Northern Ireland

Michael Conlan: Opponent Vladimir Nikitin out of Rio semis because of injury

Nikitin's victory over Conlan (right) came in for widespread criticism Image copyright Rex Features
Image caption Nikitin's victory over Conlan (right) came in for widespread criticism

Russian bantamweight Vladimir Nikitin, who controversially beat Michael Conlan in the Olympic quarter-finals, is out of his semi-final because of injury.

A Russian statement said that Nikitin's injuries sustained against Irishman Conlan means he will not box American Shakur Stevenson on Thursday.

"The injury suffered by our boxer Vladimir Nikitin is too serious," said Russian official Igor Kazikov.

"Unfortunately, he won't be able to compete in the semi-final."

Belfast boxer Conlan said after Tuesday's contentious decision that his Olympic dream had "been robbed".

Nikitin's face was badly bloodied after Tuesday's quarter-final which nearly all observers felt had been won conclusively by the Irishman.

Immediately after the bout, Conlan made clear his annoyance at the verdict in an expletive-filled live TV interview with Irish broadcaster RTE.

Nikitin to take home Bronze medal

The 26-year-old Russian's withdrawal from the semi-finals means that he will take home a bronze with Stevenson going forward to Saturday's final where he will face either Cuba's Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana or Uzbekistan's Murodjon Akhmadaliev.

Thursday's development may increase the the pressure on amateur boxing's world governing body, Aiba, which has faced criticism from boxers and coaches in Rio after a number of contentious judging decisions.

On Wednesday, the International Boxing Association (Aiba) announced that it had dropped a number of officials after a review of their decisions at the Olympics.

Aiba said that, after 239 bouts in Rio, "less than a handful of the decisions were not at the level expected".

The body has admitted it is in a "transition process", but said results of bouts already contested will stand.

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