The odds may be stacked against him both literally and figuratively, but Vladimir Nikitin is coming to Belfast to ruin Michael Conlan’s Rio revenge mission this Summer.
The Russian featherweight, who ‘defeated’ the Belfast fighter at the Rio Olympics via one of the sports most controversial results ever, will rematch Conlan in the pros on August 3.
The Top Rank puncher will be public enemy #1 when he arrives to fight on the Belfast fighters door step in front of over 8,000 fans as part of the Feile festival.
According to the betting sites on Mytopsportsbooks.com Conlan is a prohibitive 1/25 favorite over Vladimir Nikitin (12/1) for their 10-round rematch in Belfast.
Indeed, the Komi puncher claims he will register a third round knockout of Conlan to make 3-0 in his favour.
“One things for certain he wholeheartedly believes he is going to destroy Mick,” Jamie Conlan, who was chief negotiator in terms of making the fight, explained before describing a rather tense conversation with the Russian.
“When I sat down with him and Egis [Klimas, Nikitin’s manager] I tried to be diplomatic. I said ‘look if you lose we will guarantee your looked after. We will guarantee you x amount of fights’ and that kind of thing.”
“Then he said to me ‘I beat him twice before’. He put his two fingers up ‘not once, when no cameras were on I beat him’. I said ‘I seen that fight and you didn’t beat him then either’, it’s on YouTube.”
“He kept saying ‘I will beat him, I will beat him’. He said within three rounds. He really thinks he will beat Michael.”