Jamie Conlan predicts happy ending to ‘one of boxing’s biggest storylines’

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Jamie Conlan claims the final chapter of ‘one of the biggest storylines ever in amateur boxing’ will play out in New York this December – and the recent world title challenger predicts it will have a happy ending for his brother.

Last night it was confirmed that Michael Conlan [12(7)-0] would finally the chance to secure Russian Rio revenge when he faces Vladimir Nikitin [3-0] on a massive Top Rank card come December 14.

The Belfast feather and his Top Rank counterpart will have a repeat of their by now infamous 2016 Olympic quarter-final, a bout that saw the then world amateur #1 somehow denied a second Olympic medal, on a card that includes two world title fights in Terence Crawford versus Egidijus Kavaliauskas and Richard Commey against Teofimo Lopez.

Such was the manner of the robbery it proved the catalyst for major changes in how the IOC will run boxing in Tokyo, indeed they have made sure there will be no AIBA involvement in the next Olympiad.

Then such was Conlan’s reaction to the reverse that the fight and the fingered salute made his robbery as infamous as Roy Jones versus Park Si-Hun.

As a result, Conlan’s older brother and manager, Jamie, believes it’s one of the biggest storylines ever to emerge from amateur boxing – and points out December 14 is the perfect chance for the final act to be told.

“This is fantastic for Mick and for boxing in general to see one of the biggest storylines ever in amateur boxing be resolved in the professional ranks,” said the former world title challenger, before predicting a happy ending for his brother.

“We all know Nikitin was a very solid amateur but I’m in no doubt there’s only one winner on the night and it’s Mick. It’s going to be a special occasion on a magnificent stage.”

Considering Nikitin has just three fights to Conlan’s 12 and the Belfast fighter has 2020 world title ambitions, the Russian represents a step back for one of Bob Arum’s favourites.

However, the elder Conlan believes it’s the perfect timing for the clash to play out – and points out once revenge is secured his brother will be straight back on the world title trail.

“It’s perfect timing to be fighting on a huge bill just before Christmas. The plan is for Mick to settle an old score and then enjoy some family time over the festive period before his next step up the ladder.

Speaking about the card Top Rank boss Bob Arum claimed the triple header is the best card of 2019.

“This is the best fight card of the year, and Madison Square Garden is a fitting venue for what will be a special night,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.

“Terence Crawford is a generational talent, but he’ll have his hands full against the ‘Mean Machine.’ Teofimo Lopez is taking a giant step up against Commey, and it will be a tremendous fight. Mick Conlan has been asking for Nikitin since the day he signed with Top Rank. He finally gets his wish, and I know he wants to correct the tremendous injustice of the Rio Olympics.”

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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com 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: editoririshboxing@gmail.com