Who is Diego Alberto Ruiz? All you need to know about Michael Conlan's opponent for his Féile fight
Argentinian boxer Diego Alberto Ruiz has been confirmed as Michael Conlan's stand-in opponent for his Falls Park fight next month.
Local favourite Conlan will box in a 10-round featherweight fight at Féile an Phobail on August 3 but the opposition corner was plunged into doubt after the withdrawal of Vladimir Nikitin due to an injury just five weeks before the bout.
That had been set to be a huge grudge match with Conlan ready to settle old scores having lost to the Russian on a controversial decision in the 2016 Olympics. Nikitin had been unable to participate in his next match due to the injuries he sustained.
Now Ruiz has stepped in to fill the gap. So just who is he?
All you need to know about Diego Alberto Ruiz
Nickname: El Profeta (The Prophet)
Hometown: Las Talitas, Tucuman, Argentina
Professional record: Won 21 (10 by KO) / Lost two (none by KO)
Career titles: Just last month, Ruiz won the vacant WBO Latino Silver Featherweight belt by beating compatriot Luis Emanuel Cusolito. He had previously fought at super bantamweight, where he won both the interim and silver WBC Latino titles. He also twice won the Argentina (FAB) Bantamweight belt.
Current winning streak: Ruiz is unbeaten in his last 10 fights since losing out to Leonardo Bruno Cicopiedi by unanimous decision in June 2016. Five of those 10 wins have come via stoppages with four unanimous decisions and only last month's title win on split decision.
What has Michael Conlan said about him? "When Vladimir Nikitin dropped out due to injury, I told Top Rank and MTK Global to get me the toughest possible opponent. Ruiz is on a 10-fight winning streak, and I know he's coming all the way from Argentina to continue his victorious ways. This is my toughest test as a professional, but if I'm going to become a world champion, I must beat Ruiz.”
What has Diego Alberto Ruiz said about the fight? “This is the biggest fight of my career and a great opportunity to prove myself as a fighter. I fought June 1, and I am going to be ready for whatever Michael brings. It won’t be an easy fight, but it is not an impossible task. I am not scared to fight on the road. That is my motivation because the pressure will be on him.”
When is the fight and where can I watch it? The bout will take place in Falls Park at Féile an Phobail on August 3. You can still get tickets here or you can watch it live on BT Sport. The fight will also be broadcast on American subscription streaming service ESPN+.
Belfast Telegraph Digital