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Michael Conlan can't wait to shine in the same ring as Pacquiao

 

By David Kelly

Michael Conlan chalked off one dream that became a reality when making his debut at Madison Square Garden on St Patrick's night and this weekend he has the opportunity to tick another box in Brisbane, Australia as he prepares for his third professional outing.

The Belfast man, who arrived Down Under last week, is the main supporting act to legend Manny Pacquiao who defends his WBO World welterweight title against Australian Jeff Horn at the Suncorp Stadium, which is expected to hold around 60,000 fans.

"I can't wait to meet Pacquiao, the guy is a legend and to be part of his show is brilliant," said Conlan, who boxes in the early hours of Sunday morning.

"Pacquiao has always been one of my favourite fighters. Since I was a boy, he's been someone that I've always looked up to. I admire the way he boxes and the way he conducts himself. The speed he has and the way he has carried his power up the weights is amazing."

Conlan is also in awe of the passionate support the multi-weight champion enjoys from his countrymen, with the Philippines coming to a standstill every time he enters the ring. That is something the Belfast man would love to savour as well.

"Pacquiao has incredible support from his people back home and I hope that I can get to that point and have that kind of support behind me," he said.

"Belfast has always shown that it gets behind its boxers and I believe I can be in that position."

One man who has certainly generated passionate support is UFC star Conor McGregor, who is set for a life-changing £75m payday when he takes on boxing great Floyd Mayweather on August 26 in Las Vegas. Conlan had been mooted as part of the supporting bill but he revealed he doesn't expect that to be the case.

"I don't think I'll be on the show but I hope to be there.

"It's going to be some event and I'm happy for both because they're going to do very well out of it," said Conlan.

"I know a lot of people have criticised it but I think it will be good for boxing because it will bring in casual fans who will hopefully want to see more boxing." As for his own fight with Brisbane's Jarrett Owen this weekend, Conlan is hoping that he has a more demanding test than he was offered in his first two outings as a professional.

"I've told my team that I want a good test, I want someone who will come and have a go and this guy should do that," said Conlan, who comfortably stopped Alfredo Chanez last month in Chicago.

"I had hoped for more from my last opponent but he didn't want to know.

"Jarrett Owen will want to upset the applecart in his own back yard and I want to put on my best performance so far.

"I've been working very well in training - the sparring that I'm having in Los Angeles is great and there's no doubt that the spars are testing me much more than the fights.

"I want to go out here and show the improvements that I've made and just keep developing as a professional.

"It's another great stage for me to be on in just my third fight and I feel honoured to be on the same bill as Manny Pacquiao."

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