Irish boxer jabs Putin on Twitter after controversial loss in Rio Olympics

Conlan gives an obscene salute after getting “robbed.”
Image: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Irish boxer Michael Conlan lost to Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin by unanimous decision in the Olympics quarterfinals Tuesday after a controversial ruling that had many crying foul.

Hours later, Conlan upped the ante by tweeting at Vladimir Putin to ask the Russian president how much he paid to rig the match.

You can read the full match report here, but, per the BBC, the gist of Conlan’s controversial loss goes like this: Conlan appeared to win the first round, but judges marked it in Nikitin’s favor; Conlan won the second round by a point; judges ruled the third and final round for Nikitin, even though Conlan again seemed to be getting the better of the fight.

Conlan unloaded on the judges and the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) in a post-match interview, which we’ll get to in a second. But first, here’s his subsequent tweet at Putin, alleging an undue Russian influence on the match’s outcome. (The kissy face is a nice touch, too.)

Conlan, who is 24 years old, entered the Olympics with high hopes. He won bronze at the 2012 London Games and last year in Qatar captured the amateur world championship for his weight division. He is expected to turn pro after Rio, and hoped to end his amateur career in golden style.

After Tuesday’s controversial decision, Conlan made no effort to hide his anger. He directed an obscene gesture at the judges, gave a two thumbs down signal and motioned to fans as he stomped shirtless about the ring.

Conlan reacts as Nikitin is declared winner.

Image: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Conlan eggs on fans booing the decision.

Image: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

And birdies for the judges.

Image: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

“My dream has been shattered. It’s been robbed,” he told the BBC.

“I came for gold and I’ve been cheated,” Conlan said. “I’ll not do another Olympics. I would advise anybody not to compete for the AIBA.”

Here’s more of Conlan’s emotional post-fight interview.

Now, is it really possible that Conlan was cheated, and that Putin had something to do with it?

That’s quite the accusation, but we’ve seen before how Putin likes to blur the lines between sports, politics and geopolitical antagonism.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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