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I'm fired up to take the US by storm, says Michael Conlan

By David Kelly

They are expecting a snowstorm in the Big Apple this week and Michael Conlan says he is aiming to make his own impact on the New York sports fans.

On the back of an exceptional amateur career, 25-year-old Conlan starts his professional journey at the Madison Square Garden Theatre on Friday night.

Never short on confidence, Conlan is riding the hyperbole wave with ease as he prepares to meet Tim Ibarra in a six rounder - the first of an expected half-a-dozen bouts in the space of 12 months.

Powerful promotional outfit Top Rank are backing Conlan to become "a global star", with New York seemingly destined to be his natural base as he moves up the professional ladder.

"We've booked out Madison Square Garden for the next five years for St Patrick's Day weekend to be celebrated with Michael," commented Top Rank president Todd DuBoef.

"We've 2,000 coming from Ireland and right now there are only $50 tickets left so we hope that by Friday it will be a sell-out."

Conlan has lapped up all the attention, feeling right at home in the Big Apple and eager to produce a performance to announce himself as someone who can live up to the hype.

"I'm here to cause a storm. I feel there's expectation around me to give a performance and I will. My only thought is to go in there and take the guy out," said Conlan.

"Everything has gone great in my preparation, I'm in the best condition of my life.

"My new coach Manny Robles and I gelled right away, it feels like training at home with my father.

"I saw the poster up on the MSG wall and it was a bit of a shock and it just feels like it's meant to be.

"It's not going to blow me away because there's going to be a lot more like that coming in the future.

"I would like to be fighting for a World title in two or three years, that's completely achievable, but we'll have a more realistic view by the end of the year."

Those sentiments are shared by promoter DuBoef and Conlan's manager Matthew Macklin who fronts up the MTK management firm based in Spain.

DuBoef added: "In America we say go big or go home and that's what we're doing. We believe in the product... Michael's got incredible personality and he has a natural embedded fan base in America. He has to be marketed the right way... obviously we promote fighters from all over the world and we're really excited about this and very excited about creating this incredible product for the fans of boxing."

Former World title challenger Macklin has no doubt that Conlan's career will have the perfect lift-off on Friday night.

"Michael has the personality of someone who likes the big stage and this is someone destined for superstardom," he said.

"It's a fairytale debut, a huge launch. After Friday night he will have announced himself as a future superstar.

"He has the potential to become a huge crossover name."

• Conlan v Ibarra is live on BoxNation this Friday. Buy now at boxnation.com.  

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