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Michael Conlan promises to win world titles in three weight divisions as he prepares for St Patrick's Day debut in New York

By Sean McGoldrick

Michael Conlan promised to win world titles in three different weight divisions at his inaugural press conference in New York to announce details of his professional debut in the city’s iconic Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s night.

“The plan is to win world titles at super-bantamweight, featherweight and super featherweight,” said the 2015 World amateur bantamweight champion.

The Belfast boxer’s pro debut on a bill promoted by the Top Rank organisation will be as a light featherweight, in a six round bout against 26-year-old American journeyman pro Tim Ibarra who has fought just eight times since turning professional in 2012.

While he has won four of those bouts – one by knockout – he has also been knocked out twice himself. So it ought to be a routine night at the office for the London Olympic bronze medallist.

Much of the excitement could happen before the fight after it was announced that UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor has accepted Conlan's invitation to walk him into the ring.

Conlan – who was controversially beaten in the quarter-finals at the Rio Olympics last summer - joins an elite group of Olympic medalists, including George Foreman, Evander Holyfield and Jermaine Taylor, to make his professional debut in Madison Square Garden.

Conlan and his family recently moved full time to Los Angeles where he will train for his professional debut under new coach Manny Robles, who is also training unbeaten Donegal middleweight Jason Quigley.

What was intriguing about Conlan’s promise to win three world titles at different weight divisions was that the current WBA featherweight title holder is fellow Belfast boxer Carl Frampton, who defends his title at the end of the month in Las Vegas and who has indicated that he may ultimately move up to the super-featherweight category as well.

Irish Independent

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