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Michael Conlan suggests Ireland are being punished for former judge's Guardian revelations

The Belfast native admitted to being nervous about dubious judging ahead of his fights.

Image: Jae C. Hong

MICHAEL CONLAN HAS suggested former judge Seamus Kelly’s revelations to The Guardian could have been partially responsible for the dubious outcome of his fight.

Just prior to the Olympic Games, Irishman Kelly told the newspaper that he had been asked to cheat during his time as a judge, and Conlan and his camp feel this controversy may have had a significant influence on Ireland’s misfortune in Rio.

“An ex-referee (who is Irish), who was part of AIBA, had kind of outed them,” said Conlan, on Newstalk’s Off the Ball.

“We got the feeling that they were going to come down hard on us for him coming out and having his say.”

Conlan’s father, John, had previously indicated that Ireland had “embarrassed” AIBA. Most people interpreted it as a reference to Michael O’Reilly’s failed drugs test, when in fact Conlan Jr confirmed that it was an allusion to the Kelly controversy.

“(Kelly) came out and told the truth — I think they were looking at us then and saying we’ll get you back,” Conlan added

“That didn’t help and I don’t think the Michael O’Reilly situation helped us either.”

Conlan admitted to being nervous about dubious judging ahead of his fights, particularly when Russia’s Evgeny Tishchenko beat Kazakhstan’s Vassiliy Levit in similarly contentious circumstances in the Men’s heavy 91 kg final in Rio.

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“That was part of my nervous energy, I was more worried about the judging than my opponent,” Conlan said.

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Listen to the full interview here>

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Paul Fennessy

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