On Monday, it emerged that the International Boxing Association(AIBA) had decided to fine Irish Olympian Michael Conlan €9,300 for his his expletive-littered tirade at the Rio Olympics in August of this year.
After losing a highly controversial decision to Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin at the quarter-final stage of the bantamweight tournament, the Belfast native lambasted the governing body live on Irish national broadcaster RTE. Conlan, who understandably appeared close to tears, branded the AIBA “cheats” and a whole lot more as his coaching staff lingered in the background in an obvious state of disbelief.
According to the Irish Independent, an AIBA Disciplinary Commission acknowledged that Conlan, an Olympic bronze medallist at flyweight in 2012 and the 2015 world bantamweight champion, was “extremely distraught” at the time of the interview but, nonetheless, settled on imposing the maximum fine.
With Conlan set to turn pro under the Top Rank promotional banner in New York next March however, most observers suggested that the fine is unlikely to be paid.
In the hours after the news broke, Conlan confirmed his stance with a humorous tweet.
— Michael Conlan (@mickconlan11) December 19, 2016
In an interview piece published by Irish News on Tuesday, the 25-year-old elaborated further, saying that the hefty nature of the sum demanded was not a factor in his decision to ignore the sanction.
“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 told Neil Loughran.
“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.”
Conlan added that he isn’t worried about how his refusal to pay might impact future options in the unpaid ranks.
“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,” said the fighter. “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.”
Top Rank seem to have big plans for Conlan, whom the outfit’s chairman Bob Arum says has “something special”.
“There’s something about this kid,” Arum told ESPN, shortly after signing Conlan. “He has a lovely personality and, obviously, based on what my matchmakers say, he has ability, which is what counts. As far as his personality, he lights up the room. The fans are going to love this kid. I’m going to hit all the Irish cities — New York, Boston and over in Ireland also.”
As of yet, Conlan does not have an opponent for his maiden professional venture, which will take place at the junior-featherweight limit of 122lbs, or a one pound under the limit at which he competed in the amateurs.