Friday 23 March 2018

Michael Conlan adds fuel to fire as he reveals what referee said to him during defeat to Nikitin

Ger Keville

Ger Keville

Michael Conlan has questioned whether boxing should be an Olympic sport at the 2020 games in Tokyo following the controversies that have rocked Rio.

Speaking on Off The Ball, the Irishman admitted he is still hugely disappointed following his controversial defeat to Russian Vladimir Nikitin but hopes his strong comments in the immediate aftermath of the fight will open the eyes of the world to “corruption in amateur boxing”.

Conlan also clarified his dad’s comments when John was quoted as saying that Ireland had “embarrassed” the AIBA and spoke in detail about why he felt the referee, Kheira Sidi Yakoub, was doing all in her power to aid Nikitin during their quarter final bout.

“It all stinks. I said some crazy stuff after my interviews but what I said was what my emotions were,” said Conlan on Off The ball.

“I spoke the truth and I don’t regret what I said. I probably could have toned down the language a little bit but it was all the truth and felt it needed to be said for other boxers in the future so it doesn’t happen again.

“I IOC needs to have a look at Olympic boxing and see whether it should even be in Tokyo. I f I was a young boxer watching the Olympics, I don’t think I would want to be there.”

Michael Conlan with referee Kheira Sidi Yakoub
Michael Conlan with referee Kheira Sidi Yakoub

Yesterday, the AIBA stated that it has sent some referees and judges home from the Games following some below par performances from the officials in Rio.

But Conlan is sceptical if the measure will be enforced, adding that referee Kheira Sidi Yakoub is not one of those kicked out by AIBA.

“I don’t think the referee was kicked out. She is part of the hierarchy of referees and judges. There are seven judges who pick who judges the fights. They are the top star referees.

“Even before the fight the referee said to me ‘keep your head up’. Why would you say that even before the fight, just as I had stepped into the ring?

“During the fight she was constantly on me saying ‘keep your head up Conlan and one more I am going to warn you’.

“When he was cut she was cleaning me instead of cleaning him. I just didn’t understand it. In the second round he was knackered and she was taking me over and cleaning me and then cleaning him, giving him extra time to get his breath back. To me he was gassing. Thinking back on it now, it is annoying.”

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