Michael Conlan professional debut team member issued tee shirt SIGNED on the iconic finger gesture image that disgraced the AIBA Olympic committee in Rio 2016.
Michael Conlan grew up with the sound of fighting on the Falls Road in west Belfast keeping him up at night.
Now his noisy neighbours are a group of sea lions near his new home looking out on the ocean from Marina del Rey in Los Angeles.
nd it is all thanks to his middle finger.
Conlan, 25, made his professional debut on 17th March, 2017, which was also St Patrick’s Day, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The Irishman could never have imagined such a “surreal” scenario and it came from a moment of huge disappointment.
Conlan had just been robbed of a place in the bantamweight semi-finals at the Rio Olympics.
He had clearly beaten Russian opponent Vladimir Nikitin, but the judges went against him and it made for an iconic image as the Belfast-born boxer stood in the ring, vest off with his two middle fingers pointing at those officials.
Conlan followed it up with an expletive-laden rant on Irish television and the sport’s governing body, AIBA, were furious.
But not as angry as Conlan, who had his dream of adding an Olympic gold medal to his World amateur title cruelly taken from him.
Most get huge professional offers if they win gold at the Olympics, but Conlan has profited more from such a disastrous day.
“What happened in Rio happened in Rio and now this is the pay back for me,” he said. “This is what I get for what happened. This is the silver lining after a dark day.
“For me after I done it I was thinking ‘was I right to do it? Was it the right thing or wrong?’ It seemed to have captured the whole World and it became an iconic image.
“At the time I didn’t know if I did the right thing or not but now I know I did the right thing. Everyone loves a bit of controversy. That is exactly what it was.
“If I had of just been the regular athlete and sounded like I’m just reading off a script after a performance then it wouldn’t have been thought about.
“It would have been put to bed. Nobody would have talked about it. I feel that it was the right thing to do.
“I feel me standing up has opened the door for many more boxers. I’ve opened the eyes for the future of people getting robbed, I hope I have changed amateur boxing.”
After havin his first pro fight against American Tim Ibarra in a six-round contest, Conlan can look back with no regrets.
He lives in the scenic Marina del Rey with his fiancee, Shauna Olali, and their two-year-old daughter, Luisne.
Conlan opted to bring home comforts with him to California rather than just isolating himself on America’s west coast for training camps.
While he is being trained by Manny Robles in a gym that is predominantly filled with Mexican-American fighters apart from friend and former amateur team-mate Jason Quigley, who provides the “craic” that also helped him feel at home.
But there is one small downside.
“When you were living where I was living on the Fall’s Road in Belfast you were being woken up at two in the morning by people fighting in the streets and people getting kicked out of their houses,” said Conlan.
“It’s mad the things that happened there. Now I’m living at the Marina del Rey, I’m just on the marina so it is all boats and the sunshine coming in the window all day.
“The only noise you really get is the sea lions at night time which p*** you off. Other than that it is perfect.”
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Michael Conlan My Dream Has Been Shattered
Michael John Conlan (born 19 November 1991) is an Irish professional boxer from Belfast. He is currently signed with Top Rank.
As an amateur, Conlan reached number one in the AIBA bantamweight World rankings, with achievements that include an Olympic bronze medal at London 2012 and a World Championships gold medal at Doha 2015. He has been one of Northern Ireland's most successful amateur fighters of all time.
Conlan was born in Belfast. His father and coach, John, hails from Drimnagh, County Dublin. His elder brother, Jamie, is also a professional boxer.
Conlan won his first Ulster novice title at the age of 11, and is a three-time Irish national flyweight champion. In his debut match at the 2012 Olympics, he defeated Ghanaian boxer Duke Micah, having received a bye in the first round. In the quarter final, he defeated French boxer Nordine Oubaali by 22–18, guaranteeing himself a bronze medal. Conlan lost his semi-final bout against Cuba's Robeisy Ramírez, who went on to win gold in the final.
After the Olympics Conlan moved up from Flyweight to Bantamweight. He is currently in the AIBA rankings at #1. On 2 August 2014 he won the bantamweight division gold medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, beating England's Qais Ashfaq. Conlan won despite only returning to training two weeks prior following an injury.
