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09th Dec 2017

Michael Conlan’s embracing the lowest point of his career and making it his own

Fair play

Ben Kiely

Michael Conlan

If the world was just, Michael Conlan would have two Olympic medals.

Unfortunately, life isn’t fair and Michael Conlan was robbed of a second Olympic medal at the 2016 Games.

Despite beating Vladimir Nikitin in the quarter-finals to the point where he was unable to continue in the competition, the judges gave the Russian the unanimous decision victory and Conlan was understandably furious.

After the decision came in, the Belfast man gave the judges the one-fingered salute before giving that iconic expletive-laden interview with RTE.

Michael Conlan

It was a dark day in Irish sport, the lowest point of Conlan’s amateur career but still, he has managed to make a positive out of a bleak situation.

That controversy gave him a forceful push into the professional circuit, where he has impressed with his performances that has justified him being one of the most promoted rising stars in the game.

That scene of him standing in the centre of the ring, arms outstretched, flipping the bird really struck a chord with fans too. It has reached the point now where when people come looking for photographs, Conlan is more than content to oblige and give them the pose they want.

Michael Conlan

When he’s asked about why he’s so willing to give camera phones the finger for the sake of a social media post, Conlan admits he doesn’t really care about the significance of it or it’s literal meaning. He doesn’t want to deny his fans what they want, and they really do want it.

When Conor McGregor ensured that TJ Dillashaw would forever be known as the ‘snake in the grass,’ the UFC bantamweight champion adopted it as his moniker and as his logo. He turned what was originally a nasty situation on its head and started owning it.

Conlan’s doing that too, as you can see from the new line of hats that will be available in the new year.

Fair play.

image credit: ESNews