Nikitin ready to defy the odds when he comes to Belfast

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  Conlan is a prohibitive 1/25 favorite over Vladimir Nikitin (12/1) for their 10-round rematch in Belfast.

Conlan, who was robbed by the judges when he faced the Russian at the Sochi Olympics, will have the luxury of the partisan crowd this time. The superior fighter in 2016, Conlan has only increased the gap since then, winning multiple 8 and 10-round fights against stiffer competition than Nikitin has ever faced.
The Russian has never been longer than six rounds in his pro career and underwhelmed in a majority decision last time out. He will last the ten rounds in Belfast, but lose badly on the cards.
Yet the 29 year old remains confident of victory. Indeed, he believes he will stop the London 2012 Olympic medalist in the pro repeat.

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.”


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Jonny Stapleton 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: