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Booth the right man to guide me for rest of my career: Conlan



Fighting fit: Michael Conlan is relishing his return to the ring on St Patrick’s Day at Madison Square Garden

Fighting fit: Michael Conlan is relishing his return to the ring on St Patrick’s Day at Madison Square Garden

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Fighting fit: Michael Conlan is relishing his return to the ring on St Patrick’s Day at Madison Square Garden

Michael Conlan believes he will finish his professional boxing career with trainer Adam Booth in the corner after linking up with the Londoner last month.

Highly-rated Booth, who has guided Ryan Burnett to unifying the bantamweight division last year, has a reputation of being selective as to which boxers he will work with, so the link-up speaks volumes as to the esteem Conlan is held in.

The Belfast featherweight, who relocated from Manny Robles' gym in Carson, California at the start of this year, is equally glowing of his new trainer and is excited to begin their partnership in the ring on St Patrick's Day at Madison Square Garden.

"This is just the next chapter of my professional boxing career," said Conlan after going through his annual scan at the Kingsbridge Hospital in Belfast.

"I believe I am in the right place with the right coach to bring me onto the next level to where I need to be, and that's world titles.

"I believe this is the coach now who I will finish my career with. I'm a loyal guy, not one who chops and changes much. I was in the same amateur gym for most of my life.

"Leaving Manny, I went over there expecting to be there for the rest of my career, but things do change and I thought I needed to be closer to home with another baby on the way."

Conlan's first year as a professional saw him build a record of five wins from as many contests, four inside the distance, so it was a successful time on the west coast of the United States.

However, he is glad to be closer to home once again, both in distance and boxing terms with his style set to bear a closer resemblance to the one that saw him win bantamweight gold at the World Amateur Championships in 2015.

"That year in the US brought a different style to my game," he continued. "It was a style of me going to war, which I need to break in training because I am going into spars trying to take guys out. I was going in with that 'kill or be killed' attitude rather than a learning attitude.

"There was nothing technical behind it so I need to break out and I think Adam is the coach who will help me achieve that."

The Belfast man is now just two weeks away from returning to the United States on business with his sixth pro outing to come, exactly one year since his debut against Tim Ibarra back in The Theatre at Madison Square Garden.

That was a special occasion for Conlan, who enjoyed a pro debut the vast majority of boxers can only dream of, and this time he will use March 17 as another launchpad as he looks t to step things up as the race for belts hots up, with a likely homecoming in late May/early June.

"I haven't boxed one guy with a losing record," he pointed out. "Two have had level records and the others have had winning records, so I feel that speaks volumes in itself for pro boxing

"People may say I am moving slowly, but I feel I am in a good place. This is a step up, something that I'm looking forward to and something ESPN have asked for. They want me to step it up and I'm happy to do that."

Belfast Telegraph