Belfast boxer Michal Conlan had a gun pulled on him while he was in Brazil for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the 26-year-old prizefighter has said.
Conlan, who went into the Rio Games as the amateur world champion at bantamweight, hit headlines around the world for his reaction after suffering a controversial defeat to Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin in a quarterfinal bout most observors believed he had dominated.
Amateur boxing’s ruling body, AIBA, suspended all 36 judges from the Olympics in Rio following a series of questionable verdicts including Conlan’s controversial quarterfinal loss.
But the Belfast boxer told American sports broadcaster ESPN that events in Brazil took a turn for the worst following his elimination.
“I ended up moving out of the (Olympic) village to stay in an apartment with my mom, my dad and my fiancee,” he told ESPN.
“Me and my dad had to go back to the village to get things. We were heading back in the taxi and we had this gun pulled on us.
“This taxi driver was driving like an absolute a****** and this guy pulled us over and pointed a gun straight through the window - a big Desert Eagle - right at his (the driver’s) face.”
He continued: “I looked at my father, he was across the car from me and he said ‘don’t move, stay calm’.
“I was in a mood anyway. My dreams had already been shattered. My only dream as an amateur boxer was to be an Olympic champion and I had that dream stolen from me. At the time, I couldn’t really give two fingers that there was a guy stood in front of me with a big Desert Eagle.”
Conlan now competes in the paid ranks and is due to contest his 10th professional bout against Englishman Jason Cunningham on December 22, on the undercard of fellow Belfast boxer Carl Frampton’s bout with Josh Warrington on December 22.
“Jason is a good opponent,” Conlan told ESPN.
“He’s a southpaw, he’s been in there with some good fighters in recent times.
“It’s a step in the right direction for me in terms of my progression and it’s a test I’m looking forward to.”