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Impressive Conlan gets the job done in fine style

 

By David Kelly

Job done and now it's full steam ahead for Michael Conlan as he counts down to his homecoming bout at Belfast's SSE Arena on June 30.

Conlan didn't have to find anywhere near top gear to pick apart Spaniard Ibon Larrinaga at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night and banked eight rounds for the first time with ease.

The former World, European and Commonwealth Games gold medallist will have a short break from the gym before starting to prepare for his 10-rounder with Brazilian Adeilson Do Santos, a former world title challenger and a man expected to draw out the best from Conlan.

Conlan said: "It's always going to be hard to look good against a guy who is backing up, but I'm happy because I was composed and working on things I need to work on. I've only had seven pro fights, so this was a good learning experience."

Once more Conlan was given a great reception by the MSG crowd. Having sold out the 6,000 theatre venue, this was his first night as part of an event in the 20,000 main Garden, supporting Vasyl Lomachenko's dramatic 10th round stoppage of Jorge Linares to lift the WBA World lightweight title.

"It's an amazing arena and to be part of that history and be treated like part of the Madison Square Garden family is very, very special," added Conlan, who is eagerly anticipating his first night headlining in Belfast.

"To be fighting at home is going to be so special. I have experienced being at ringside for Carl Frampton's fights and I am really looking forward to tasting that same atmosphere.

"I have boxed all over the world and there's not a better atmosphere anywhere. The Belfast fans are the best in the world. It's going to be a very good test for me."

On Saturday night it was evident from the third round onwards that Larrinaga, who entered the fight with a single loss on his record, was going to happy to just survive as he hit reverse gear and remained in it to the finish.

That made life a little awkward for the Belfast man who stalked his opponent, looking for openings, and one rasping right hand stunned the Spaniard who moments later from a further assault hit the canvas though it was ruled not to be a knockdown.

Switching smoothly from orthodox to southpaw, Conlan stabbed home his sharp blows, working well to the body and head but with little coming back at him he was in cruise control. The only blemish was a little welt under his left eye but that will easily be cleared up as he prepares for his big night at the SSE Arena.

Meanwhile, Lomachenko made boxing history by stopping Linares to claim a world title in a third weight division in just his 12th professional fight, despite being put down in the sixth round in New York.

The 30-year-old got to his feet before stopping the Venezuelan with a vicious left to the body in the 10th round. "My father told me, 'you need to go to the body'," said Lomachenko, the quickest man to world titles at three different weights.

Hughie Fury delivered an explosive performance to lift the British heavyweight title in Bolton on Saturday with a fifth round stoppage of Sam Sexton.

Fury said: "This fight is dedicated to my dad because he has always believed in me and after the Parker defeat he told me to get back in the gym and learn from it.

"I was very confident, I had worked very hard for this. My dad said that I would get him with the right hand and he was right."

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