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Jamie Conlan and Yader Cardoza expect a thriller on the Waterfront

By David Kelly

No need for turning over tables, foul language or caustic abuse, just a cold-eyed statement of intent was enough from Yader Cardoza: "It's going to be a war... I want the knockout."

Belfast's Jamie Conlan was happy to concur as they came face to face for the first time at the Waterfront Hall yesterday, the stage for their 12-rounds super-flyweight clash tomorrow night.

"You only have to look at the way he boxes to see that our styles naturally gel, they will naturally make for a great fight. It'll be a war," said unbeaten Commonwealth super-flyweight champion Conlan.

Both men have fighting in their blood, though Cardoza found his in the instinct for survival on the streets of Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua.

Just after being born his father left him and his mother to look after themselves. Help came from his grandmother but life was destined to be one of hardship.

"When I was 10 my mother and grandmother would make food and then I would go out on the streets to sell it, to bring in some money," said Cardoza, who celebrated his 28th birthday last month.

"It was a tough finanical situation for us but I have worked very hard and things have got better for us. As a family we have stuck together.

"Boxing has been good for me... before I started boxing I did karate so if I hadn't been a boxer I would have done karate.

"I was always fighting, that's just the way I am."

A former World title challenger, Cardoza's recent record has been a mixture of losses and wins but he retains the belief that he can once more shoot for the big prize.

Conlan has his own world title ambitions but Cardoza believes he can crush those tomorrow night and consequently once again flicker into life his own dreams.

"I believe that my experience will be the difference, that is why I will win," he added.

"I have more experience in this kind of fight than Conlan and also we have seen the last fights of Conlan and we have seen weaknesses in him."

Conlan is currently ranked nine by the IBF and two by the WBO, so a world title opportunity is well within his grasp at some point in 2017.

The stakes have been raised and he knows it.

"I'm expecting a barnburner on Friday night, I think we'll light up the Waterfront Hall," said Conlan, who was in the British Boxing Board of Control's Fight of the Year in 2016 when he stopped Anthony Nelson to win the Commonwealth strap.

"Every fight now is a world title eliminator for me because if I lose then I'm back down the ladder and nobody cares about you.

"I have to win this fight and look good and make a statement and keep myself right up there in contention for a world title shot.

"This guy is the toughest fighter I have faced so far. He's been at world calibre, he has said that he has been sparring with world class guys for this fight and I think he'll bring out the best in me. He's going to come and try to take my undefeated record so it has me on edge."

•Hughie Fury, cousin of former world heavyweight champion Tyson, will fight New Zealand's Joseph Parker for the WBO heavyweight title in Auckland on May 6.

Parker, 25, became the first New Zealand-born heavyweight champion when he beat Mexico's Andy Ruiz in December.

"I believe I am the best heavyweight out there. Tyson has already done it, I'm the next one in line," said Hughie.

Belfast Telegraph

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