Michael Conlan's next opponent has been confirmed and it's a familiar name.
Michael Conlan will get a chance to settle an old score with the man that denied him a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Conlan will fight Vladimir Nikitin at Falls Park in Belfast on August 3. Both men have a perfect record since entering the pro ranks but Conlan has been more impressive since finishing up as an amateur.
The 27-year-old turned professional in September 2016, not long after his controversial defeat to Nikitin in Rio. Conlan dominated that fight but the judges didn't see it that way and it was the Russian who progressed into the semi-finals of the Bantamweight division. Nikitin was battered and bruised after his fight with Conlan and was unable to compete in his next bout against Shakur Stevenson.
It’s happening. The Payback. August 3rd, 2019. Falls Park, Belfast. I’ve wanted this fight from that day, August 16th 2016. REVENGE will be sweet!! #TheConlanRevolution #ConlanVNikitin pic.twitter.com/lcB4Tyqyi9
— Michael Conlan (@mickconlan11) May 14, 2019
Bob Arum's Top Rank signed Conlan when he turned pro three years ago and followed suit when Nikitin went pro last year. This fight has been on the cards since then and both boxers were on the same card on March 17 in New York. Conlan outpointed Mexican Ruben Garcia Hernandez in a 10-rounder, long after Nikitin was given a decision over American Juan Tapia.
Conlan has won all 11 professional bouts compared to the three of Nikitin so both will put their unbeaten records on the line in August. It's a fight that Conlan should win but there will still be a big crowd in Belfast to see their man avenge the defeat in Rio.
It's not a fight that Conlan needs but it's certainly one that can be sold due to the history around both men. It will be another fight for Conlan under the guidance of trainer Adam Booth and it also gives the Belfast public a chance to come out and cheer one of their own.
The 2015 World-Amateur Bantamweight champion believes he will win a world title in the pro ranks and has talked about facing current IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington in the future.