Irish boxer Michael Conlan did not hold back in a furious post-fight interview after he was beaten by Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin in the men’s bantamweight quarter-finals in Rio.
The Belfast native lost following a unanimous decision from the judges, prompting an angry reaction from the crowd who felt the Irishman had dominated proceedings.
And an emotional Conlan made his feelings clear when speaking to RTÉ following the event, accusing the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) of widespread corruption.
“AIBA are cheats, f****** cheats, simple as that. That’s me; I’ll never box for AIBA again. They’re cheating b*******, they’re paying everybody,” he raged.
“I was here to win Olympic gold. My dream’s been shattered now. You know what, I’ve a big career ahead of me. And these ones. They’ve always been cheats. Amateur boxing stinks. From the core right to the top.
“I thought I boxed the ears off him in the first round, but they scored it against me. So I had to fight his fight, which I did, outfought him. It’s a shambles to be honest.
“I’m gutted, from the bottom of my heart. I wanted to go back with a gold medal to Ireland. Now I feel I’m going back a loser. I’m not a loser, I’m a winner. Today just showed how corrupt this organisation is.”
He was not alone in his thoughts. Twitter lit up with responses to the decision.
— Shawn W. Smith (@shawn_w_smith) August 16, 2016
Explosive claims by Patrick Barnes https://t.co/k4RVl6Wp4L
— JOE.ie (@JOEdotie) August 16, 2016
You never heard me mention 'robbery' when Paddy lost, or Joe even Katie. But that was a stone cold stitch up. @mickconlan11 best out off it.
— BOXING IRELAND (@LoveIrishBoxing) August 16, 2016
WOW. Michael Conlan has just been robbed. Boos from the crowd. What we are seeing in Rio is an absolute disgrace
— Irish Sun Sport (@IrishSunSport) August 16, 2016
Even Paddy Power decided to overturn the judges decision.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) August 16, 2016
If you are disappointed by your LC results, that is okay. Just think of @mickconlan11 getting robbed after working hard for 4 years 1/2
— UCD Medicine (@UCDMedicine) August 17, 2016
But nothing beats this adorable response from Conlan’s youngest fan!
— BBC News NI (@BBCNewsNI) August 17, 2016
Several bouts at this year’s Olympics have been embroiled with controversy, including yesterday’s men’s heavyweight final.
Russia’s Evgeny Tishchenko was awarded the fight over Vassiliy Levit of Kazakhstan in similar circumstances to Conlan’s fight, with the Rio crowd voicing their displeasure at the unanimous decision.
Several commentators also questioned the judges’ decision to declare Nikitin the victor over Thailand’s Chatchai Butdee in the previous round, leading to fears that Conlan would suffer the fate he did.