With bookmaker's odds of 1-7 to advance to the men's bantamweight semi-finals and secure at least a bronze medal, it wasn't just his Irish compatriots fancying Michael Conlan to defeat Vladimir Nikitin on Tuesday in Rio.
However, despite the Irishman seemingly having the edge in an enjoyable and hard-fought first round, all three judges gave it to Nikitin.
Few people panicked, as it was a fairly tight round. But when Conlan comfortably led the second and third only for the judges to award the contest to the Russian, uproar ensued.
Not only did the crowd in attendance gasp and boo the decision, but social media blew a collective gasket - fans, neutrals and media alike.
What didn't help matters, as popular boxing site Bad Left Hook noted on Twitter, was that Nikitin arguably lost his round-of-16 fight to Thailand's Chatchai Butdee, too.
However, the man who defeated Britain's bantamweight hope Qais Ashfaq and boasts an Asian gold and World bronze was somehow also ruled to have lost to Russia's representative.
After Irish boxing legend and leading medal hope Katie Taylor went out in the first bout in her Olympic title defence (which was debatable, though perhaps not as blatantly incorrect as the two Nikitin victories), it appears that the Ireland contingent - and especially Conlan - have had enough.
"AIBA cheats, He f**king cheats. That's me, I'll never box for AIBA again, they're cheating bastards, they're paying everybody," he said in a sensational TV interview with RTE moments after the decision.
"I don't give a f**k for cursing on TV. That's the end of my Olympic gold. My dream has been shattered now.
"I have a big career ahead of me. These ones are known for being cheats, they have always been cheats. Amateur boxing stinks from the core right to the top.
"Katie yesterday, I don't know why she lost that fight. It was a close fight but she didn't lose.
"Today, I thought I boxed the ears off him in the first round, and they ruled against me. I had to go to his fight, which I did , outfought him and they were just being a bit.
"It's a shambles to be honest. I don't even care what I say now. I'm gutted from the bottom of my heart. I wanted to go back a gold medal to Ireland."
After the decision, Conlan ripped off his boxing vest before giving thumbs-down and middle-finger gestures in what appeared to be the direction of the judges' positions and the camera crew filming the Games live.
He then stormed over to a ringside interviewer where he gave the above quotes.
To make matters worse for Conlan and other future opponents of Nikitin, the AIBA abolished the ability to appeal decisions as of this Games, here in Rio.