Michael Conlan, an Irish boxer at the Olympics, attacked Russian leader Vladimir Putin after his suspicious loss to a Russian fighter who ringside observers agreed had lost the bout.
Vladimir Nikitin instead got the verdict amid gasps from the crowd and Conlon, who had his hands in the air in anticipation of victory, was shattered by the verdict.
It was one of a number of strange verdicts at the boxing championships and Conlon was not going to take it lying down.
Conlan, who won bronze at the 2012 London Games, instead literally gave the judges the middle finger and later gave RTE a profanity laced interview.
Incredible post fight interview by Michael Conlan after another robbery in the Rio Olympics! �� pic.twitter.com/Tf0rBNFrce— Strictly Boxing Fans (@BoxingBritain1) August 16, 2016
But it was his challenge to Putin that grabbed the attention of the world including the Washington Post and many other newspapers.
The tweet asked Putin how much he had paid the AIBA (Amateur International Boxing Association) judges to come up with their verdict.
Hey Vlad @PutinRF_EngAugust 16, 2016
In his post-fight interview on live TV, Conlan lashed out.
“AIBA cheats, it f***king cheats,” Conlan told Ireland’s RTE Sport. “That’s me, I’ll never box for AIBA again, they’re cheating b***ards, they’re paying everybody. I don’t give a f*** if I’m cursing on TV. … That’s the end of my Olympic gold. My dream has been shattered now. But you know what? I’ve a big career ahead of me and these ones, they’re known for being cheats and they’ll always be cheats. Amateur boxing stinks from the core right to the top.”
Later, the 24-year-old Conlan tweeted at Vladimir Putin to ask how much the Russian president paid AIBA to fix Tuesday’s bout in Nikitin’s favor.
A Russian boxer was also on the winning side of another very strange decision when Evgeny Tishchenko was, in the words of AP columnist Tim Dahlberg, “handed an inexplicable decision win” over Kazakhstan’s Vasiliy Levit in their heavyweight gold medal match.
Canada’s Arthur Biyarslanov, who also lost a surprising decision tweeted his support for Conlon.
My heart goes out to all the boxers that deserved to win but did not get the decision. I feel you, been some crazy decisions...— Arthur Biyarslanov (@ArthurNoxchi) August 16, 2016