By Jon Uddin✏
It’s sweet redemption for 🥉🇮🇪Michael Conlan. The undefeated Featherweight from Belfast took a 10 round unanimous decision over Olympic rival 🥉🇷🇺Vladimir Nikitin of Russia Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
The fight didn’t appear to be quite as wide as the final tallies that were read (100-90, 99-91, 98-92) after the fight was over, but Conlan (13-0-0, 7KO) seems to have put the grudge match to bed after getting the better of the game Nikitin (3-1-0, 0KO).
There was no fast charge to action at the sound of the bell from either man. The fight was cagey in the beginning with Conlan banking rounds by keeping the Russian at bay with his jab, and Nikitin looking for opportunities to close in. As the fight progressed, Nikitin’s aggression and pressure were effective in spurts when he took the fight to Conlan and created some good back and forth action that energized the crowd that had fallen tired of the chess match.
It appears the fight had a range of opinions as far as the scoring went, with the ringside observers having everything between 98-92 to 96-94 for Conlan and rumbles of a draw could be heard through the crowd. The judge who couldn’t seem to find a round for Nikitin may be on an island alone.
We will wait and see what the long term plans are for Nikitin after this. After the scores were read he clapped and congratulated Conlan on the win seeming to just be relieved everything with the Olympic storyline was done at this point. Now that his business with Nikitin is squared away, the question now becomes what’s next for Conlan? He wasn’t quite ready to make solid plans for his next fight in 2020, instead making the upcoming Christmas holiday his focus. He did however give the timeline of 12 months when asked how far off he was from a World Title shot. Next year will tell us if that timetable remains in tact or if he pushes ahead sooner.