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Rio revenge as Michael Conlan scores wide win against Olympic nemesis Nikitin

Conlan wins 100-90, 99-91, and 98-92 to improve his unbeaten pro record.

Conlan: comfortable winner in the Garden.
Conlan: comfortable winner in the Garden.

MICHAEL CONLAN DREW a line under his Rio 2016 Olympic robbery last night as he beat Vladimir Nikitin and said: “Now we can put this chapter of my career behind me”.

Conlan (13-0, 7 KOs) was an easy winner on the judges’ cards after 10 rounds against his familiar Russian foe (3-1, 0 KOs) in Madison Square Garden.

The Belfast featherweight extended his unbeaten professional record and retained his WBO Intercontinental title by scores of 100-90, 99-91, and 98-92.

Conlan was widely tipped to bring home an Olympic medal for Ireland in 2016 but infamously came out on the wrong side of a judging controversy when he lost to Nikitin in the quarter-finals.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum later signed both fighters to professional terms, paving the way for last night’s grudge match.

“It was a lot of pressure going into that fight, but it’s nice to get it done. I just needed to get that one back,” said Conlan, who was cut on his right eye.

“I needed to right this wrong. Full credit to Nikitin, who fought his heart out.

“There’s no bad blood. There never was. Now, we can put this chapter of my career behind me.”

Elsewhere on the card, WBO world welterweight champion Terence Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) knocked down Egidijus Kavaliauskas three times before stopping the previously unbeaten Lithuanian (21-1-1, 17 KOs) in the ninth round of their main event.

And Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) won the IBF lightweight world title with a second-round stoppage against Richard Commey (29-3, 26 KOs).

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Niall Kelly

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