Northern Ireland

Michael Conlan rewards fan who gave him consolation medal

Michael Conlan with Finn McManus Image copyright The Late Late Show
Image caption Finn met his hero Michael Conlan on RTÉ's The Late Late Show

The five-year-old fan whose letter to Michael Conlan went viral during the Rio Olympics has been given his own prize by the Belfast boxer.

Finn McManus was presented with custom-made boxing gloves during RTÉ's The Late Late Show on Friday night.

The Dublin boy had written to the 24-year-old after he controversially lost a quarter-final bantamweight bout against Russia's Vladimir Nikitin.

As well as words of comfort, Finn also offered Conlan his school medal.

The message was sent direct to Conlan via Facebook and then shared widely when it was posted on Twitter by Finn's uncle.

At the time, Conlan responded on Twitter, describing it as a "very warming message" and promising a gift for his young fan.

The London 2012 bronze medallist and reigning world champion certainly came good on his promise and gave Finn boxing gloves bearing both their names.

Image copyright Michael Conlan
Image caption Michael Conlan presented Finn with custom-made boxing gloves

After watching Conlon's defeat in Rio, Finn asked his mother if he could donate his medal to him, and got his big sister, nine-year-old Lily, to write the letter on his behalf.

Their mother then sent a photo of Finn's medal and Lily's handwritten letter by private message to Conlan on Facebook.

However, she said a "social media storm" began after her brother shared her message on Twitter.

Image copyright Meadhbh McManus
Image caption Finn's letter to Michael Conlan - "the best boxer in the world"

Conlan made headlines himself at Rio 2016 after his expletive-ridden tirade against the judges who gave decided against him at the Olympics.

His controversial defeat completed a disappointing Games for Ireland's eight-strong boxing team.

The fighter was expected to turn professional after Rio and he confirmed this to Late Show host Ryan Tubridy. He said he was currently in negotiations with promoters.

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