Conlan-Nikitin to stream LIVE in the United States on ESPN+
Ticket details for this summer’s monumental grudge match between Michael Conlan and Vladimir Nikitin at Féile an Phobail have been announced.
Tickets go on sale at 9am TOMORROW (Friday, May 17) as #TheConlanRevolution prepares to welcome the Russian to the West Belfast festival on August 3.
Conlan suffered a famously controversial Olympic decision defeat to Nikitin back in 2016, with their long-anticipated rematch part of the biggest community festival in Europe.
A former world amateur champion, Conlan has breezed to 11-0, 6 KOs as a professional, while Nikitin is currently 3-0 having turned professional in July 2018.
Conlan said: “I want to right a wrong that should never have been written. Nikitin will get a horrendous reception but I imagine he’ll be revelling in it too.”
Féile an Phobail Director Kevin Gamble said: “For over 30 years Féile has set out to showcase the best of Belfast and there’s no better feeling than welcoming one of our own to Falls Park, who’s part of the DNA of West Belfast and a hero to many in our area.”
Top Rank Found Bob Arum said: “I’m so glad Michael has this chance to fight Nikitin in front of his own fans. It’s going to be a great night.”
MTK Global President Bob Yalen said: “I can’t wait to see Michael fight his arch-enemy. I’m even bringing my wife over from the States to see this atmosphere. You should be there!”
Tickets will be available from Ticketmaster online and from Ticketmaster outlets, with prices from £30.
Michael “Mick” Conlan’s amateur career ended in controversy and a pair of middle fingers. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Conlan appeared to have bested Russian standout Vladimir Nikitin in the 56-kilogram quarterfinals. The judges disagreed, and Conlan responded with a memorable double middle-finger salute.
Almost three years to the day since Conlan flashed those digits, the Olympic rivals will run it back in the paid ranks, this time on Irish soil.
Conlan will face Nikitin in a 10-round featherweight bout Saturday, Aug. 3 in a massive outdoor fight at Falls Park in his home city of Belfast. Conlan-Nikitin will take place as part of the annual Féile an Phobail, Europe’s largest community festival.
Conlan-Nikitin will stream live in the United States beginning at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT on ESPN+, the leading multi-sport streaming service, on a special international edition of Top Rank on ESPN.
“This is the opportunity for Mick Conlan to right what most observers felt was an injustice,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “That being said, Nikitin is a real aggressive fighter, and he believes that a victory over Conlan in August would cement the one he was given in the Rio Olympics.”
“I am delighted that I will be fighting Vladimir Nikitin in front of 10,000 fans,” Conlan said. “This is literally home turf for me and it is absolutely huge. I am West Belfast and Falls Road born and bred so this means everything to me. Vladimir Nikitin and I have unfinished business from the 2016 Olympics, and I can’t wait to set the record straight.”
“When I turned professional last year, the man I wanted to fight most was Michael Conlan,” Nikitin said. “Michael has said a lot of things since the Olympics about how he was robbed of a medal. Well, I am coming to his hometown during their biggest festival to show everyone my Olympic victory was not a fluke. This is going to be repeat, not revenge. Conlan will regret pushing for this fight. I beat him twice in the amateurs and will do the same as a pro. It will feel even sweeter to beat him in his hometown. Belfast, here I come!”
“The fight with Vladimir Nikitin has been talked about for a long time now, and MTK Global and Top Rank have worked extremely hard along with Féile an Phobail to make it happen,” said Jamie Conlan, Professional Development Manager, MTK Global. “Michael Conlan is coming home for one of the biggest fight nights Belfast will have ever seen.”
Conlan (11-0, 6 KOs) entered the pro ranks as one of Ireland’s most beloved sporting figures, having earned an Olympic bronze medal in 2012 and gold medals at both the European and World Championships in 2015. He was favored to win Olympic gold in 2016, but Nikitin and the judges thwarted those plans. “The Conlan Revolution” turned pro in front of a sold-out Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden crowd on St. Patrick’s Day in 2017. He won the vacant WBO Intercontinental featherweight belt last December in Manchester, England, besting Jason Cunningham via unanimous decision. In his last bout, in front of a raucous St. Patrick’s Day crowd at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Conlan defeated Ruben Garcia Hernandez over 10 rounds.
Nikitin (3-0, 0 KOs) did not turn pro immediately following the 2016 Olympics, electing to fight as an amateur throughout 2017. He signed a professional contract in 2018 with Top Rank, in large part because he wanted to face Conlan as a pro. Nikitin’s come-forward style has translated to the pro ranks, as he’s won a trio of clear-cut unanimous decisions. He has fought on the same card as Conlan twice as a professional. The message was clear: Conlan and Nikitin were destined to meet again.
Kevin Gamble, Féile an Phobail Director, added: “Michael Conlan is a local hero from Cavendish Street on the Falls Road here in west Belfast.
“He is an inspiration to so many young people, showing what dedication, commitment and hard work can achieve.
“Last year Michael said he wanted to fight this summer in the Falls Park as part of Féile an Phobail. We have worked non-stop since then with Jamie Conlan and MTK Global and with Top Rank Boxing, to make this happen, and now it is confirmed.
“On Saturday 3 August, Féile an Phobail will be immensely proud to host a major 8,000 capacity fight night at our event space in the Falls Park in west Belfast headlined by Michael Conlan.”
Top Rank Boxing Chairman Bob Arum said: “This is the opportunity for Mick Conlan to put right what most observers felt was an injustice.
“That being said, Nikitin is a real aggressive fighter, and he believes that a victory over Conlan in August would cement the one he was given in the Rio Olympics.”
Nikitin (3-0) has won all three of his fights since turning professional, and he’s relishing the chance to share the ring with Conlan again.
Nikitin said: “When I turned professional last year, the man I wanted to fight most was Michael Conlan. Michael has said a lot of things since the Olympics about how he was robbed of a medal.
“Well, I am coming to his hometown during their biggest festival to show everyone my Olympic victory was not a fluke. This is going to be repeat, not revenge.
“Conlan will regret pushing for this fight. I beat him twice in the amateurs and will do the same as a pro. It will feel even sweeter to beat him in his hometown. Belfast here I come!”
MTK Global Professional Development Coordinator Jamie Conlan added: “This is the fight that Michael has been waiting for. It will be an incredible occasion.
“The fight with Nikitin has been talked about for a long time now and MTK Global and Top Rank Boxing have worked extremely hard along with Féile an Phobail to make it happen.
“Michael Conlan is coming home for one of the biggest fight nights Belfast will have ever seen. Details of the undercard will be made public in the next two weeks. Belfast is the city to be in on the weekend of August 3 this year.”
It will finally happen, in front of more than 10,000 of Conlan’s rowdiest supporters. Will it be Rio Revenge or another shining moment for Nikitin?
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