Irish eyes are smiling for Michael Conlan’s homecoming bout in Belfast

Featherweight Michael Conlan (left) vs. Ibon Larrinaga. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Featherweight Michael Conlan (left) vs. Ibon Larrinaga. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

 

Undefeated former amateur hero Michael “Mick” Conlan, 7-0 (5), will make his long-awaited homecoming on June 30, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, when he faces former world junior featherweight title challenger Adeilson Dos Santos, 19-4 (15).

 

While Conlan has been living and training in California, British promoter Frank Warren, in association with Conlan’s Las Vegas-based promoter Top Rank, is bringing him home to the Odyssey Arena for his first live gig, in front of his Belfast faithful.

 

This will be the first home game for Conlan since 2010, when he was fighting as an amateur.

 

Conlan has been spreading his brand throughout the United States, especially building a following among the Irish in New York. However it was always his dream to fight as a professional in his hometown. And Top Rank boss Bob Arum, who knows how to develop a fighter in a market better than anyone, knows that if he can guide Conlan to a world title, then the Emerald Isle might be a huge boxing hotbed to showcase the country’s beloved brawler in some big events.

 

While most boxers from across the pond dream of making it to the United States one day, Conlan chose to launch his career stateside and is now looking to ply his trade in front of his family and boxing-crazed, Irish fight fans.

 

So Conlan, famous for exiting the amateurs by giving Olympic judges the middle finger salute, after a controversial loss, knows this fight on June 30 could be the start of a long, beautiful relationship.

 

In pre-fight interviews, Conlan made it clear that he is very excited to return to his home for a bout he knows will be a step up in class.

 

“It is an honor to be boxing at the Odyssey Arena and an even bigger honor to be headlining the card,” said the personable Conlan, 26. “I have been there watching Carl Frampton box many times and often pictured myself in that ring being cheered on.”

 

While Brazil’s Dos Santos comes into the contest having lost two of his last three bouts, keep in mind that he has won 19 of his 23 professional outings with 15 wins coming inside the distance. So while one would put the undefeated Conlan as the favorite, this is truly a step up in competition.

 

“Dos Santos has competed at the highest level and this fight will be my toughest as a professional to date,” said Conlan. “He has challenged for the world title but I believe it’s a test I am ready for. At this stage it’s all about progression and learning. I believe it’s the right step at the right time.”

 

 

 

Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at hwtibbs@shaw.ca and you can follow him at twitter.com/tibbs_bill.

 

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