Irish boxer Michael Conlan has revealed he cried in the bath and tweeted Russian president Vladimir Putin immediately after losing to Russian boxer Vladimir Nikitin at the 2016 Rio Olympics in what he saw as corrupt officiating.
Belfast native Conlan threw up his middle fingers in the direction of the judges when the judges announced he’d lost the quarter-final fight in Brazil, and has revealed to ESPN UK his immediate reacts were taking a bath and tweeting Putin to relieve his frustration.
“To be an Olympic champion was my dream,” Conlan explained to boxing reporter Steve Bunce as part of an ESPN package hyping this weekend’s rematch. “It was the only reason I stayed until Rio. When I sat down – I think I was in the bath actually – I got a bath and I’m sitting in the bath and I broke down crying.
Shortly after the fight, a severely disappointed Conlan wrote a tweet addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin in which he alleged that the fight’s outcome was predetermined. It has since been retweeted more than 17,000 times.
“I sent a tweet out to Putin, just letting him know how much did they pay him. That went viral.”
Featherweights Conlan and Niktin will meet in professional arena inside Madison Square on Saturday, and the Irishman has revenge on his mind and no intention of shedding tears again.
“No one else seen me crying. I was just sitting there for 30 minutes in the bath chilling out. Even now I can feel the emotion. I just cried. I’m never, ever going to be Olympic champion. That was my time,” he said.
“When I sat there and thought about it, it did break my heart. Now? I’m at peace. Do I have any regrets after Rio? No, because it’s made me the fighter that I am.”
Conlan is one again the odds-on favorite to claim victory this weekend but he says that this fight isn’t so much about setting the record straight, but about closing one chapter and moving on to the next one.
“That’s all it is, it’s about me and him,” Conlan explains. “It’s not about records really. If I’m honest, in terms of my career, in terms of progression, this fight does absolutely nothing. I look at it as high risk, zero reward for me.
“Deep down I might feel it personally but in terms of my career, this is a business move. I know it’s a risky fight but it’s a fight I know I can go in [and] do well, beat him, put it to bed and close this chapter of my career.”