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Russian who 'beat' Conlan at Rio 2016 withdraws from their upcoming Belfast bout due to injury

The Irishman will instead face ‘an opponent that’ll be a harder fight than Nikitin would have been’.

Conlan after his 2016 Olympic quarter-final against Nikitin.
Conlan after his 2016 Olympic quarter-final against Nikitin.

MICHAEL CONLON WILL have to wait for his revenge chance against the Russian who ‘beat’ him at Rio 2016, after Vladimir Nikitin was forced to withdraw from their highly-anticipated upcoming bout due to injury.

The Irish and Russian 2016 Olympians were due to square off as professionals in Conlon’s hometown of Belfast this August, as part of Féile an Phobail at Falls Park.

Reports broke today that Conlan’s opponent was out, with confirmation coming this evening that Nikitin has sustained a torn bicep.

MTK Global have announced that Conlan (11-0) will still fight at the event, but he will face a new foe on 3 August.

His brother, Jamie, who is MTK Global professional development co-ordinator suggested that Michael will now take a bigger step up as he’s primed for “the hardest fight of his career”.

“These things happen in boxing and we’ll now be looking to bring in an opponent that’ll be a harder fight than Nikitin would have been,” Jamie said.

In some ways, Nikitin was a step back in terms of level and we all know it’s a match-up based on sentimentality. Instead, we’ll now seek a fight that will push Mick up the rankings quicker. It’ll be the hardest fight of his career.

“We are already in discussions with some high-class opponents to step up to the plate and we’ll be bringing the public news on that – along with further attractive match-ups on the bill – as soon as we can, so stay tuned.”

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Emma Duffy

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