Irish boxer Michael Conlan did not mince words after he was knocked out of the Olympics Tuesday. He made it clear he thought the fix was in for his quarterfinal opponent, Russia's Vladimir Nikitin.
"I was here to win Olympic gold, my dream's been shattered now," Conlan told RTÉ Sport. "But you know what, I’ve a big career ahead of me and these ones, they're known for being cheats and they'll always be cheats. Amateur boxing stinks from the core right to the top."
Conlan also had some thoughts about who put the supposed fix in. He tweeted Monday at Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Amateur International Boxing Association, asking, "How much did they charge you bro?"
The judges at the fight awarded two of three rounds to the Russian fighter, but many experts disagreed heartily with that assessment. Irish boxing analysts said on air, "the judging in that first round was just ridiculous," and "if Michael Conlan didn't win that then I know nothing about boxing."
The BBC wrote that the 24-year-old world champion Conlan "appeared to do the better work in the opening round" and that as the bout went on "he seemed to be producing the cleaner work as the fight turned into a brawl."
"I came for gold and I've been cheated. I'll not do another Olympics. I would advise anybody not to compete for the AIBA [Amateur International Boxing Association]," Conlan said, according to the BBC. "At the end of the first round, it had been so easy, so comfortable, I wasn't even out of breath. I said 'I'll win this easy'. But I was told I was down. I had to go to war. I fought him at his own game. I pulled back that second round then I outfought him in the last round."
The decision for Conlan's bout wasn't the first at the Rio 2016 games to be called into question. Russian Evgeny Tishchenko was booed as he won the gold Monday, the crowd reacted "in complete shock when all three judges scored the fight unanimously in Tishchenko's favor," according to CNN.
Judging controversy has often plagued the Olympics. Japan's Satoshi Shimizu knocked down Azerbaijan's Magomed Abdulhamidov five times in one round of a London 2012 fight, for instance, but Abdulhamidov was still somehow awarded the round. The decision was reversed on appeal and Shimizu won the bout. But this received significant attention considering a 2011 BBC report that indicated it had found evidence Azerbaijan had paid $9 million to an international boxing organization for guaranteed gold medals.