By Ryan Burton
On August 3rd Michael Conlan (11-0) will have a chance for revenge. He will face his rival from the 2016 Olympics,, Vladimir Nikitin (3-0) in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The 27-year-old Conlan lost a controversial decision to Nikitin in their quarterfinal match in Rio. He reacted by raising his middle finger at the judges and delivered a profanity laced tirade in his post fight interview and accused the officials of corruption.
If he is victorious, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said that there are a lot of different directions he can go.
“Well there are a lot of guys he can fight. It depends on his trainer and so forth. We are pretty well locked in the featherweight division with (Oscar) Valdez, we have (Carl) Frampton, we are going to have (Josh) Warrington,” Arum told BoxingScene.com in reference to the current WBO featherweight champion, former super bantamweight and featherweight champion, and IBF featherweight champion.
Top Rank also has another rising featherweight talent in Shakur Stevenson (11-0). The 21-year-old 2016 Olympic silver medalist will headline his first card on July 13th when he faces Hairon Socarras in his hometown of Newark, NJ that will be aired on ESPN.
In his last bout on April 20th he dominated former title challenger Christopher Diaz over 10 rounds. Arum is very impressed with the way he has progressed as a fighter.
“Shakur Stevenson is really a phenomenal product. I mean he is getting better, he is finding his man strength. He will be fighting for the featherweight championship sooner rather than later,” Arum stated.
The high praise didn’t stop there. Arum believes that Stevenson has what it takes to become a generational talent.
“I really think he will be – you never know – but I would say equal if not better than Mayweather,” said Arum.
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