Nikitin looking to leap frog Conlan in race for Rio tonight

Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin can move into second spot in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) Individual bantamweight rankings with victory in Moscow tonight.

The AIBA World No. 4 is slated to line out versus Khalil Litim of the Algeria Desert Hawks at the Sports Palace in the Russian capital.

Tonight’s meeting between Russia and the Hawks was originally due to take place in the opening week of the 2014/15 season but was postponed because of poor weather.

The top two bantamweights at the end of the WSB regular term this month will qualify for Rio.

Azerbaijan’s Magomed Gurbanov is in pole positions on 25 points in the bantam class, four ahead of second place Conlan. Nikitin is in 6th place on 19 points.

However, if he wins on a unanimous decision, KO or TKO (five points) or a split decision (four points) tonight he will move into second place and Conlan will drop to third.

Gurbanov, Conlan, who boxes for Italia Thunder in the WSB, and Nikitin have one fight each left after tonight on April 17/18.

Nikitin, who was beaten by John Joe Nevin in the semi-finals of the 2013 European Elite Championships in Belarus, beat Conlan in the quarter-finals of the 2013 AIBA World Elite Championships in Kazakhstan, but Conlan, a bronze medallist for Ireland at the London 2012 Olympics, had moved up from fly to bantam for the first time for the World Elite Championships.

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