MICHAEL CONLAN has set his sights on a rematch with old foe Vladimir Nikitin as he bids to avenge his Olympic heartbreak.
Conlan comfortably won his Rio 2016 bantamweight quarter-final against the Russian in the eyes of most neutral observers.
But all three judges returned scores of 10-9 in favour of Nikitin at the end of the controversial bout.
The fallout from that and other questionable decisions during the tournament led to fears that boxing might lose its Olympic status.
It also meant that Conlan – who secured Bronze for Ireland at London 2012- ended his amateur career on a sour note.
Michael Conlan robbed in Rio. Judges on the fight should be suspended according to Dunne. I cannot believe that Conlan lost that fight.
— Trevor Welch (@TrevorWelch_1) August 16, 2016
Irish Boxing: 3 medals in Beijing, 4 in London and 0 in Rio. But Michael Conlan deserved to medal. He was absolutely robbed by the judges.
— John Duggan (@JohnDugganSport) August 16, 2016
But the 26 year-old is in a far better place now with eight wins from his first eight professional fights and believes a rematch with Nikitin could go ahead as early as next year.
“I want him. I know my career is going to go a lot longer than Vladimir Nikitin. He’s going to happen next year some time I hope,” he said to Boxing News
“What happened wasn’t his fault, I understand that. I think he understands that he’s turned professional now and the fight he needs to make a lot of money, is me. And he knows that.
"Once I take out Vladimir Nikitin that will be me saying I’ve arrived. That’s the fight for me to showcase what I can do.
"I can outfight him. I can outbox him. I’ve more heart than him. I have everything but at the same time that guy, he’s determined, he’s relentless. His style can bring out the best in me."