Eying a potential rematch against Michael Conlan, Vladimir Nikitin among fighters competing on Top Rank’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend card
If you have an advantage against an opponent in the boxing world, it is a curious thing for the winner to want to face the “losing” star. In Vladimir Nikitin’s case, however, he wants to prevent a rising star from surpassing him. The 28-year-old Russian will get one step closer to facing the young Michael Conlan as he fights on the same St. Patrick’s Day weekend (March 17th) card inside Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater.
Featherweight Nikitin (2-0) faces off against Juan Tapia (8-2) in an undercard bout. Nikitin’s history with Conlan is well-known in many circles; Conlan was defeated by him in controversial fashion during the 2016 Rio Olympics. Nikitin had to then back out of the rest of the games due to injuries suffered during the Conlan fight. Now both professionals, Nikitin is willing to put his young career on the line to prove he is the better man.
“The fight I want after I take care of business on March 17 is Michael Conlan,” Nikitin stated in a press release. “He wants revenge, and I want to show everyone that I was, and still am, the superior fighter. I respect Michael and his team. While there is no bad blood outside the ring, we have unfinished business inside the ring.”
Since the Olympics, Conlan (10-0) has moved on to become the next “chosen one” of boxing, according to many experts. The current WBO Inter-Continental Featherweight Champion, the 27-year-old is scheduled to face Ruben Garcia in a highly-anticipated featured bout. A win against Garcia opens the door for a Nikitin match. Grudge bouts in boxing can lead to some great battles, and if everything goes according to plan, this potential clash is no exception.
The “main event” of the Top Rank card features Luis Collazo and Samuel Vargas. A rematch will also take place with Irishman Paddy Barnes (5-1) facing Oscar Mojica.
Tickets are still available for Conlan v. Garcia at Ticketmaster.com and the MSG box office.
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