Headline NewsNews

Vladimir Nikitin promises to beat ‘bitter’ Michael Conlan ‘once again’

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is liffey-crane-hire-1.jpg

Vladimir Nikitin [3(0)-0] is confident he will defeat a ‘bitter’ Michael Conlan [12(7)-0]in New York on December 14.

The former Olympic rivals will belatedly collide at Madison Square Garden on a huge Top Rank bill headlined by Terence Crawford vs. Egidijus Kavaliauskas in Madison Square Garden.

Conlan is looking for Rio 2016 revenge in the the rebooked rematch and wants to put the Russian behind him once and for all.

However, Nikitin is adamant he will win what will actually be a third fight between the pair.

Despite being the benefactor of one of the worst ever Olympic scorecards, the 29-year-old comes into the rescheduled return in bullish form.

Indeed, he claims the Belfast feather has done too much talking about their previous fight and is bitter over being beaten, something he assures will happen again..

“Michael Conlan has done a lot of talking about me and our Olympic fight over the last few years. The talking finally ends December 14,” Nikitin said.

“He’s bitter over our last fight and can’t accept the result. Well, my hand will be raised once again.”

The World Championships gold medal winner was set to face the Russian at the massive Féile an Phobail show in early August.

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 claiming injury.

At that time it looked that any chance of seeing the pair fight again was gone. Three fight novice Nikitin seemed to represent too much of a step back for the world title hungry Conlan, who is unbeaten in 12 and ranked in the top 10 by three of the governing bodies.

However, the Adam Booth trained fighter still has a desire to set the record straight- and claims there remains fan interest in the revenge mission.

“Once he pulled out last time, he was in the rear-view mirror and I was done with him,” explained Conlan.

“I thought I’d be too far into my career by the time it could happen again and I certainly didn’t think it’d be my first fight after the homecoming because of the severity of his ‘injury.’

“Thankfully, the fight is still appealing to me and the general public. I think it actually makes it bigger because he pulled out and therefore more people are anticipated it.

“I believe this fight still grabs people’s attention because of everything that happened in Rio and getting to see someone try to right a wrong. December 14 is a very important and exciting night in my career.”


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