| 9°C Belfast

Michael Conlan set for world title chance on St Patrick's Day after 'career-best performance' against Sofiane Takoucht

 

Close

Telling connection: Michael Conlan lands a blow on Sofiane Takoucht during Saturday night’s bout in Bethnal Green

Telling connection: Michael Conlan lands a blow on Sofiane Takoucht during Saturday night’s bout in Bethnal Green

Telling connection: Michael Conlan lands a blow on Sofiane Takoucht during Saturday night’s bout in Bethnal Green

Michael Conlan is one win away from a crack at the WBO World super-bantamweight title on St Patrick's Day, according to manager and brother Jamie.

On Saturday night at the York Hall, Bethnal Green, Conlan enjoyed a 10th round stoppage of Frenchman Sofiane Takoucht, who took such a beating he had to be taken to hospital.

Conlan had maintained beforehand that he had a new zest and hunger for the sport on the back of training through lockdown and it was evident from the opening bell as he brought a new hyper-intense aggression to his work that shocked former world title challenger Takoucht. The only concern for the Belfast man was the possibility of disqualification as he suffered a point deduction for low blows in rounds four and five, which seemed harsh.

Conlan is now primed to face the winner of the clash between WBO super-bantamweight champion Angelo Leo and Stephen Fulton.

"Leo and Fulton have to meet by December and then the winner has to face to Michael in a mandatory defence so the timing looks perfect for St Patrick's Day," said Jamie.

"Before that, Michael will be out in November and it could be that he will be on the same card as Carl in Las Vegas."

Michael is relishing the chance of a shot at either Leo or Fulton following his comprehensive victory over Takoucht, which concluded with 66 seconds remaining as the Belfast man uncorked crunching left hooks and a right hand that had the Frenchman reeling.

"That is my career-best performance, without a doubt," he said.

"I had been working on a lot of good things in the gym and they were evident in the fight. I'm buzzing after that because I know that I'm ready right now to win a world title. I'd beat Leo and Fulton in the morning. I know not having fans is hard for some fighters but I loved it. I fought the best in the world as an amateur in arenas like that so for me it just felt like I was right back there and I just went straight to work.

"I felt I showed a lot more intensity in my work and my body shots were working really well. I know I got two public warnings but that seemed a bit much to be honest and I know that former world champions Andre Ward and Tim Bradley on the American commentary for ESPN were saying they couldn't understand what was happening.

"I had to be careful after the warnings because I felt like a footballer who was told he could only use one foot. So to get the stoppage in the 10th round was very pleasing."

Conlan, who hadn't boxed since last December when defeating old amateur rival Vladimir Nikitin, showed no sign of ring rust and insists that lockdown has transformed his approach to the sport.

"I'm not a fighter who trains for a season, not just one who has 10-week camps," he explained.

"I am keeping myself in good shape all the time.

"I'm shortly going on holiday for three weeks and I'm already ordering new running shoes so I maintain my fitness.

"I was supposed to be only going for two weeks but Easyjet cancelled the flight and then told me the next one was a week later so I went for that!"

Belfast Telegraph