Michael Conlan has dismissed comparisons with fellow elite amateur Shakur Stevenson and is more interested in exacting retribution on Vladimir Nikitin.
Conlan, who won a world title in the unpaid ranks, suffered an infamous points decision reverse to Nikitin at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the Russian has since joined him in turning professional.
Like Conlan, Stevenson – an Olympic silver medallist – boasts an 8-0 record and with the featherweights two of the most promising prospects in boxing, plenty has been made of a potential future match-up between the two. Not, though, by Conlan himself.
Conlan said: “People will make comparisons between me and Shakur and want me to contribute to it but I don’t focus on anybody apart from myself. If he wins a world title before I do, so be it. It doesn’t have any effect on my journey.
“If there was someone who I was slightly focused on, the only person I have in mind is the Russian Nikitin from the Rio Olympics. I want to right that wrong then my focus will turn to something else.
“Shakur has performed well and I know he’s talented. I give him respect but to me he’s just another possible future opponent. He and his people are just mentioning me so often to try and gain publicity.
“His publicist talks all this rubbish about me because I sold out Madison Square Garden. American athletes didn’t do that and so they were just clutching at straws with the whole thing.
“I’ve said since the start of my career that 2019 is the year I wanted to win a world title. It might be at the end of that year so I can get as much time and experience as possible. I feel I’m on course to be thereabouts by then. I turned professional to challenge myself.”
Conlan returns to action under the bright lights in Las Vegas on October 20.
Roye rejoices as MTK Manchester upgrades to new gym
Johnney Roye has moved the MTK Manchester gym to a fantastic facility in an old school building in Preston with improved access for nearby schools and the local community.
The new gym – located at The Presbytery, Lostock Hall, 17a Brownedge Rd, Lostock Hall, Preston PR5 5AA – will open on November 1 and Roye is delighted by the prospect of increased access for young fighters.
Roye said: “I’m absolutely made up. This is the first time we’ve been able to achieve a position between various estates and schools in order to serve the community better. The passing trade is going to take off.
“There are so many improvements because of the size of the building. There will be women’s-only boxing classes and our mini-Mayweather classes for the youngsters, who will now be starting at just five years of age rather than the previous starting age of 10.
“This area we live in is full of talent and there are so many kids in our surrounding area who do not have enough to do because of the closure of various youth clubs in the area. This will be vital for them.
“With this move, we’ll see an increase in the amounts of students with kids from all kinds of backgrounds. There’ll be some real talent coming through. We’ve been doing really well but now we’re going to be doing even better.
“Under the banner of MTK Global, we’re going to be a lot more productive in the community, helping people and achieve better results because of it.”
Roye himself – a former British, European, Commonwealth and world kickboxing champion – began boxing at the age of seven at Sale ABC.