Jamie Conlan: Support sent shivers down my back and picked me up off floor
Jamie Conlan said the support from Irish fight fans almost reduced him to tears after he got off the floor to retain his WBO Inter-Continental title at a sold-out National Stadium on Saturday night.
The Belfast super-flyweight - elder brother of London 2012 bronze medallist Michael - appeared to be heading for the first defeat of his career in 14 outings after being dropped twice by Mexico's Junior Granados in the seventh round.
Conlan looked as if he wouldn't beat the count after the first knock-down, and was saved by the bell after going down again from a body shot near the end of the frame.
But the Ulster orthodox exploded from his corner at the start of the eighth and won the final three rounds to retain his WBO Inter-Continental belt on a unanimous decision (96-92, 95-93, 95-93) and edge closer to a mandatory shot.
"It (the support) sent shivers down my back. I felt like crying in the ring because they were giving me an extra boost when I came back to the corner. They were shouting and cheering me," said Conlan. "I knew they were feeling it when I was feeling it; they were behind me and I'm very grateful. It was absolutely unbelievable support.
"Afterwards he said 'you're a true Mexican' and to me that's a bit of a compliment because I had to dig deep," added Conlan, who is nicknamed 'The Mexican' because of his fighting style.
"I knew this was going to be a tough fight and a lot of questions were going to be asked of me. Tonight I had the answers."
Undefeated Ryan Burnett, a gold medal winner at the 2010 Olympic Youths, improved to ten wins after stopping Hungary's Casba Kovacs on the undercard, and Dublin super-lightweight Stephen Ormond dispatched Poland's Jacek Wylezal inside two rounds.
Ex-Irish Elite champion Declan Geraghty, Anthony Fitzgerald, Sean Turner, Tommy Langford and Michael Rooney also posted victories.