Conlan promises his St Patrick’s Day debut will be ‘something special’

Michael Conlan was introduced to the American media at a press conference at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday Michael Conlan was introduced to the American media at a press conference at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday
By David Mohan

MICHAEL Conlan has promised his debut at Madison Square Garden’s Theatre on St Patrick’s Day will be something special.

The 24-year-old West Belfast man, who has relocated to Los Angeles, takes on Tim Ibarra (4-4) over six rounds with a huge number of fans expected to make the trip for the professional bow of the popular super-bantamweight.

Conlan joins an elite group of Olympic medalists, including George Foreman, Evander Holyfield and Jermaine Taylor, to make his professional debut on boxing’s most hallowed ground.

“It’s a dream for me to come here,” said Conlan who was speaking at a press conference at the iconic New York venue on Wednesday.

“I’m a bit overwhelmed to be honest, but it’s going to be special on St Patrick’s Day.

“I’d like to thank Top Rank (promoter) and my management (MGM) for this opportunity. Come March 17 it’s going to be really special with everything like the ring walks and it will be something people haven’t seen before.

“There are a lot of Irish coming over for the start of my journey that promises to be a great one.

“I plan to win world titles at super-bantamweight, featherweight and super-featherweight and no matter who is put in front of me. I’m not going to let them stop me getting right to the top.”

Vice president of boxing for Top Rank, Carl Moretti confirmed Conlan will be walked to the ring by Conor McGregor, but took a little swipe at the MMA star saying “it will be the only time he will be near a boxing ring despite what some people write.”

But Moretti, along with Top Rank President, Todd Duboef are thrilled to have Conlan in their stable with Duboef saying Conlan’s ability in the ring and marketability outside the ropes makes him the complete package.

“This is my second press conference with Michael, the first being in Belfast back in October when we promised we would do something in his home town this year,” he said.

“When I walked into that Titanic centre, I walked into a magnificent room that was full and there was an atmosphere that something special was happening.

“There was an energy and a congratulatory atmosphere that is something I have never seen.

“We all know about Michael because of the Olympics as he did something special. He stood up for himself, stood up for what is right so he has character and pedigree.”

Conlan’s manager, Matthew Macklin is no stranger to fighting at Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s Day having unsuccessfully challenged Sergio Martinez for the middleweight title back in 2012 and he says the Belfast man is in for a treat.

“Top Rank can help build Michael into a brand like they did with (Miguel) Cotto,” said the Birmingham Irishman.

“I really can’t wait for this to get started as I know what it’s like to box in the Garden on St Patrick’s Day and how special an occasion it is.

“Everything is coming together and I’m just excited for Mick and to be a part of his journey.”

Another man to be excited to be part of the journey is Conlan’s trainer, Manny Robles who believes his man has all the attributes to go all the way.

“I am looking forward to working with Michael. I believe the kid has a very bright future in boxing,” he said.

“Now that he will no longer be fighting for trophies, but instead for world titles he will be faced with greater responsibilities. He and I both are ready to take on this new challenge.

“It is an opportunity I feel humbled by. I am very excited for Michael making his debut at The Garden, and I hope others are as well. He is an incredible fighter who will put on an incredible fight. And as his coach I am ready to play my role in making sure he does not disappoint his fans, but instead proves to them that he is ready to take on the world.”

Tickets for Conlan’s debut are now on sale from www.ticketmaster.com and www.thegarden.com and are priced at $200, $150, $100, $75 and $50.

 

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