Zaur feels judges giving 2nd round to Conlan was a defence against corruption claims

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Irish boxing head coach Zaur Antia agrees that Mick Conlan was “robbed” in his Olympic quarter final.

The reigning AIBA bantamweight World champion was defeated by Russian Vladimir Nikitin in Russia this afternoon, losing a contentious unanimous decision (28-29 x3) at the Riocentro.

Antia, a lot less furious than in the aftermath of Katie Taylor’s loss yesterday – perhaps disillusioned – told RTÉ that “if there was correct judging and if they gave Mick what he deserved, he would continue.”

“Everybody says here that Katie Taylor was robbed, and everyone will now, I’m sure, say that Michael was robbed.”

Bemused by Conlan losing the opening stanza on all three cards, the Georgian coach commented how “we gave him tactics, the tactic was from the beginning the long distance fight. He did it. The first round finished it was such a clean win, you can’t win any better.”

“Then we have to go close fight. That’s what happened, he was down 3-0 first round which was something terrible, but acceptable.”

“Then we told him he has to work. He work him close. It was now a different fight. Michael was more clean”

Indeed Antia feels that the second round, which was awarded to Conlan, was given merely as lip-service, and reasoned that “they can say now tomorrow ‘We are not corrupt, we gave second round’.”

While obviously disappointed, the Bray-based coach is looking forward to improving and described how “it’s not nice. We will learn from this.”

“We had good success at the Olympic Games before. Sometimes you can’t be always there. Sometimes you go down.”

“We need to clean things, need to correct things, need to work better, find what was the problem and move forwards.”

“That’s life.”

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie