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Jamie Conlan is eager to ramp up tilt for world bantamweight title glory

By David Kelly

Jamie Conlan is confident that 2016 will be a year to remember for his family, as he shoots for World title glory and brother Michael homes in on bantamweight gold at the Rio Olympics.

Jamie remained on track for a WBO World super-flyweight title eliminator with Paul Butler when he comfortably stopped Argentinian Adrian Dimas Garzon in the fourth round at Dublin's National Stadium on Saturday night.

Former World bantamweight champion Butler, who was ringside in Dublin, returns to the ring on December 19 and then it is expected that the two men will clash for the right to fight for the WBO title.

Jamie was in cruise control against outclassed late opponent Garzon and knows that Butler will be the acid test for his World title aspirations - a fight he wants sooner rather than later.

"I knew straight away that when he started moaning it was the beginning of the end for him. To be honest, I knew within the first 30 seconds what I needed to do to get him out of there but I wanted to work on a few different things and I wasn't even in second gear," said Jamie, who quickly turned his sights to Butler.

"Paul Butler needs to get his business taken care of on December 19 first and then we'll aim for the New Year. We'll each have a good Christmas and get back into talks. Talks have already taken place and the venue is going to have to be decided. We've just sold out the National Stadium in an eight round fight.

"I would love the fight to be in Belfast. The Ulster Hall might be a bit small but it would suit me down to the ground and my fans would be nearly in the ring with me on the night. How good would that be?

"Even at the press conference during the week people were talking about the Butler fight but you have to be professional in what you do and even when sparring in the gym. I got to work on things, more shot picking and trying to be a better boxer. I showed what I'm learning in the gym.

"I'm glad Butler made it over to Dublin to see me fight and the next time I want to see him is when we're in the ring together. I know I can beat him. He's fast, but I'm faster, he can punch, but I can puncher harder. I know I'm just that little bit better than him in every department."

The show also featured Belfast featherweight Ciaran McVarnock, who outpointed Joe Beedon, 40-36.

Meanwhile, the Ulster Elite Championships have arguably the worst entry in the history of the event with only one quarter-final and three walkovers declared at yesterday's weigh-ins.

The championships - which have attracted just 22 men - start tonight in the Dockers Club (7.30pm) with the solitary last eight clash and three semi-finals. The finals are on Thursday night in Newry.

Callum Smith has been tipped to face George Groves after his first-round stoppage of Rocky Fielding in Liverpool to claim the vacant British super-middleweight title.

The victory means that the Smiths are the first boxing family to have four British champions with brothers Liam, Stephen, and Paul claiming the Lonsdale belt in their respective divisions.

Promoter Eddie Hearn said: "I'd love him to fight George Groves next.

"I honestly think he's already one of the best super-middleweights in the world. I think he beats Badou Jack, he beats Chudinov. It's such a great division.

"We pushed Callum hard at the WBC convention and they could make him mandatory challenger next. If not, they will 100% nominate him for a final eliminator."

The new champion added: "I said to my brother, Liam, that, with the atmosphere, the crowd and as soon as a big punch lands it would catch fire and it could be over quick. But I was surprised as everyone else.

"I like to think I'm a good finisher and, as soon as I knew he was hurt, I wasn't going to let him off the hook. Fair play, he came back and had a go."

Ricky Burns captured the vacant WBO inter-continental lightweight title with an 11th-round stoppage of Josh King on the same bill.

Belfast Telegraph

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