BY IABA Press Officer Bernard O’Neill
The 41-year wait is over, ended by a captain with the heart of a lion and the hands of an artist.
Irish skipper and history maker Michael Conlan claimed Ireland’s first AIBA World Elite (male) gold medal in Doha, Qatar this evening.
The Irish captain beat Uzbekistan’s Murodjon Akhmadaliev in the bantamweight final on a unanimous decision – 30-27,29-28,29-28 – in the 2015 AIBA World Elite 56kg final to claim our first top of the podium finish at this level since Ireland first entered a team at the inaugural World Championships in Havana in 1974.
To add to tonight’s drama, Conlan went down under tremendous right from Akhmadaliev late in the third, but it wasn’t enough to stop one judge giving the Irishman all three rounds and the other two marking it two frames apiece for the current European Elite champion.
Conlan, who has qualified for the Rio Olympics, also picked up 1,200 rankings points in Doha for winning gold and will be one of the top seeds, if not the top, at next summer’s Olympic Games.
Ireland now has two reigning AIBA World Elite champions in Conlan and Katie Taylor, 10% of the titles available at this level to men and women.
Watch Conlan’s reaction to the historic win below: