Boxing | Michael Conlan to face Vladimir Nikitin in Belfast

Boxing | Michael Conlan to face Vladimir Nikitin in Belfast
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Michael Conlan will face Vladimir Nikitin in Belfast this summer.

The Belfast boxer (11-0) will take on the Russian at Falls Park on the 16th of August in a grudge match which has been touted ever since both fighters turned pro with Bob Arum’s Top Rank.

Conlan – who wants revenge against the man who controversially beat him at the Rio Olympics in 2016 – confirmed the news on his Twitter page, uploading a stirring video which included the words “REVENGE will be sweet!!”

The 27-year-old was denied victory against Nikitin in the bantamweight quarter-final at Rio in one of the most controversial Olympic boxing decisions of all time.

The Irishman reacted angrily to the decision, and embarked on a passionate rant which saw him brand the International Boxing Association (AIBA) as cheats.”I was here to win Olympic gold, my dream’s been shattered now,” an emotional Conlan told RTÉ Sport afterwards.

“But you know what, I’ve a big career ahead of me and these ones, they’re known for being cheats and they’ll always be cheats. 

“Amateur boxing stinks from the core to the top.”

An official Rio Olympics report from Irish boxing team manager Joe Hennigan later claimed the fight was fixed.

Conlan – who was the reigning World Amateur Bantamweight champion and had won Bronze in the 2012 Olympics at Flyweight – turned pro in September of that year.

Two months later, all 36 judges who officiated in Rio were suspended while the AIBA conducted a thorough investigation.

August’s clash against Nikitin on the Falls Road will be his second pro fight on home soil.

Conlan has won all 11 of his fights since making the move in the professional ranks, accumulating six stoppages in that time, while Nikitin has won all three of his pro bouts to date.

Nikitin, who will enter the fight as the underdog, has vowed to show the world that his victory in Rio was no fluke.

 “I am coming to Michael’s hometown during their biggest festival to show everyone my Olympic victory was not a fluke,” Nikitin claimed.

“This is going to be repeat, not revenge.”

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