Michael Conlan claims the burden of proof is on Vladimir Nikitin

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Michael Conlan is ready to put Vladimir Nikitin in his rear view mirror once and for all.

The Belfast featherweight world title hopeful rematches his Rio rival and can get Olympic redemption in none other than Madison Square Garden tonight.

The Top Rank fighter is looking forward to the fight and getting one over on his old amateur rival after two defeats – one a lot more legitimate than the other – but seems equally happy to be done with the Russian, who he was initially scheduled to face in August, once an for all.

“It’s very fitting for me to be boxing here, having this rematch in MSG. This is where I re-started my boxing career after the Olympics, and this is where I’ll close the chapter,” said Conlan.

“We’ll put everything in the past and we’ll stop talking about him because I’m fed up with it. I just want to take care of business and move on.” 

Although he has played up to the redemption theme throughout fight week, Conlan, who Bob Arum predicts could challenge for a world title in Belfast this coming August, claims tonight is about victory more so than revenge.

This is straight business for me. There is no personal or emotional attachment to it.”

Conlan also points out that he has nothing to prove going into the fight seen as he was the rightful victor when the pair last meet in the Summer of 2016.

In fact he claims the burden of proof lies with the his opponent at the Garden.

“Vladimir, obviously he beat me in 2013 when I moved up to bantamweight. 2016, he got the decision, but he knows deep down he needs to prove something because his career will always be remembered for losing to me in the Olympics.

“He’s gotta prove something Saturday night. I don’t believe he will. I’ve prepared fully, and I’ve been training for 14 or 13 weeks for this camp. I’m ready for anything Saturday night.”


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