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Conlan finds new opponent after Russian Olympic rival withdraws through injury

The Belfast fighter will now face Argentine Diego Alberto Ruiz in his hometown next month.

This will be Conlan's first bout since St Patrick's Day.
This will be Conlan's first bout since St Patrick's Day.
Image: Emily Harney/INPHO

MICHAEL CONLAN WILL meet Argentine fighter Diego Alberto Ruiz in his hometown on 3 August. 

The Belfast native (11-0, 6 KOs) was originally due to face old nemesis Vladimir Nikitin in a grudge match, having lost out to the Russian in highly-controversial circumstances at the Rio Olympics three years ago. 

However, it was announced last week that Nikitin has withdrawn through injury after suffering a torn bicep.

Stepping up to replace him for the 10-round featherweight bout at Falls Park is 25-year-old Ruiz (21-2, 10 KOs).

Nicknamed ‘El Profeta’ (The Prophet), he has won his last 10 fights, but this will be his first time stepping into the ring outside his native Argentina. 

“When Vladimir Nikitin dropped out due to injury, I told Top Rank and MTK Global to get me the toughest possible opponent,” Conlan said.

“Ruiz is on a 10-fight winning streak, and I know he’s coming all the way from Argentina to continue his victorious ways.

This is my toughest test as a professional, but if I’m going to become a world champion, I must beat Ruiz. I’ve been busy in London with my trainer, Adam Booth, and I can’t wait to put on a show on 3 August.

“Maybe once I’m a world champion, I might give Nikitin a shot, but for now, I’m moving on because it was more stalling my career than advancing it in terms of the level I’m at.”

Conlan Ruiz Source: Boxing on BT Sport

“This is the biggest fight of my career,” added Ruiz. “This is a great opportunity to prove myself as a fighter.

“I fought 1 June, and I am going to be ready for whatever Michael brings. It won’t be an easy fight, but it is not an impossible task. I am not scared to fight on the road. That is my motivation because the pressure will be on him.”

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Ben Blake

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