Belfast Telegraph

Michael Conlan confident of proving he's a cut above the rest

By Steven Beacom

Michael Conlan is a cut above the rest in the bantamweight division in Glasgow. Quite literally. The Belfast boxer has had four fights in the Commonwealth Games, winning every one on unanimous decisions to reach the final, but in two of his contests he has suffered cuts to the head, leaving the ring with blood dripping down his face.

The Belfast boxer has had four fights in the Commonwealth Games, winning every one on unanimous decisions to reach the final, but in two of his contests he has suffered cuts to the head, leaving the ring with blood dripping down his face.

What makes it so alien to Conlan is that it has never happened before in his career.

"Twice in one tournament is absolutely mental," said the 22-year-old.

The red stuff flowed in his opening contest against Mathew Martin from Nauru and yesterday he was bleeding again as he overcame his buddy from Wales Sean McGoldrick at the semi-final stage.

The fight was stopped with 13 seconds left in the second round when ringside officials, taking a second look at the wound, declared it was too dangerous for Conlan to continue.

They were worried that the blood would pour into his right eye, making it impossible for him to see.

As the cut was sustained due to an accidental clash of heads, in accordance with Amateur Boxing rules, the fighter ahead on points at that time was given the verdict and a pathway into the final.

There was no doubt that Conlan would get the decision.

The opening round may have been cagey, but the Northern Ireland man's work was of a higher quality.

Conlan was more accurate in the second round too.

Only when the Olympic bronze medallist suffered his cut did McGoldrick, who has Irish parents, move forward with any real intent.

The Welsh appealed the decision but after reviewing video evidence officials rejected the appeal.

McGoldrick entered the ring as Commonwealth champion, having been awarded the gold four years ago after Sri Lankan Manju Wanniarachchi, who beat him in the Delhi final, was stripped of his title for failing a doping test.

He left it a frustrated and ultimately beaten man.

Conlan was treated in the medical room afterwards before emerging with a large plaster on his head to protect his cut.

The St John Bosco fighter is due to face 21-year-old Englishman Qais Ashfaq in the final, though before he enters the ring he will have to be given the all clear by the medical experts.

Conlan sees no problems on that score.

"I'm all good. The cut wasn't as bad as I first thought it was," he said.

"It's a bit unfortunate that it was in a semi-final, but lucky enough it went to points and I was ahead.

"It was good to get out of there with a win.

"If I pass the medical I'll do the job in the final.

"I'm confident I'll be okay to fight and I don't believe the doctors will think otherwise.

"The medical team have done a good job fixing me up, so I don't see why I can't fight in the final.

"I knew when I got the cut that I would have to start picking it up a bit and I put a few shots together.

"You could see I was beating the head off him with those shots.

"Even with the cut I felt amazing in there.

"I am getting stronger as the competition goes on.

"I feel better and better every day and in the final I'll be even better again."

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