Thursday 19 April 2018

Michael Conlan signs professional boxing contract and puts Olympic woes behind him

Michael Conlan. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Michael Conlan. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

BOXER Michael Conlan, who hit headlines at the Rio Olympics after blasting the judges and accusing them of cheating, has also signed a professional boxing contract.

Conlan (24), who is from Belfast and has represented Ireland throughout his amateur career, took to social media  to announce his deal with Top Rank.

The promotor counts Manny Pacquiao, whose fight against Floyd Mayweather last year was billed the fight  of  the century, among the boxers and its roster.

A  delighted Conlan posted a picture of himself against a background of a floor with Top Rank Inc writing on  it, with the caption “it’s done.”

Top Rank, which was founded in 1966, also posted a message of welcome for the Irish fighter on its Twitter account.

“Welcome to the team! Can’t wait for your 1st fight!” it said.

After he hit out at the adjudication in the Olympics, president Wu Ching-kuo of the AIBA, the world amateur boxing association, said there would be disciplinary action against Conlan.

But the fighter dismissed this and responded that he was planning to turn professional anyway.

"It doesn't bother me in the slightest, they can do whatever they want because they have no right to punish me after what they've done,” he said.

“They can try to punish me, but I don't think it's going to be possible for them," said Conlan, who maintained that he will not box under AIBA again.  He has now come good on that promise.

Conlan vented his fury and branded the AIBA “cheating b******s” after he was beaten in controversial circumstances in his bantamweight quarter-final bout with Russia's Vladimir Nikitin at Rio.

The AIBA subsequently sent home a handful of judges from the Olympics.  It stopped short of identifying who they were.

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