Saturday 25 November 2017

Conlan: I'm not worried if pros fight in Rio - I'm the best in the world anyway

Michael Conlan (SPORTSFILE)
Michael Conlan (SPORTSFILE)

Bernard O'Neill

AIBA World Elite bantamweight champion Michael Conlan insists that no pro boxer would beat him over three rounds.

The Rio Olympian was speaking after national federations voted overwhelmingly in favour of removing Rule 13 (J) from the Constitution of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) at an AIBA Congress in Lausanne, Switzerland yesterday.

The dumped rule prohibited "any boxer who has competed in any non-AIBA professional boxing match to register as a boxer with a national federation."

Pro boxers can now register - although it will be interesting to hear what their promoters have to say, given the various contracts they have signed - with their National Federations and make themselves available for selection.

But it's still up to each National Federation to select them.

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association were among the associations who voted overwhelming for the change and Pat Ryan, IABA president, said: "The IABA wishes to make it very clear that there will be no immediate changes in response to this vote, until there has been a full consultation with the relevant stakeholders within the organisation."


Hypothetically, top Irish pros Andy Lee and Carl Frampton could now register with the IABA and could make themselves available for selection.

Many believe that the amateur game, which requires boxers to make weight almost every other day and box up to five times in a short period at top tournaments, is radically different from pro boxing, particularly in terms of its faster pace.

Conlan, who is ranked No 1 in the World at 56kg and a two-time Olympian, said: "It doesn't bother me (the rule change). I'm the best in the world anyway.

"It takes time to adjust to the amateurs. I'm the best at it and they (the pros) are not the best at it, simple as that. They'll be trying to beat me at my game, not their game. That's not going to happen."

Meanwhile, pros can now enter for the final Rio 2016 qualifier, a World Series of Boxing (WSB) versus AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) showdown in Venezuela in early July; 26 Olympic places are up for grabs and bouts will be over three rounds.

Ray Moylette is currently the only Irish boxer eligible for the tournament in the light-welter class.

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