Belfast Telegraph

Conlan seeks a challenge after barely breaking a sweat

By Steven Beacom

Michael Conlan may have assured himself a Commonwealth Games medal yesterday, but the Belfast man admitted that he was "bored" doing it, declaring he can fight "TEN times better".

Bantamweight Conlan barely had to break sweat to see off his Ugandan opponent Bashir Nasir in the quarter-finals, winning on a unanimous verdict.

Unlike many of the fights inside the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre Hall, where the boxing takes place, the atmosphere was lacking as the 22-year-old Northern Ireland cruised to victory.

Conlan didn't get out of first gear. But then the Olympic bronze medallist didn't have to. Conlan is a whole lot better than the indifferent performance he put on in his third fight in Glasgow.

After his victory, which opened up yesterday afternoon's boxing session, Conlan said: "I can perform 10 times better than that.

"It was a bit boring to be honest. It was barely a fight. It was very, very scrappy. I knew it was always going to be like that because, with a lot of the African countries, there's no real technique.

"I thought he was going to come on to my shots more, but he waited a lot and it made it a really boring fight.

"It wasn't even half a performance and I still got the win. Especially against a low quality opponent, it's hard to get motivated. I was probably a bit too confident going in, but at the end of the day it's a win and the better the opponent I face, the better I'll fight."

That was certainly the case when earlier in the Games he defeated India's Shiva Thapa, considered Conlan's most dangerous foe in the division.

In the semi-finals tomorrow, Conlan will take on the Welshman with the Irish name Sean McGoldrick and you can expect the St John Bosco fighter to up the ante.

On his day McGoldrick can be a tricky operator and is not lacking in motivation as he aims to retain the Commonwealth Games title he won in Delhi four years ago.

Back then teenager Michael was in tears after making an early exit.

Conlan knows all about the man he will face next.

"Sean is a lovely person and a quality boxer as well. I sparred with him a few years ago when I was a teenager and he came over to Belfast to spar with me and my brother," said Conlan, who has a bronze medal at present, but is determined to swap it for gold.

"I'm not thinking about bronze at all. Gold's the only one I want. Bronze medals don't mean anything. I have a bronze medal from London. I don't want another bronze medal, or silver, just gold," said Conlan, whose dad John is doing a fine job as the boxing team's coach along with Stephen Friel and Eddie Bolger.

"Come Friday I think it's me winning. I have that confidence.

"I know he's a quality opponent but I'm on my game in this tournament. That's the worst performance you'll see from me."

Belfast Telegraph


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