London 2012 flyweight Olympic bronze medallist and current super bantamweight fighter with Top Rank, Mick Conlan believes it would be a ‘major shame’ if boxing was banned from the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Conlan takes this view despite experiencing injustice himself in 2016.
The International Olympic Committee has threatened to suspend boxing if Uzbek businessman Gafur Rakhimov remains president of the International Boxing Association (AIBA). The body which runs amateur boxing and oversees the Olympic qualifying process.
“For me, if boxing is booted from the Olympics it would be a major shame,” Conlan exclusively told World Boxing News.
“My experience at the Olympics was special. Especially in London when I won bronze, it catapulted my whole career as an amateur and a professional.
“The two weeks when you’re living in the Olympic Village is surreal. You’re walking past Serena Williams, Roger Federer and other superstars and you’re just walking past them like it’s everyday life.
“It’s like a dream world, it’s a special experience.”
Conlan, 27, suffered a controversial defeat to Vladimir Nikitin in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic bantamweight quarter-final, most experts believing the Irishman produced enough to win.
The decision prompted Belfast-born Conlan to flick his middle finger at the ringside judges and rage at the AIBA.
Referring to Floyd Mayweather, Roy Jones and Evander Holyfield’s similar Olympic maltreatment, Conlan said: “There have been so many bad decisions in Olympic boxing. And not many people have kicked up a fuss like me.
“These things happen in amateur sports, especially boxing because they’re amateur. Bad decisions will happen regularly on a major scale.”
A stellar amateur career wasn’t enough to satisfy Conlan missing out on his holy grail Olympic first-place finish. But he believes young boxers should be afforded the same opportunities.
“Everybody starting off in boxing dreams of being an Olympic champion. The young fighters deserve that experience and to have that taken away from anybody would be really sad.
“I’ve won everything in the amateurs barring that Olympic gold medal. I got a bronze and won just about everything else.
“I got gold in the World Championships, the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games. The only thing I actually wanted was the gold in the Olympics.
“I will always be an Olympian. Something stupid like 0.002% of the population of the world goes to the Olympics. I’ve done it twice and picked up a medal.
“The fact that I’m an Olympian is something I can be proud of for the rest of my life,” Conlan concluded.
James Copley is a Staff Writer for World Boxing News. Follow James on Twitter @JamesCopley73