Boxing

World Title On The Cards After Michael Conlan Avenges Rio Defeat

World Title On The Cards After Michael Conlan Avenges Rio Defeat

Michael Conlan avenged the most significant loss of his career against Vladimir Nikitin last night, setting up a possible world title shot back in his home city next summer.

The Belfast boxer controversially lost to the Russian in the Olympic quarter-final in 2016, but he has finally made up for that loss within the amateur ranks by cruising to a unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden. At the end of ten rounds, the scorecards read 100-90, 99-91, 98-92, ultimately stretching Conlan's unbeaten start in the professional ranks to 13.

Speaking to ESPN in the ring after the fight, Conlan said:

I feel like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. I'm happy now that it's done, now that it's gone to bed.

I've always said no ill-feeling towards Vladimir, nothing was personal. I just needed to get that one back.

Attention now turns towards a potential world title fight, possibly in Belfast as soon as next August. In the lead-up to the fight, Conlan's promoter, Bob Arum, claimed the objective was now to get a world title fight to Belfast after the 28-year-old first fights back in New York on St Patrick's Weekend.

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When quizzed after when he thinks a world title fight will take place, Conlan responded: "Within the next 12 months."

However, the Irishman was reluctant to call out any names after the fight, instead pointing towards more pressing priorities over the next few weeks.

I want to enjoy this. I want a Christmas dinner with ham and all the trimmings.

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Aonghus Ó Maicín

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