Paddy Power Pays Out on Rio Olympics Boxing Controversy

Posted on: August 25, 2016, 05:00h. 

Last updated on: August 25, 2016, 04:42h.

 Paddy Power pays out on Michael Conlan Olympics fight.
Boxer Michael Conlan believes that amateur boxing has become corrupt. (Image: BBC)

Irish bookie Paddy Power has paid out on all bets that backed Michael Conlan to win the bantamweight quarter-final at the Rio Olympics, even though, officially at least, he didn’t.

Conlan believed he had done enough to soundly beat Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin in the bout, but the judges disagreed, prompting an immediate middle finger in their direction followed by a furious outburst from the Irish boxer.

“They’re f***ing cheats,” he yelled into the ringside microphone. “They’re known for being cheats. Amateur boxing stinks from the core right to the top.

“I’ll never box in this competition again,” he continued. “If people watch this Olympic Games and they see some of the decisions … I think boxing is dead. It’s about whoever pays the most money. Whoever has the biggest [influence] wins.”

Disciplinary Action

Conlan was unrepentant at the news that he may face disciplinary charges from world amateur boxing governing body AIBA for his actions. The boxer, who is planning on going pro, professed himself to be “not bothered” by threats of punishment from AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu.

“Disciplinary action will follow, you can’t humiliate in public our judges,” warned Wu this week, threatening to sue anyone who accused AIBA of being corrupt.

Conlan’s fight was not the only controversial moment of the Rio Olympics boxing. The following Monday night another Russian boxer, heavyweight Evgeny Tishchenko, suspiciously beat Kazakhstan’s Vassiliy Levit to win the gold medal, as boos rang out from the crowd.

“The whole thing stinks, absolutely stinks, and our heart goes out to Michael Conlan after he was robbed of victory,” a Paddy Power spokesperson told the Irish Times.

“The entire country was behind Michael and as you might imagine we took plenty of bets from patriotic punters who were backing him to do the business, and it’s only fair that we pay out on him as the winner.”

Paddy Power said it would also payout bets that backed Conlan to win gold.

AIBA Promises Change

AIBA dismissed several judges after the controversial decisions and the organization has proposed changes to the scoring system to prevent a repeat at the Tokyo Games in 2020.

“We always assign the evaluators of the referees and judges to watch for fair play. If they find certain referees and judges not meeting expectations, or if some mistake is made, then immediately we interview them,” said Wu.

“The [suspension usually] runs three days. This time, we sent them home. Our policy is zero tolerance. I want perfect. The best.”