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Jamie Conlan tips his brother Michael to light up pro stage after World Amateur Championships gold

By David Kelly

Published 16/10/2015

Arm’s length: Michael Conlan en route to winning World Amateur gold against Murodjon Akhmadaliev
Arm’s length: Michael Conlan en route to winning World Amateur gold against Murodjon Akhmadaliev

Jamie Conlan is backing brother Michael to explode onto the professional scene - after he has won gold at the Rio Olympics next summer.

Just five minutes after becoming the first Irishman to win gold at the World Amateur Championships on Wednesday, bantamweight Michael was on the phone to World top 10 super-flyweight Jamie, who is preparing in Spain for his next pro fight at Dublin's National Stadium next month.

Jamie has looked on with pride over the past five years as Michael has soared from Irish title glory to Olympic, European, Commonwealth and now World success.

Michael has made it clear that he will bid to complete his golden set with victory at the Rio Games before hanging up his Irish amateur vest and signing what he believes will be a lucrative professional contract.

"I want the gold in Rio and then I can write my own cheque," said 23-year-old Belfast man Michael.

While Jamie, 29, has his own world title ambitions, he has no doubt that Irish golden boy Michael will rapidly make his way up the world ladder as a professional.

"I have no doubt that Michael will take the professional scene by storm," said Jamie.

"He's got all the attributes to be a top professional and I'm sure that after Rio, promoters in the UK and the States will be queuing up to get his signature. Michael has the charisma, he has the talk and the style that promoters love and he has the talent to back it all up.

"He will just have to make sure that he has the right guidance because knowing Michael he'll want to fight for a world title after two or three fights!"

Jamie insists he had no doubt that his brother would make history in Doha but admits that his heart missed a beat when Michael hit the canvas in the last round against Uzbekistan's Murodjon Akhmadaliev.

"He had me worried for a moment because I've never seen him in any sort of trouble but he got caught with a good shot and then recovered very quickly," added Jamie.

"When he came on the phone to me while he was waiting for the medal ceremony to start, all he talked about was the knockdown - he asked me how bad it looked, he didn't even mention the fact that he was world champion. He just felt that he was a bit off balance when he got caught but that it was also a great punch.

"I have to say that I get more pleasure and pride out of watching Michael's success than I do with my own.

"For him to be the first Irishman to win a world gold is just incredible."

Meanwhile, Moate light-heavyweight Joe Ward had to settle for silver after he was outpointed by slick World No.1 Julio La Cruz of Cuba.

All three judges had it 30-27 for the latter.

Ward said: "Overall these championships have been pretty decent for me. I came out here to qualify for the Olympic Games and I achieved that.

"It was a tough fight, the first round changed a lot. I thought I did enough to win the first round, but it was close and I had to push on a bit then and he showed his class by keeping out of range.

"Overall, it's been a great championships, I'm going back with a silver medal and going to Rio.

"I'm going to learn from this now and all I can do is get better and improve with that fight and see how we go in the Olympic Games."

Belfast Telegraph

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