Just Business – revenge not a factor for Conlan as he prepares to rematch Nikitin


Michael Conlan is ready to do the business in a ‘makes good business sense’ fight come December 14.

The Belfast fighter looks set to fight Russian Vladimir Nikitin in New York on a big Top Rank-promoted show before the year is out.

No doubt the rescheduled bout will be sold as the ultimate revenge mission and be promoted using a ‘Rio Redemption’ tag line.

However, the 27 year-old world title hopeful is adamant he has made peace with the by now infamous events of Rio back in 2016 – indeed from a personal point of view the Madison Square Garden hosted clash is the same as any other for the Adam Booth trained fighter.

Once Nikitin, who was signed to Top Rank for rematch purposes pulled out of a proposed August 3 Falls Park bill topper with a torn bicep, Conlan put to bed any hopes of righting the Rio wrong.

The ticket seller on both sides of the Atlantic has since come to terms with the controversial manner in which he was denied his Olympic gold dream and thus says he has no ulterior motive to fight the Russian.

With revenge no longer a motivation Conlan would have preferred a tougher test come December, a fight that would have helped boost his world title hopes.

However, he understands why ESPN are pushing Nikitin and he is happy to oblige.  “To be honest I put it all to bed after he pulled out the last time. There is no need for me to have this fight in terms of myself. I am at peace with it,” Conlan explained to the BBC.

“I had agreed the big names like Isac Dogboe, who is now fighting Carl Frampton, but they have opted for different fights.

“ESPN said they want this fight. It makes a lot of sense for the media and the general public. Obviously to have it in the MSG, thousands of Irish will come to see it. There is history and I understand the business side to it. That’s what this is a business fight really. A fight I know I’ll win and a fight I’ll be prepared 100 percent for.”


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