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Michael Conlan out for revenge against Olympic nemesis Vladimir Nikitin at Madison Square Garden

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Undefeated featherweight contender Michael Conlan 12-0 (7) will be looking for revenge when he takes on amateur nemesis Vladimir Nikitin 3-0 in a 10-round bout at New York’s Madison Square Garden this Saturday night.

Russia’s Nikitin, 29, twice defeated Conlan as an amateur, including in their 2016 Olympic quarterfinal bout, a decision that sparked international controversy.

“Mick Conlan gets his chance for revenge. You all know the story,” said promoter Bob Arum.

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“When most people thought he’d won his fight in the Olympics and Nikitin was given the nod, now they have a chance in professional boxing for revenge, a rematch. And that will be of interest to fans all over the world.”

Despite the controversy surrounding their Olympic bout, the 28-year-old Irishman insists the fight is strictly business.

“This is straight business for me. There is no personal or emotional attachment to it,” said Conlan.

“Vladimir, obviously he beat me in 2013 when I moved up to bantamweight. 2016, he got the decision, but he knows deep down he needs to prove something because his career will always be remembered for losing to me in the Olympics.

“He’s gotta prove something Saturday night. I don’t believe he will. I’ve prepared fully, and I’ve been training for 14 or 13 weeks for this camp. I’m ready for anything Saturday night.

“It’s very fitting for me to be boxing here, having this rematch in MSG. This is where I restarted my boxing career after the Olympics, and this is where I’ll close the chapter.

“We’ll put everything in the past and we’ll stop talking about him because I’m fed up with it. I just want to take care of business and move on.”

Nikitin says he sees Conlan as just another steppingstone in his burgeoning career.

“I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I won two bouts against him in the amateurs and, right now, this is just another big step in my professional career,” said Nikitin.

“I fought my last fight here at the [Hulu Theater] at Madison Square Garden. I’ve been in the arena. This is the next step in my professional career. I am preparing for every fight [the same]. It doesn’t matter.

“I’m ready for 10 rounds. We’ll see what will happen in the ring.”

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