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‘It stole a dream I had since I was a kid of being Olympic champion’ - Michael Conlan welcomes Rio corruption report

Belfast fighter feels vindicated after acknowledgement that controversial 2016 defeat ‘may have been predetermined’

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Michael Conlan and referee Sidi Yakoub following his Bantamweight quarter final bout with Vladimir Nikitin of Russia during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Michael Conlan and referee Sidi Yakoub following his Bantamweight quarter final bout with Vladimir Nikitin of Russia during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Michael Conlan and referee Sidi Yakoub following his Bantamweight quarter final bout with Vladimir Nikitin of Russia during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Five years after he was wrongly denied a second Olympic medal Michael Conlan believes his outburst in the ring in Rio was finally vindicated.

A top-level report into corruption at the 2016 Games found that the outcome of his bronze medal ‘may have been predetermined’. Author Richard McLaren declined to comment on whether the results of manipulated contests including Conlan’s would be overturned, saying that it was not up to him to decide.

“The information we have will be turned over to the boxing federation. If they think there’s justification in the declaring that the bout was manipulated then, based on the rules at the time, the decision will have to be made,” he told a press conference in Lausanne.

The Belfast fighter fired off a cheeky tweet to the sport’s governing body AIBA stating “Lads, I want my medal, get it sorted and I’ll DM you my address.”

Speaking on RTE Radio, Conlan – who never boxed again in the amateur ranks after the Rio debacle – said: "It's been a long time coming, but I'm delighted. 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.

"It's a massive day for amateur boxing and for Olympic sport. The black mark of Rio will always sit there and the thought of 'what could have been' will always be there for me.

“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.

"At the same time, it stole a dream that I had since I was a kid of being an Olympic champion. That 'what if' will always be there.

"I just hope now the decisions can be overturned because I wasn't the only one. I'd be more than happy to receive an Olympic medal and that would be a bit of justice in itself. I'd love that to happen, to be upgraded and get a medal. Even if I don't get a medal, if they said I was number three at the Games, that would be good.

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"At the same time, I wouldn't want to see the guys who benefitted because of the corruption lose out, because it wasn't their fault,” said Conlan, who is likely to fight for a world professional title next year.


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