Olympic Games | The Guardian
Irish boxer Michael Conlan, whose highly controversial quarter-final defeat at the 2016 Olympics is now officially fixed, has called for those involved in the manipulation of bouts in Rio to be prosecuted for sports fraud.
Conlan spoke to the Guardian after reading Professor Richard McLaren’s devastating investigation into corruption in amateur boxing and also called on the sport’s governing body, Aiba, to award him the Olympic medal he believes has stolen him when he lost to the Russian Vladimir Nikitin.
“I was the reigning world champion, number 1 and favorite for gold in Rio and my dream was snatched away from me – how can that be quantified?” He told the guard. “In all honesty, I had put it to bed, but reading the report gave me hope for justice.
“But for justice to be done, it is not enough for someone involved in corruption to be kicked out of the sport,” he said. “This is white-collar crime. This is sports fraud. Those involved should be charged as criminals. “
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“After calling Aiba in Rio that I was corrupt, they fined me 10,000 Swiss francs for speaking out,” he added. “I never paid for it, but if I ever wanted to work as a coach or coach in amateur boxing, I would have to give them the money before I return.
“How can it be right for me to be fined for speaking the truth and reacting like any normal person would – while those responsible for corruption may not be confronted with such a thing?”
McLaren’s damning report found that a handpicked team of five-star umpires and judges – the highest possible rank in the sport – used signals on the ring or instructed other colleagues on the morning of the bout who should win a particular match.
He also noted that corruption went to the top, with two senior Aiba officials – Wu Ching-Kuo and Karim Bouzidi, then Aiba president and
McLaren confirmed Thursday in Lausanne that Briton Joe Joyce’s super heavyweight final defeats to Frenchman Tony Yoka and Conlan’s bantamweight quarter-final loss to Russian Vladimir Nikitin are under investigation.
This did not surprise Conlan, who now wants justice. “My message to Aiba is that I want my medal and know that I deserve it. You robbed me of my chance for gold, and there is no way you can give it to me now because I never got to compete in a semi-final or a final. But I think the right decision would be for Aiba to put an end to all fights that McLaren says is corrupted – which would mean I get bronze. “
In 2017, Aiba said none of the seven five-star judges would ever officiate at the international level again, while Wu was banned a year later. Bouzidi has also left amateur boxing in the meantime. McLaren will issue two more reports in November and next March recommending the sporting sanctions to those responsible.
“There will be a lot of decisions to be made in order to fix history, including the outcome of Joe Joyce’s super heavyweight gold medal bout,” added Conlan. But that’s the only answer. “
For his part, Joyce and his legal advisors are considering the implications of the McLaren report. “I firmly believe that I was the winner and deserved the gold,” Joyce told the BBC. “When corruption has taken place, and it appears that it has taken place, I trust Aiba and the IOC” [International Olympic Committee] will see to it that the integrity of the sport is upheld and give me the gold medal … Corruption should never succeed. “
Conlan, who is now an undefeated professional who recently won the WBA interim featherweight belt, also confirmed to the Guardian that he would be happy to meet with McLaren’s investigative team to tell him what he knows. But he said that nothing he had heard so far had shocked him.
“No, no, no,” he said. “I know what these judges look like. I remember them all in their little clique. None of what McLaren found surprised me. “