Thursday 22 June 2017

Boston the most likely setting for next Conlan bout

Conlan brought a sell-out crowd of 5,102 boisterous fans to the MSG Theater for his stoppage win over Tim Ibarra. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Conlan brought a sell-out crowd of 5,102 boisterous fans to the MSG Theater for his stoppage win over Tim Ibarra. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Ciarán Gallagher

Boston appears to be the likeliest destination for Michael Conlan's next ring outing, but the Belfast native could also fight in California.

Following his successful professional debut at New York's Madison Square Garden last Friday night, promoters Top Rank are looking to maintain the significant hype their star signing has attracted in the US.

Conlan brought a sell-out crowd of 5,102 boisterous fans to the MSG Theater for his stoppage win over Tim Ibarra (4-5), with referee Benjy Esteves Jr stepping in after 59 seconds of the third round as the two-time Olympian overwhelmed his American opponent.

The 25-year-old now faces a potential May fight date in Boston that would be likely to see Conlan fight in front of another predominantly Irish-American crowd.

Alternatively, he could feature on the same card as Olympic rival Shakur Stevenson's debut on April 22 in California.

Top Rank chief Bob Arum has admitted that the US promotional giants plan to build towards a super-fight between Conlan and Stevenson, the Rio 2016 silver medallist who would have met Conlan at the Olympics but for the Belfast man's contentious defeat to Russian Vladimir Nikitin.

"That's possible, it could be one of the two," said Conlan's manager, Matthew Macklin, the former European middleweight champion. "From a hype point of view it would be good to go to Boston and build straight off the back of what's happened in New York.

"But it wouldn't do any harm from building a fight [against Stevenson]… to go to [California]."

Five years to the day since Macklin was stopped in the 11th round to then-world middleweight kingpin Sergio Martinez at the same venue, Conlan's manager said: "It reminded me of when I put Martinez down and you could hear the volume rapidly increasing.

"He got excited and the crowd went bananas, so it was natural that he went for the finish.

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