Conlan gunning for Nikitin rematch

Michael Conlan wants to settle an old score after recording a convincing win in his homecoming bout in Belfast on Saturday night.

Conlan gunning for Nikitin rematch

Bernard O’Neill

Michael Conlan wants to settle an old score after recording a convincing win in his homecoming bout in Belfast on Saturday night.

The only Irish male boxer to claim World Elite gold in the amateur ranks beat Brazil’s former world title challenger Adeilson Dos Santos in the main event at the Odyssey Arena.

A rematch with Vladmir Nikitin is now on the cards in a repeat of the highly controversial Rio 2016 bantamweight quarter-final, which the Russian was adjudged to have won.

Michael Conlan plants a straight on the nose of Adeilson Dos Santos during their super featherweight bout in Belfast. Picture: Ramsey Cardy
Michael Conlan plants a straight on the nose of Adeilson Dos Santos during their super featherweight bout in Belfast. Picture: Ramsey Cardy

That decision — and other controversial verdicts — almost ended up costing boxing its Olympic status, with the International Olympic Committee expressing grave concerns about judging at the 31st Olympiad.

Nikitin turned pro with Conlan’s Top Rank USA stable following a disastrous move up to lightweight, which saw him trounced by Conlan’s former Irish team-mate Pat Mongan.

“That’s a match (Nikitin) I want, whether it’s here in Belfast or whether it’s in New York. It doesn’t bother me as long as I get the rematch,” said unbeaten Conlan now on eight wins at Dos Santos’ expense.

The London 2012 bronze medallist was on top for most of the eight rounds against the experienced Sao Paulo orthodox, with ref Phil Edwards scoring in Conlan’s favour by 7 frames to 1 (79-73).

“I felt he was smart and high pressure. I’ve still a lot to learn. I’d give it a six out of 10. That’s part of learning. I’ll do what I have to do to get there (title shot) and get there when I need to get there, but I will be there,” Conlan added.

Former World flyweight champion Dave ‘Boy’ McAuley feels 26-year-old Conlan is up to two years out from being the finished article.

Conlan is nowhere near ready for a world title shot yet, and I would say he’s at least a year away, possibly two years. Right now, he’s a very good prospect and after that performance tonight he’s still a very good prospect.

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