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• Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin said to have been injured fighting Irishman
• Conlan slammed judges’ decision after controversial defeat in Rio
The Russian boxer who controversially beat Michael Conlan in the bantamweight quarter-finals at the Olympic Games in Rio pulled out of Thursday’s semi-finals because of injury.
Vladimir Nikitin’s victory provoked a ferocious verbal assault from the Irishman, who claimed he had been robbed of his Olympic dream. A Russia statement said Nikitin had picked up an injury during the Conlan bout and had failed to recover in time to face the American Shakur Stevenson, who will now go through to Saturday’s final. Nikitin will go home with a bronze medal.
“The injury suffered by our boxer Vladimir Nikitin is too serious,” said Igor Kazikov of the Russia team. “Unfortunately, he won’t be able to compete in the semi-final.”
Conlan, the world amateur champion at the weight and the No1 seed in Rio, had slammed the unanimous decision of the judges after Tuesday’s fight. Many observers felt the 24-year-old, who won a bronze medal at London 2012, had beaten Nikitin comfortably.
The International Boxing Association sent home a number of judges and refereeson Wednesday following outrage over contentious decisions and amid claims of wider corruption at the Rio boxing tournament.