The Michael Conlan vs Vladimir Nikitin bout was so lopsided it left no doubt in anybody’s mind in deciding on a victor — except for the judges who are now the subject of controversy.
Conlan started out the fight in controlled spurts, jabbing Nikitin beautifully to keep him from a distance. The Russian’s game plan was to mug him, but he couldn’t trap him in a corner because of his foot speed and the use of lateral movements.
Many times during the Michael Conlan fight, Nikitin would end up swaying on air while his opponent had already breezed past him.
On Friday the Irish boxer reveals how his doubts regarding the integrity of the officials had already started to creep in before the match even started.
According to a report by the Independent Michael Conlan said, “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?
And during the fight itself, whenever his opponent got beat up, or seemed exhausted the referee would break them up, as if to give Nikitin some time to recover.
“During the fight she was constantly on me saying ‘keep your head up Conlan and one more I am going to warn you’. Conlan added.
“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.”
The referee has not been reached for comment, while the judges had been sent home as part of the Olympic body’s punishment.
Michael’s comments sparked more anger and now questions loom as to whether boxing should remain after the 2016 Rio Olympics, considering the lack of deterrence and safeguards implemented by the governing body AIBA, to assure that corruption will be ruled out in the 2020 games in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that the injuries suffered by Vladimir Nikitin against Conlan had caused him to withdraw from his next fight against the American Shakur Stevenson.