Thursday 22 August 2019

Conlan aiming to stop Ruiz's hot-streak in hometown showdown


Michael Conlan. Photo: Martin Rickett
Michael Conlan. Photo: Martin Rickett

Bernard O'Neill

Two-time Irish Olympian Michael Conlan reckons that battle-hardened Diego Alberto Ruiz will be the toughest test of his pro career so far.

The London 2012 bronze medallist meets that Argentine over ten rounds for the vacant Inter-Continental WBO/WBA featherweight titles on the 11-bout Féile an Phobail card in Belfast tomorrow night.

Favourites have reason to be wary against anyone surnamed Ruiz these days, ask Anthony Joshua.

The 25-year-old has won 21 of his 23 outings, his last defeat was in 2016 and he's on a ten-bout winning streak. But Belfast-born Conlan has no intention of letting Ruiz extend that to 11 straight wins in his hometown.

However, the only Irish male boxer to claim a World Elite gold in the amateur ranks reckons there's no room for complacency.

"It will be my toughest test as a professional. He's an experienced fighter but I must beat these type of fighters if I'm going to go on and win world titles," he said.


"I've put in a big training camp and I'm in great shape. There is going to be a fantastic atmosphere and I'm planning to give fans something to cheer about."

Conlan was supposed to meet Russia's Vladimir Nikitin in a repeat of their highly controversial Rio 2016 quarter-final which the Russian was adjudged to have won.

Conlan explained that when Nikitin pulled out because of injury he asked his brother Jamie to get the best opponent available. "That's what we got," he added.

Meanwhile, three-time Irish Olympian Paddy Barnes will be looking for a return to winning ways after two straight defeats versus Nicaraguan Joel Sanchez.

Barnes is favourite to have his hand raised for the sixth time but defeat would put serious question marks over the career of the two-time Olympic bronze medallist.

Belfast welter Paddy Gallagher meets Swansea's Chris Jenkins for the vacant Commonwealth belt on Saturday's promotion.

Irish Independent

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