THE rise of Michael Conlan is worth following. The man from Belfast was due to meet his Olympic nemesis Vladimir Nikitin at Falls Park this Saturday (August 3). The Russian pulled out of the bout due to an injury but the show, a special event with the homecoming of a local hero, went on.
Diego Ruiz was the game stand in for Nikitin, but Conlan was always in control. He hurt Ruiz in the eighth round and halted him in the following session, punishing the Argentine with body shots.
“I know I am not the biggest puncher in the world but I have enough to make people respect me,” Conlan said. “I know I can beat anybody when I box but I know people get bored of that.
“I maybe should do it all the time because the less damage you take in the ring the more life you get in boxing, but I know these fans wanted the finish and I’m happy I gave the fans that.”
On the undercard Chris Jenkins, stopped on cuts, escaped with a technical decision and the British welterweight title from Paddy Gallagher.
Irish middleweight Luke Keeler secured a big win when he beat Luis Arias, outpointing the top American after 10 rounds.