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Michael Conlan wants to become greatest fighting Irishman

By David Kelly

Michael Conlan has set himself a huge task as he prepares to make his professional debut at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.

"I want to be the best Irish fighter ever," said the Belfast man.

Conlan has arrived in New York ahead of what has become one of the most eagerly anticipated debuts in world boxing with a crowd of around 5,000 expected to pack into the Theatre at the Garden.

The World amateur bantamweight champion will be in a six rounder against American Tim Ibarra and is eager to make a major statement as he seeks to kick off a glittering pro career.

"I want to be one of the greatest fighters of all time but my main focus is to be Ireland's greatest fighter," said Conlan.

"I have faith in myself and I truly believe that I will be that fighter."

Conlan says he is relishing the huge amount of hype around his debut, with promotional outfit Top Rank estimating that 2,000 have travelled from the Emerald Isle to witness his showcase event on St Patrick's night.

"Making my debut at MSG is big but I don't feel pressure, pressure is for tyres and not for me. Conor McGregor will be walking me to the ring which is great and hopefully this will be the start of something huge," said Conlan.

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

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