Warning: The above video contains strong language.
Irish bantamweight Michael Conlan lost a unanimous decision to Russian Vladimir Nikitin in a quarterfinals match. All three judges scored the fight 29-28 in Nikitin’s favor. Conlan, who clearly thought he’d won, reacted with surprise and anger when the referee raised his opponent’s hand.
He then gave a fiery, expletive-filled interview to RTE blasting the judges and the Amateur International Boxing Association, calling them “cheating bastards.”
“AIBA are cheats,” he said. “F—ing cheats. As simple as that. That’s me, I’ll never box for AIBA again. They’re cheating bastards, they’re paying everybody.
“I was here to win Olympic gold. My dreams been shattered now. You know what, I’ve a big career ahead of me. And these ones (AIBA)? They’ve always been cheats. Amateur boxing stinks. From the core right to the top.
Conlan’s frustration is understandable. It’s good to see him say he has a bright future and this moment won’t forever define him.
Having said that, that is real, authentic rage. We’ll be hard-pressed to find an athlete who is keeping it more real down in Rio than Conlan. That was the interview of a man who fears no reprisal.