Conlan set to be fast-tracked towards early world title opportunity
Michael Conlan has been promised a world-title fight "as quickly as he wants to move" after signing his big-money professional deal with US promoters Top Rank.
The Belfast bantamweight put pen to paper with Bob Arum's promotional giants on Monday night, and moves have already been made to put Conlan on course for an early world-title bout.
Top Rank guided former Olympic and world amateur champion Vasyl Lomachenko to a world title bout in just his second paid fight three years ago, with the classy Ukrainian losing a tight split decision before claiming a world belt in his third bout five months later.
Traditionally, pro fighters must work their way up the rankings but so impressive was Lomachenko's amateur pedigree that he was fast-tracked.
And with Conlan having also claimed world amateur gold last year and Olympic bronze in 2012, his promoters do not plan on waiting around.
Conlan explained: "Bob Arum had me on the phone to the president of the WBO [governing body] and he was asking, 'how quick do you want to move? We can get you a world-title fast - look at what happened with Lomachenko - so you just let us know how quickly you want to move'.
"It's up to Top Rank how I move and what way they see me moving best," continued Conlan. "They've got the best match-maker in the business in Bruce Trampler, so I'll let him pick the fights.
"They matched up all the best guys all through their career - Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto - all those guys. I won't think about it too hard, I'll let them take control."
Conlan, who will fight as a super-bantamweight (122lb) in the pro ranks, looks set to make his debut at New York's Madison Square Garden on St Patrick's Day as Top Rank look to tap into the Irish-American market.
"They (Top Rank) have so many great fighters and they put me up there with them, it's amazing," said Conlan (24), whose promotional deal is understood to be worth over six figures. "It's very pleasing because they're talking about me with the likes of Mayweather, De La Hoya, Pacquiao, Cotto.
"It's the best deal financially and when you look at it career-wise, they're the guys who produce the champions again and again so I know I'm with the right team."
On the prospect of becoming a millionaire, Conlan laughed: "It won't take too long for it to happen and the plans they have set out for me are unbelievable.
"If everything goes to plan over the next few years I'll be a comfortable man!"