'This is my toughest test as a pro' - Michael Conlan to face Argentina's Diego Alberto Ruiz next month
Michael Conlan will face an Argentinian opponent in Belfast next month following the withdrawal of his original opponent Vladimir Nikitin.
The August 3 clash at Fall Park was due to see a re-run of the infamous 2016 Olympic quarter-final in which the Russian fighter was adjudged the winner of his bout against Conlan, then the reigning World amateur champion.
However, Nikitin is unable to fight in Belfast due a biceps injury.
Instead Diego Alberto Ruiz will take on Conlan in a 10-round featherweight clash as part of the city’s annual Féile an Phobail summer festival.
"When Vladimir Nikitin dropped out due to injury, I told Top Rank and MTK Global to get me the toughest possible opponent,” Conlan said.
“Ruiz is on a 10-fight winning streak, and I know he's coming all the way from Argentina to continue his victorious ways. This is my toughest test as a professional, but if I'm going to become a world champion, I must beat Ruiz. I've been busy in London with my trainer, Adam Booth, and I can't wait to put on a show on August 3.
“Maybe once I’m a world champion, I might give Nikitin a shot, but for now, I’m moving on because it was more stalling my career than advancing it in terms of the level I’m at.”
Twenty-five year Ruiz, who has won all but two of his 21 professional fights, will be fighting for the first time away from his native country. He has won 10 in a row dating back to 2016 and is coming off a 10-round split decision June 1 over Luis Emanuel Cusolito for the vacant WBC Latino silver featherweight title. Before moving up to the featherweight ranks, Ruiz won the Argentina Boxing Federation’s bantamweight title and the WBC Latino silver super bantamweight belt.