2015 started off with Conlan competing in WSB (World Series Boxing) for Italia Thunder. Conlan and his team mate also a fellow Irish boxer Paddy Barnes would compete in seven fights over 14 weeks in an effort to try and secure qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Michael racked up 5 wins out 7 which was just enough for him to finish second in the individual ranking and secure Olympic berth in Rio.
In August 2015 Conlan won the European Championships at Bantamweight and scooped Boxer of the Tournament. He competed in four fights beating; French, Danish, Italian and Great Britain representatives. He only lost 3 rounds out of a possible 36 on individual judges scorecards. His final was a repeat of the 2014 Commonwealth Games final against Great Britain's Qais Ashfaq. Conlan took the first in what was a very technical encounter, the Belfast man took the second on a split, by the 3rd round the No.1 seed (Conlan) was in cruise control which seen him take the round and the fight unanimously to retain Ireland's hold on the European 56 kg Bantamweight title and the best boxer award (both of which John Joe Nevin won in 2013).
In October 2015, Conlan won the gold medal in the bantamweight division at the 2015 AIBA World Boxing Championships. It was Ireland’s first ever male World Championship gold medal. In December 2015, Conlan was named as the RTÉ Sports Person of the Year for 2015.
In the men's bantamweight quarterfinal stage of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Conlan was eliminated by a controversial call, in which Russia's Vladimir Nikitin was awarded the victory. Conlan reacted by raising his middle finger at the judges and delivering a strongly-worded live television interview to RTÉ, accusing officials in amateur boxing of corruption. That decision was one of a number that had fellow international boxers and commentators questioning the integrity of Olympic boxing and the scoring system used.
Conlan was found placing bets on boxing events at the 2016 Olympic Games, violating the IOC rules. Accordingly, he was sanctioned with a severe reprimand by the Disciplinary Commission of the IOC.
2012 - Olympic Games:
Conlan won Bronze in the Olympic Games at Flyweight. Results were:
* Ghana Duke Micah: Won (19:8)
* France Nordine Oubaali: Won (22:18)
* Cuba Robeisy Ramírez: Lost (20:10)
2014 - Commonwealth Games:
Conlan won Gold in the Commonwealth Games at Bantamweight. Results were:
* Nauru Matthew Martin: Won (3:0)
* India Shiva Thapa: Won (3:0)
* Uganda Bashir Nassir: Won (3:0)
* Wales Sean McGoldrick: Won (3:0)
* England Qais Ashfaq: Won (3:0)
2015 - European Championships:
Conlan won Gold in the European Championships at Bantamweight. Results were:
* France Anthony Bret: Won (3:0)
* Denmark Frederik Lundgaard Jensen: Won (3:0)
* Italy Francesco Maietta: Won (3:0)
* United Kingdom Qais Ashfaq: Won (3:0)
2015 - World Championships:
Conlan won Gold in the World Championships at Bantamweight. Results were:
* Brazil Robenílson Vieira: Won (2:1)
* Azerbaijan Tayfur Aliyev: Won (3:0)
* Belarus Dzmitry Asanau: Won (3:0)
* Uzbekistan Murodjon Akhmadaliev: Won (3:0)
Following the 2016 Olympics and his disillusionment with amateur boxing, Conlan reaffirmed his intentions of turning professional. Despite interest from several big promotions and rumours of a deal being struck with Mayweather Promotions, it was Top Rank who secured Conlan's signature. On September 23, Bob Arum confirmed that Conlan would be making his professional debut at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, on St. Patrick's Day.
On March 17, 2017, Conlan won his first fight as a professional boxer, beating Tim Ibarra by a third round technical knockout in New York City, United States.
In 2013, Conlan appeared in Celebrity Apprentice Ireland on TV3. In 2016, Conlan appeared in Road To Rio on RTE2.
European Amateur Championships
* Boxer of the Tournament - 2015
RTÉ Sports Awards:
* RTÉ Sports Person of the Year - 2015