Boxing

Michael Conlan versus Vladimir Nikitin: round by round

Michael Conlan moved to 13-0 with a unanimous points win over Vladimir Nikitin
Andy Watters

Round one

As expected, a low key opener and barely a punch landed in anger as the auld enemies feel each other out for the first two-and-a-half minutes. Conlan, boxing southpaw, gets through the guard of Nikitin – who is in boxing mode - with a couple of right hands to just about shade it. 10-9

Round two

More like the warrior-Nikitin we were expecting. He trapped Conlan in his corner and landed a booming left hook. Conlan took it well. Nikitin using a lot of energy and throwing more than he lands but he had another attack towards the end of the round and did enough to level it up. 9-10

Round three

The fighters’ legs tangled in the middle of the ring and Nikitin went down as Colan landed a left hook. Referee rules it a slip. Nikitin, crouching behind a tight guard, not leaving many gaps for Conlan to exploit or over-committing himself. Lands with a right hand but Conlan was busier over the three minutes. 10-9

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Round four

Best round so far for Conlan. Still boxing southpaw and has moved from mid to long range and dictating the action. Nikitin burrowing forward with his head down but not landing with his punches. Conlan spins out of trouble and picks him off. 10-9

Round five

Nikitin’s work still falling short as Conlan stands off him. The Russian can’t close the distance and Conlan plants his feet and rips in bodyshots when he does. A good round for Conlan who is looking increasingly comfortable.10-9

Round six

Much closer loser round. Fast hands from Conlan who is moving well, slipping left and right as Nikitin comes rumbling forward at him. Nikitin is still dangerous though and has success when Conlan engages with him. A flurry of punches halfway through the round keeps Conlan on his toes. 10-9

Round seven

Back to the slick movement from Conlan and Nikitin can’t pin him down. The Belfast man makes him miss or fall short and then punishes him with crisp counters. Nikitin did have occasional moments but again Conlan much more accurate and efficient. 10-9

Round eight

What a round. There were echoes of the 2016 Olympic Games quarter-final as they stood and traded. The crowd rise to their feet when the bell goes. Conlan had him going at one stage with a barrage of right hooks as they traded ferociously mid-ring. Nikitin is as tough as they come and he fired plenty back but again Conlan did more. 10-9

Round nine

“Nikitin’s ready to go,” shouts a pundit on press row but the Russian is still blasting away by the end of an action-packed stanza. He has never gone beyond six before but with Conlan following Adam Booth’s instructions and going back to boxing, Nikitin does enough to take the round. 9-10

Round 10

With all the hard work done, there’s no way the judges can deny him this time and Conlan is playing to the crowd a little as the round draws to a close. Too nimble and skilful for the one-dimensional Russian who has played his part in a good scrap. Conlan boxing within himself and coasts to landslide points win. 10-9

Total: Conlan: 98 Nikitin 92

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Boxing