Michael Conlan claims AIBA punished Ireland for Seamus Kelly ‘outing them’
‘IOC needs to look at boxing in the Olympics, and whether it should even be in Tokyo’
Ireland’s Michael Conlan following his defeat to Vladimir Nikitin of Russia. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Michael Conlan claims that the Irish boxing team were being punished in Rio for an interview carried out with former judge Séamus Kelly days before the opening ceremony.
Former Irish boxing judge Kelly told the Guardian newspaper that he had previously been asked to cheat by indicating who was winning during the fight.
Conlan was beaten in a highly controversial decision in his quarter-final bantamweight bout against Russian fighter Vladimir Nikitin. A fight most believed he had won quite comfortably.
“Before the Olympics we got the bad feeling - with an ex-Irish (judge) who was part of AIBA came out and kind of outed them,” Conlan told Newstalk’s Off The Ball show on Wednesday night. “We knew they were going to come down hard on us for him having his say.
“He came out and told the truth and I think they were looking at us as if saying ‘oh we’ll get ye back’. I don’t think that helped us, or the Michael O’Reilly situation helped us.”
O’Reilly failed a drugs test and subsequently did not compete in the ongoing games.
Conlan claimed that not only did he feel something underhand was at play in his defeat this week at the Olympics, but he also feels that Paddy Barnes, Joe Ward and Katie Taylor should have won their bouts.
“I believe the whole system of amateur boxing at the minute, Olympic boxing especially, is stinking.
“I think the IOC needs to have a look at boxing in the Olympics and whether it should even be in Tokyo.
“If I was a young boxer watching the Olympics I don’t think I’d want to be there.”