Michael Conlan’s dreams came true on Tuesday evening when the Falls flyweight secured a bronze medal – at least – at the London Olympic Games.
The St John Bosco clubman, who comes from a well-known boxing family in Cavendish Street, beat Nordine Oubaali of France 22-18 at the ExCel Centre to book a semi-final berth against Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana on Friday night (8.45pm), with the winner guaranteed either a gold or silver medal.
Conlan becomes the 15th Irish Olympic boxing medallist – the eighth from Belfast – and joins an illustrious list of West Belfast Olympic medal winners. John McNally, Johnny Caldwell, Jim McCourt and Wayne McCullough are the only Olympians from the West of the city who have won medals, and Michael is hoping to become the first of that list to win gold.
“This is only me warming up.” said the delighted 20-year-old after his bout on Tuesday night.
“You haven’t seen the best of Michael Conlan yet.
“Words can’t describe what I’m feeling but I knew I’d be here on the day. When I watched Andy Lee and Amir Khan in 2004 I told my mother I would be here. Hopefully I can go one better than Khan and go all the way.”
Conlan’s medal is the latest in a spectacular Olympic Games for the Team Ireland boxing squad. Katie Taylor fights for gold this evening (Thursday) at 4.45pm, while John Joe Nevin has also won at least a bronze, and Paddy Barnes from North Belfast is preparing for his last eight bout as we go to press.
See the back page and the Belfast Sport supplement for more reaction, analysis and photographs from Michael Conlan’s famous Olympic win.