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Michael Conlan excited for summer Belfast bout after New York double-header

 

By David Kelly

He may only be about to have his fifth professional bout but this week in New York, Michael Conlan has been treated like boxing royalty.

Whether it was sitting courtside with superstar Vasyl Lomachenko in Madison Square Garden to watch the New York Knicks or working out alongside Cuban legend Guillermo Rigondeaux, Conlan has been to the fore.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, Conlan will be part of the supporting bill to the highly anticipated clash between Lomachenko and Rigondeaux, two men he has always looked up to.

"What a show to be on. Lomachenko and Rigondeaux will go down as two of the greatest amateurs of all time and now they meet as professionals. It's going to be great to be a part of it and just helps my profile even more," said Conlan, who is already booked in for a St Patrick's night return to the Garden in 2018.

Belfast man Conlan has been making waves Stateside with his engaging personality and swashbuckling skills and while he is relishing back-to-back nights in the Garden, he is looking forward to a homecoming before the summer.

Being at ringside last month to witness the World title defeat of brother Jamie was hard to take for the World amateur champion but the supporters nevertheless reminded him of what he is missing. Conlan added: "I thought the atmosphere was unbelievable as usual, Belfast people love their boxing.

"We're a fighting city and when big nights like that happen, everyone comes together.

"Of course, one of the main reasons I want to fight at home is because of those amazing atmospheres. I had something like it at my debut in a sold-out five odd thousand Madison Square Garden Theatre arena, but to experience that in Belfast will be something special."

Conlan returns to the ring for the most serious test of his career so far, though he is expected to deliver another eye-catching performance against Luis Fernando Molina of Argentina.

"I'm feeling great, training camp is going well and I'm looking forward to putting on a great performance on such a big night of boxing," he added.

Meanwhile, Lee Selby looks certain to retain his World IBF featherweight title after challenger Eduardo Ramirez failed to make the weight for tomorrow's London bout. The Mexican was eight pounds over the limit (126 pounds) this week.

"The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) say he cannot come in any lower than 9st 2lbs (128lbs) for health reasons," promoter Frank Warren said.

"So if the fight goes ahead Lee will remain champion whatever the result."

Ramirez would not officially weigh in before this afternoon, but he now needs to lose too much weight to satisfy the BBBoC guidelines.

Astonishingly, Ramirez also went missing in London ahead of yesterday's final media conference, which was delayed for an hour as Warren sent assistants to search his hotel.

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