Fight for the people – Jamie Conlan predicts Rio revenge will be sweet for all of Ireland

Michael Conlan [11(60-0] can offset some heavy baggage and make his trip along the road to a world title all the easier with victory in Belfast on August 3 suggests his big brother.

The London 2012 bronze medal winner takes on Rio 2016 quarter final ‘villain’ Vladimir Nikitin during this Summer’s Feile- and while it’s a big high profile event that can only benefit the career of the Top Rank fighter Jamie Conlan points out it’s also important for other reasons.

Jamie Conlan is eager for the Adam Booth trained fighter to put Nikitin behind him. The former world title challenger suggests the Russian and one of the biggest injustices in amateur boxing history are all that fans recall of his brothers glittering amateur career – and he is delighted that Team Conlan now have the chance to put that to bed.

The Belfast fighter turned boxing manager wants world titles fights to become the new narrative, but believes Nikitin has to be dealt with first.

“It’s good we can finally put this to bed and then focus on the bigger picture and the picture we should be attaching Michael too. That picture is becoming world champion and becoming a great fighter,” Conlan explained.

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“This won’t define him either. It’s just another step in the right direction and it will clear all his Rio previous along the way. People don’t remember he was a World champion, people don’t remember he was Olympic bronze medalist, people don’t remember he was European champion or he won the Commonwealth games. What people remember is Rio and Nikitin.”

Conlan hopes victory on August 3 will help people create new and happier pro memories as the talented prospect sets about fulfilling his potential.

However, while there is a feeling of ‘get this over with’ and those around Conlan will be overjoyed to have put all things Nikitin to bed, Jamie Conlan is looking forward to the healing August 3 will bring.

The man who negotiated the fight points out the whole of Ireland was left hurt after the by now infamous robbery and believes the country will get behind this revenge mission as well as rejoice in.

“I am delighted it’s on. Especially for the people of West Belfast, Belfast and the people of Ireland. Everyone that tuned in on RTE and the BBC they seen it, they felt as aggrieved as Mick they were able to connect on an emotional level with Michael and then Nikitin attached to Michael. The Feile is a festival for the people and this will be a fight for the people.”


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Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: