It emerged yesterday that Vladimir Nikitin has pulled out of the Féile an Phobail headliner on Saturday August 3rd at the Falls Park in Belfast.
The controversial Russian featherweight withdrew due to a severely torn bicep which could rule out the pair’s pro meeting indefinitely.
It has been promised by Conlan’s manager and older brother, Jamie, that a stiffer test will be secured to replace the narrative and emotion-filled Nikitin match-up and there have already been some names reported.
The Irish News have spoken to the elder Conlan and the Belfast-based daily newspaper have revealed that an agreement has been reached with French contender Sofiane Takoucht.
However, Takoucht isn’t the only name in the frame, with European featherweight champion Andoni Gago also in talks along with “two or three” others.
Southpaw Takoucht [35(13)-3(0)-1] is a former European and European Union champion and is currently ranked #6 by the IBF having won and defended their ‘International’ rankings title. The 33-year-old is undefeated since 2014, with his defeats having come to former Jono Carroll foe Guillaume Frenois in a French title fight along with a pair of losses to Belgian-based Georgian Alexander Miskirtchian.
‘El Macho’ Gago [22(6)-3(1)-3] defended his European title earlier this month versus Jesus Sanchez and may be familiar to fans for his 2017 fight versus Lee Selby. The 34-year-old is also a target for Kildare’s Eric Donovan.
Whoever ends up facing Mick Conlan will be confirmed in the next couple of days.
Jamie Conlan explained to Andy Watters of the Irish News that “I’ve got two or three different options now and the number six in the world [Takoucht] is one of them, he has agreed to it. We’re speaking to the European champion Andoni Gago also and we are waiting on one or two other options so we should be able to announce something at the start of next week.”
Along with this announcement, confirmation is awaited on the status of the Luke Keeler v Gabriel Rosado clash which now looks to be the event’s chief support along with a further two or three undercard bouts.