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A Pro Fight Between Michael Conlan And His Olympic Rival Just Became Inevitable

A Pro Fight Between Michael Conlan And His Olympic Rival Just Became Inevitable
By Gavan Casey Updated
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Olympic silver medallist and US amateur boxing sensation Shakur Stevenson has confirmed that he is to join his one-time Rio rival Michael Conlan in the professional ranks.

Stevenson, who was coached by Billy Walsh in the amateurs, has signed on the dotted line with Conlan's promoters, Top Rank, despite being courted by Mayweather Promotions since last August.

The 19-year-old failed in his bid to become the first US amateur since Andre Ward in 2004 to win Olympic gold when he lost to Cuban two-time Olympic champion - and Conlan's 2012 conqueror - Robeisy Ramirez. Ironically, Boxing Scene report that Ward, who is currently a world champion in the light-heavyweight division, will manage Stevenson in his pro career.

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Stevenson was granted a walkover to the Olympic final when Conlan's victorious quarter-final opponent, Vladimir Nikitin, was forced to withdraw due to what Russia maintains was injury. The judges' robbery of Conlan in that quarter-final cost boxing fans the opportunity to watch Conlan and Stevenson trade leather in the Olympic semis.

Now under the same promotional banner, however, it seems inevitable that the Olympic nemeses will scrap a few years down the line, and probably for a lot of money.

Conlan told Irish-boxing.com:

I’m delighted he’s signed with Top Rank, it means our fight that never happened in Rio now has a great possibility of happening – with some time for it to build and grow into something special.

Hopefully by the time it happens we are fighting for a title, or titles, and for a lot of money.

Meanwhile, over on Twitter, there was plenty of excitement about a potential pro scrap between two of the most talented amateurs to ditch the vests in recent years.

Conlan and Stevenson - and the fight that got away - will be a fascinating dynamic as both fighters embark on their professional journeys. Billy Walsh's phone will be busy when they do eventually square off.

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