Michael Conlan: Rio conqueror Nikitin withdraws after suffering an injury

Michael Conlan shows his anger as Vladimir Nikitin is awarded the decision at the Rio Olympics
Michael Conlan was fined 10,000 Swiss francs for his protests after his controversial Olympic defeat by Nikitin

Russia's Vladimir Nikitin has withdrawn from his scheduled fight against Michael Conlan in Belfast on 3 August after tearing his bicep.

Promoters are on the lookout for a new opponent for the featherweight, who is unbeaten in 11 professional fights.

Conlan had hoped to avenge his controversial quarter-final Rio Olympics defeat by Nikitin at Feile an Phobail in his native city.

Paddy Barnes and Sean McComb have been confirmed for the undercard.

After winning Olympic bronze at London 2012, Conlan headed into the Rio Games believing he was on course to clinch gold but was left devastated as Nikitin was handed a hugely contentious verdict in their quarter-final.

Following the bout, a furious Conlan made a one-fingered gesture to judges and also swore several times during a post-fight TV interview which led to him receiving a fine of 10,000 Swiss francs by amateur boxing's world governing body.

Nikitin, 29, has won all three of his professional bouts having been signed by Conlan's promoter Top Rank.

Last month Conlan, who will headline at the west Belfast festival in front of 7,000 spectators, said the bout with the Russian was "the fight I have wanted since that day [in Rio]".

In the wake of Nikitin's withdrawal, Conlan's management team MTK Global insisted that the Olympic bronze medallist will now face "a harder fight" on 3 August.

"In some ways, Nikitin was a step back in terms of level and we all know it's a match-up based on sentimentality," said Conlan's older brother Jamie, professional development co-ordinator with MTK.

"Instead, we'll now seek a fight that will push Mick up the rankings quicker. It'll be the hardest fight of his career."