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Michael Conlan v Tim Ibarra: Belfast fighter to become 'global star'

By David Kelly

It has been some time since a professional debut created so much interest and Michael Conlan is adamant he will deliver a "real show" in the early hours of tomorrow morning at Madison Square Garden.

World amateur champion Conlan has based himself in Los Angeles for his professional career, being trained by the highly regarded Manny Robles as well as being promoted by powerhouse company Top Rank, whose president Todd DuBoef believes he will become "a global star".

Around 5,000 are expected in the Garden's Theatre venue as Conlan steps into the professional world with a debut against American Tim Ibarra in a six-rounder.

DuBoef said: "Since I've been at Top Rank, back in 1993, I can't remember somebody else having a debut like this at the Garden. We had to evaluate what we had, the overall product - I mean the balance between ability and marketability and we have had a wonderful response.

"Michael made the commitment to come to America, that was part of the commitment needed to make him a global sports figure. He could have stayed in England and Ireland and then come to America but they listened and understood the appeal he could have and how he could be a big attraction."

Belfast man Conlan is confident of not only comfortably dealing with journeyman Ibarra but also creating a real spectacle.

"I want to bring entertainment back into boxing. The fans deserve to be entertained," said Conlan.

"I'm really excited about this now, I'm focused and I'm ready to go."

• Carl Frampton picked up his 2016 Fighter of the Year award from the Boxing Writers Association of America in New York on Friday night.

Belfast Telegraph

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