Irish boxer Michael Conlan said he felt vindicated by an independent report published on Thursday that found evidence of corruption and manipulation of bouts at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Conlan’s quarter-final defeat in Rio triggered an outcry at the time, with the bantamweight blasting boxing’s world body AIBA as ‘corrupt’, ‘rotten to the chief’ and saying officials had robbed him of his dream.
The report, led by Richard McLaren and commissioned by AIBA, suggested at the minimum nine bouts were suspicious while two bouts caused the system to “publicly collapse”.
One of those two was Conlan’s against Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin, who was so badly injured despite being declared the winner that he was unable to fight in the semi-final but nevertheless collected a bronze medal.
Prof. McLaren’s investigation revealed a system for manipulating results at Rio 2016. Our boxers deserve a fair fight. AIBA is committed to uncovering the truth and acting on it. AIBA will take all necessary steps to ensure justice for the past, and a fair future. pic.twitter.com/qErQYSoL1n
— AIBA (@AIBA_Boxing) September 30, 2021
“It’s been a long time coming, but I’m delighted,” Conlan told the BBC.
“I didn’t expect this to happen but the fact that it has and my fight has been called out, it’s not news to me, but it’s good news.
Michael Conlan responds to news of investigation i…
“It’s a enormous day for amateur boxing and for Olympic sport,” said the former amateur World, European and Commonwealth champion.
“I think if I hadn’t said what I said and done what I did this probably wouldn’t be happening now, so it’s a huge day, especially for the guys who suffered in Rio, including myself. It’s vindication,” he additional.
Conlan, who turned specialized after the Olympics, said the “black mark of Rio” and the thought of what might have been would always be there. He hoped decisions could be overturned and a medal awarded.
He said, however, that the injustice of Rio had probably benefited his career more than winning gold and his earnings had not been affected.
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