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Belfast boxer Michael Conlan named BBC Sport NI Personality of 2015

Published 16/12/2015

Michael Conlan’s moment of triumph last night
Michael Conlan’s moment of triumph last night

Belfast boxer Michael Conlan has been named BBC Northern Ireland's Sports Personality of 2015.

Earlier this year Conlan, 24, was crowned Ireland's first men's amateur world champion adding the world title to the Olympic bronze medal he won in London in 2012.

Michael Conlan with his baby daughter Luisne
Michael Conlan with his baby daughter Luisne
Michael biting the medal after his victory in Doha
Michael with his gold medal from the Commonwealth Games

Conlan was up against Northern Ireland football captain Steven Davis and World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea.

Conlan said he was "very grateful to win the award".

"It's great to achieve it when you see the calibre of sporting greats that have won this award before.

"But if I hadn't won any award this year, I'd have been a bit disappointed."

"I'm very, very competitive. And I think what I've done this year is phenomenal so to see that being recognised is great."

The 23-year-old wrenched victory from Uzbekistan's Murodjon Akhmadaliev in the World Amateur Boxing Championships bantamweight final in Doha, Qatar.

The historic victory meant Conlan - who had already won European Elite and Commonwealth titles - joined Wicklow boxer Katie Taylor as the only Irish fighters to win AIBA world titles.

A memorable year also saw Conlan become a father for the first time.

"It's been a fantastic 12 months. I qualified for Rio twice, through the World Series of Boxing and then winning the World Championship.

"Winning the world championship was 10 times better because no other Irish male fighter had done that before me.

"I also had a wee baby girl and got engaged plus I won a European gold as well."

Jane Tohill, executive producer at BBC Sport NI, said judging panel were faced with a "tough decision in a remarkable year for Northern Ireland sport".

Joining Ms Tohill on the judging panel for the BBC Sport NI award were The Belfast Telegraph's Steven Beacom, Kenny Archer from The Irish News, The Newsletter's Richard Mulligan plus Margaret O'Hare, senior producer BBC Sport, and Shane Glynn, managing editor BBC Northern Ireland Productions.

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