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Jamie Conlan fired up again

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Ready: Jamie Conlan will be facing replacement Walter Rojas

Ready: Jamie Conlan will be facing replacement Walter Rojas

Ready: Jamie Conlan will be facing replacement Walter Rojas

Jamie Conlan received the news he had been dreading, the same old story that a big night was now in jeopardy.

It came last Friday, on his 27th birthday and The Mexican, as he likes to call himself, was on the floor when told that his WBO European title fight with Frenchman Hassan Azzaough was off.

So often throughout his career he has had title opportunities turn to dust and he feared the worst but Cyclone Promotions boss Barry McGuigan has come up with a quality replacement in 26-year-old Argentinian Walter Rojas, who has a record of 20 wins, three defeats and a draw with 19 stoppages.

Unbeaten Conlan, coached by John Breen, is a novice by comparison having only had nine fights but he is determined to grab this opportunity and prove he belongs at a higher level – and soon.

The former Ulster senior champion, brother of Olympic bronze medallist Michael who is boxing at the World championships in Kazakhstan, should certainly be in line for a British title shot if he comes through the challenge against Rojas.

But for now, he is just relieved to be boxing at the Odyssey.

"I couldn't believe it when John told me that the fight was off and it was on my birthday too," said Conlan.

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"John didn't want to tell me but on the Friday I was warming up and I looked up and I said what's wrong and he told me the guy was out but he also said 'I think they'll get someone for you'.

"But that training session was the worst training session that I've ever had in my life.

"I just went on a downer, it hit me halfway through and then I went home and talked to my dad.

"Patience is a virtue, I got that from my dad because of the time he waits on my mum getting ready to go out!

"I was in limbo for a few days but when John rang and told me I had an opponent it was like Christmas and I said that I don't care what he looks like or what his record is, I want that fight.

"I know there is not a title on the line but it's like a world title to me because if I lose then I am right back down the ladder."

Conlan says that he is prepared for hard man Rojas and that the late change of opponent will not affect his performance.

He added: "I have prepared so hard, I've been sparring my brother Michael, Paddy Barnes and Marc McCullough who's on the bill so I am in great shape.

"Every day I was going into the gym knowing that I was in for a hard day. And every day it was three and three and they were laughing because Paddy would come in and do three and then Michael and Paddy would be saying 'right you go in and finish him off, he's wrecked'. It was tough going but it has me in super shape and having them in the camp was good.

"Michael and I are now boxing on the same day and I have every confidence that he can win and then go on to win a medal at the World championships.

"Michael is the best boxer that I have ever been in the ring with. But he's still that wee brother that I would have brought to the shop.

"And even though I am confident, I'll probably be more nervous for his fight than mine."


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