It is being reported this evening that Vladimir Nikitin [3(0)-0] is OUT of his big fight with Mick Conlan in Belfast on Saturday August 3rd.
The Russian featherweight was due to rematch Belfast’s Conlan [11(6)-0] at the Falls Park as part of the Féile an Phobail in a rematch of their controversial Rio Olympic clash.
However, this evening, prominent U.S. boxing journalist Mike Coppinger has revealed that sources have informed him that Nikitin is out with an unspecified injury.
Sources tell @TheAthleticBOX Vladimir Nikitin is injured and withdrew from his fight with Michael Conlan slated for Aug. 3 in Belfast on ESPN+. Conlan will fight a replacement opponent. The fight was a rematch of their controversial 2016 Olympic quarterfinal bout
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) June 27, 2019
The show, which is already a near-sellout, will still go ahead and a new opponent for Conlan is being sourced.
Indeed, as many would argue, it will likely be a stiffer test for Conlan who, on paper, was taking a step down to take on Nikitin who has been unimpressive as a pro thus far.
However, it is undeniable that a withdrawal from the Russian would be a major blow for the profile of the card such was the narrative and the sporting theatre which envelops their rivalry.
Nikitin, whom Top Rank signed with the express purpose of matching with Conlan, boxed on the big St Patrick’s Day bill at Madison Square Garden and was engaged in a prolonged period of negotiations for this fight.
The Russian was not at the press conference to announce the bill last month but was said to be confident going into the ten-round fight.
If Nikitin is out it would be the second big withdrawal from the card this week after British super featherweight champ Sam Bowen pulled out of his defence versus Belfast’s Anto Cacace.
The card, which will be shown live on BT Sport and ESPN+, features undercard support from Sean McComb, Alfredo Meli, Paddy Barnes, Dee Sullivan, Sean Duffy, Padraig McCrory, and Callum Bradley – while a Luke Keeler v Gabriel Rosado fight has also been heavily mooted.
Conlan, or the show’s promoter, Top Rank, are yet to comment on the reports.