A report into Michael Conlan’s highly controversial 2016 Olympic Games defeat has claimed that the fight was fixed from the very start.
The IABA report, seen by the Irish Times, has claimed that Irish management were told that Conlan’s loss to Russian Vladimir Nikitin was among a number of fixed fights at the games, with manager Joe Hennigan (now IABA vice-president) told at one stage that Conlan’s chance were “gone” by Ireland head coach Zauri Anita – who, in turn had heard it from one of the Russian coaches.
“We went back to the village that evening and Zauri informed me that the Russian coach had told him that Michael Conlan’s medal was gone as were others and we would want to protect our boxers.
“It was sickening to think we definitely lost two contests (Conlan and Katie Taylor) because of corruption and you would argue Joe Ward’s one as well with bad refereeing.”
At the time, the result of the fight was viewed as contentious to the point of scandalous. Conlan lost to Nikitin by unanimous decision, with the then 24-year-old, a Bronze medalist in London four years previous, claiming he had been cheated right from the outset. Conlan, who has since turned professional, swore there and then that he was done with the Olympic games and amateur boxing.
As if to further hammer home the point that shady goings-on were rife in Rio, every judge who participated in the games was subsequently suspended by the AIBA.