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Russian Revenge back on? Arum suggests Conlan v Nikitin could be an option for December

The Russian revenge mission may be back on according to Bob Arum.

The Top Rank boss will use Michael Conlan [12(7)-0] in one of three big December 14 fights at Madison Square Garden – and suggested a fight with Rio 2016 foe Vladimir Nikitin [3-0] may be an option for the Belfast fighter.

The World Championships gold medal winner was set to face the Russian who was in the opposite corner when he was infamously cheated out of a place in the semi finals of the Rio Olympic Games at the massive Feile an Phobail show earlier this month.

However, weeks before the proposed top of the bill clash for a 10,000 Falls Park sell out was due to take place Nikitin pulled out through injury.

The fighter who was signed by Top Rank with a rematch in mind cited bicep injuries as the reason he wouldn’t be travelling to Belfast.

Indeed, his team indicated he injured both biceps and did such damage he would be absent for the ring for sometime.

The news prompted everyone to accept that the rematch ship had sailed and the revenge mission was over.

The only reason for the Adam Booth trained Irish fighter to fight his promotional stablemate was narrative. It was a good story line, but Nikitin hasn’t yet done enough in the ring to warrant a fight with a world title hopeful.

conlan nikitin

If that was the case for August it would appear the case for December, indeed it appeared as if Nikitin would have to reach world level to have any chance of fighting Conlan again.

Conlan has suggested as much and seems to have moved on. He is predicting a big a step up in terms of pre Christmas opponent and names like former world title holder Isac Dogboe have been mentioned.

However, boss man Arum likes the fight for New York and December and when speaking on Joe.ie’s podcast which is co hosted by another Belfast Top Rank operator Carl Frampton suggested it was a possibility.

Speaking of a big December 14 card set for Madison Square Garden Arum said: “Mick Conlan will be one of the fights. Maybe against the Russian if he has recovered. That would be interesting.

It was initially suggested Frampton would also appear on that card, but Arum hinted at having ‘The Jackal’, who he meet face to face for the first time last week, may be looking at an early January return.

Irish-boxing.com believes the Belfast fighter would prefer to fight before Christmas so December 14 may still be a possibility.

The veteran promoter also revealed he would be confident of getting the former two weight world champion a shot at one of the super featherweight world titles – and suggested a unification with Oscar Valdez if the Mexican can move up and claim a strap would be huge.




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 sports for a living for over 20 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