Boxing Statisticians Reveal Whether Michael Conlan Should’ve Won Yesterday

Rio Olympic Games 2016 - Day ElevenPA

Yesterday afternoon, the boxing world was sent into a frenzy after Irish Olympic boxer, Michael Conlan, was knocked out of the competition – something just about everybody is saying is completely wrong. 

Conlan was fighting against the Russian boxer, Vladimir Nikitin, and according to countless boxing commentators, experts, and spectators across the globe, Conlan dominated the Russian throughout the fight, winning at least two out of three rounds.

Boxing - Olympics: Day 11Getty

However, it wasn’t to be, and the judges awarded a unanimous decision to Nikitin, claiming he had won all three rounds of the fight and subsequently bringing into question, again, the legitimacy of AIBA (Amateur International Boxing Association).

Boxing at the Olympics has often been incredibly questionable and has been called out countless times for being corrupt and bias – a sentiment which was echoed by Conlan’s post-fight interview.

He said:

The AIBA are cheats. They’re fucking cheats, it’s as simple as that. I’ll never box for AIBA again; they’re cheating bastards.

They’re paying everybody. I don’t give a fuck if I’m cursing on TV. I was here to win Olympic gold.

My dream’s 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.

Conlan also gave the finger to the judges when the result was announced, before tweeting Vladimir Putin, suggesting the Russian government, or an association closely connected to it, had bribed Olympic officials to fix the fight in favour of the Russian athlete.

The controversy surrounding yesterday’s bout even led one of the most respected boxing statistic websites in the U.S, Comubox, to re-score the fight – which resulted in them awarding the fight to Conlan.

According to their data, obtained by the Sunday World, Conlan threw far more punches than the Russian – 365 as opposed to 257 – and landed 89 (24.4%) of those in comparison to Nikitin’s 75 (29.25%).

The Belfast boxer also threw and landed a significant number more power punches – 82 compared to 71. But strictly, it’s not down to just the number of punches thrown to determine who wins. So they watched the fight for themselves and scored it how an Olympic judge would.

Boxing - Olympics: Day 11Getty

By the end of the fight, they concluded that Nikitin had narrowly won the first round, but that Conlan hammered the Russian throughout the second and third round and should have easily been awarded the win.

International betting company Paddy Power also felt that Conlan was unjustly taken out of the competition and decided to pay out on any bets placed on the Irishman.

Overall, paying out on the bets cost the company €25,000 (£21,000) but they said they didn’t have a choice.

Speaking to UNILAD, Paddy Power spokesperson, Feilim Mac An Iomaire, said:

To be honest we felt like we didn’t have a choice.

We paid out just shy of €25,000 which isn’t exactly a grand national figure but we genuinely wouldn’t have felt right about holding on to our customers’ hard earned cash.

The Irish boxers won 4 medals in 2012 and were expected to at least match that this time out but Conlan’s loss will see them return home empty handed. It was a hammer blow for the Irish sporting public.

Boxing - Olympics: Day 11Getty

However, the AIBA and the Russian Olympic delegation denied all allegations of foul play and released an official statement, reading:

Michael is a current world champion and he came here with high expectations. His disappointment is massive, we can all understand that. It’s his personal judgement.

AIBA is striving for a fair, level-playing field. The idea is not to benefit one country towards another. These statements are foundless but he’s free to have his opinion.

Whether you’ve seen the fight or not, I think it’s hard to say this wasn’t an unfair decision – whether it was corrupt or not.

When millions of people across the globe are claiming it was a clear victory for Michael Conlan – and statisticians, boxing experts, former boxers, and betting companies are all claiming the same – it certainly brings into question the legitimacy of AIBA and Olympic boxing in general.

Unlucky Michael.