Michael Conlan rival Vladimir Nikitin wins debut, reveals REAL REASON he signed with Top Rank

RINGSIDE 29/07/2018

📷 Mikey Williams / Top Rank

Vladimir Nikitin, a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist from Russia, had a successful professional debut, knocking down Edward Kakembo twice en route to a six-round unanimous decision in a featherweight bout.

The judges scored the contest 60-52, 60-52, and 60-51 for Nikitin, who is best known for his controversial Olympic quarterfinal win over Michael Conlan.

“This was my first professional fight, but it was also my first fight in a year,” Nikitin said.

“I took a long break from boxing. I was just relaxing for a whole year, and that is why this was a great experience for me.

“I was in control and dropped my opponent a couple of times, but we went the distance. I needed to get in good rounds of work.

“I want Conlan. That is the plan, and he is the main reason why I signed with Top Rank. I want to fight him as a pro. The judges won’t be necessary this time around.”

Bantamweight prospect Antonio Vargas (7-0, 3 KOs) cruised to a six-round unanimous decision over Aaron Echeveste, with all three judges scoring the contest 60-54.

Super featherweight prospect Henry “Moncho” Lebron (5-0, 4 KOs) scored a TKO over the game Luis Diaz (2-6, 1 KO) at 2:43 of the sixth and final round.

“A flurry of punches caused referee Frank Santore to wave the fight off.

“This fight really helped me a lot,” Lebron said.

“I needed a fight like this where I could display all my boxing skills. On this fight, I worked on my striking, power punching, footwork, lateral movement, and at the end, I got the knockout.”

Middleweight contender Esquiva Falcao (21-0, 15 KOs) knocked out Jonathan Tavira at 1:38 of the first round.

In a back-and-forth slugfest, Yomar Alamo (15-0, 12 KOs) knocked out Wilfrido Buelvas (18-10, 12 KOs) at :28 of the fourth round. Alamo knocked Buelvas down for the 10-count with a stiff jab, extending his knockout streak to five.

Luis “El Chucho” Melendez enjoyed a seamless professional debut, knocking Vicente Loredo out of the ring in the opening round of a scheduled four-round featherweight bout. The official time of the stoppage was 1:19.

Jose “Chino” Lopez improved to 11-0 with a second-round knockout over Jorge Rodriguez. A left hook to the body put Rodriguez (10-3, 10 KOs) down for the count.