, saying, amongst other things: ‘I’ll not do another Olympics. I would advise anybody not to compete for AIBA… You see the decisions and you think boxing is dead.'”
Following his comments, Conlan took to Twitter and suggested that President Vladimir Putin of Russia had bribed judges in order for them to rule in favor of Russian boxers.
Hey Vlad @PutinRF_Eng
— Michael Conlan (@mickconlan11) August 16, 2016
The allegation of rigging and cheating by AIBA is not an isolated incident. In a report leading up to the Olympics, The Guardian reported, “Senior figures within amateur boxing have warned many bouts, including those to decide medals, could be fixed at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro amid widespread concern about corruption and financial malpractice at the sport’s global governing body, the Guardian can reveal.”
According to Sky Sports, following the loss, Conlan asserted once more in an interview that the match had been rigged.”During a post-fight interview with Irish broadcaster RTE Sport, suggesting the organisation is corrupt, adding amateur boxing stinks from the core right the way to the top.”
A new controversial rule that allows amateur boxers and professional boxers to compete against each other was implemented before the start of the games in Rio. Breitbart News reported:
The International Boxing Association voted on Wednesday to allow professionals to compete at the Olympics. The decision at the “extraordinary congress” in Switzerland follows an earlier vote that removes headgear from male competitors, which may make the games more fan-friendly in Brazil but, like the pros-versus joes edict, risks putting boxers in greater danger. With the sport’s popularity waning in the West, and the Olympics nearly ejecting wrestling from the games several years back, the desperation measures aim to stoke public interest in the suffering sport.
AIBA took these allegations very seriously. In a statement, AIBA seemed to react to the Irish boxer’s allegations. As reported by Sky Sports:
With regard to corruption, we would like to strongly restate that unless tangible proof is put forward, not rumours, we will continue to use any means, including legal or disciplinary actions to protect our sport and its R&J (referees and judges) community whose integrity is constantly put into question. The organisation will not be deterred by subjective judgements made by discontented parties. We welcome all parties to come forward and provide evidence in order to take appropriate and immediate action.