Vladimir Nikitin To Fight On March 17, Wants Rematch Against Michael Conlan

Several fights have been added to Top Rank Boxing's upcoming St. Patrick's Day card, including one featuring Michael Conlan's former rival from the Olympics. 

The March 17 Top Rank on ESPN+ card, featuring Conlan in a special attraction fight, has announced that Vladimir Nikitin will take on Juan Tapia in a six-round featherweight bout. Nikitin won a controversial decision against Conlan that eliminated the Irish fighter during the 2016 Olympics, prompting him to publicly voice his disgust with the officiating and even threw up a middle finger which has become one of the most memorable images from boxing in the Olympics that year.

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Nikitin would go on to win a bronze medal in the 2016 Olympics and made his pro debut in July 2018. Nikitin has won both of his pro bouts by unanimous decision with the last one being against Clay Burns last October in Las Vegas.

In a press release, Nikitin said he wants a rematch against Conlan down the line.

"The fight I want after I take care of business on March 17 is Michael Conlan,” Nikitin said. “He wants revenge, and I want to show everyone that I was, and still am, the superior fighter. I respect Michael and his team. While there is no bad blood outside the ring, we have unfinished business inside the ring."

Also announced for the undercard is former world title challenger Paddy Barnes facing Oscar Mojica in a six-rounder at bantamweight. Barnes unsuccessfully challenged for the WBC flyweight title in his last fight this past August in Northern Ireland.

The following fights were also announced for the undercard, also being streamed on ESPN+.

  • Joseph Adorno vs. Victor Rosas: Lightweight bout
  • Josue Vargas vs. Adriano Ramirez: Junior welterweight bout
  • John Bauza vs. Ricardo Maldonado: Junior welterweight bout
  • Lee Reeves vs. Eduardo Torres: Welterweight bout

The card will be headlined by a welterweight fight between Luis Collazo and Samuel Vargas. Conlan will also face off against Ruben Garcia Hernandez in a featherweight bout. The event will take place from the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

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