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Jamie Conlan is aiming to keep World hopes in motion

By David Kelly

Jamie Conlan loved watching younger brother Michael win his World amateur title last month and now he is focused on his own lofty ambitions.

At 29 years of age, Conlan cannot afford any slip-ups as he moves closer to an eagerly anticipated super-flyweight battle with Cheshire's Paul Butler in 2016, which would be a final eliminator for the WBO World title.

The Belfast man returns to the ring tomorrow night in Dublin's National Stadium, the scene of his epic potential Fight of the Year win over Mexican warrior Junior Granados in July.

The clash with former IBF World bantamweight champion Butler (right) has been talked about for some time and with both men having their fights screened by BoxNation it now seems inevitable they will cross swords.

Conlan, who meets Argentina's Adrian Dimas Garzon, said: "The Butler fight is logical for both of us because there's not too many quality little guys around. We're both trying to push on to bigger things and both believe we can beat the other so hopefully it'll materialise early next year.

"I'm really excited by the rivalry that's building and I'd happily go to the mainland to challenge Paul, especially if he was defending a decent belt. A ring's a ring. That'd really put fire in my belly.

"Butler's a really good fighter and he'll still be a good fighter after I've beat him. I see weaknesses in him and not just when he got stopped in his World title fight by the South African Zolani Tete.

"It's in the fights that Butler has won that I noticed he repeatedly gets caught with the same shots."

Now based in Spain, Conlan believes he will give a more polished display than the one against Granados when he climbed off the floor to win on points.

"I proved against Granados that nobody can break my heart but I knew after the fight that there were things I had to work on," added Conlan.

"When I went back to the training camp in Spain I sat down with my coach Danny Vaughan and we talked about how I needed to improve and that included my strength and conditioning because I felt that I was being pushed around a little too easy in the fight with Granados in the summer. So I think people will see an improvement there.

"It's been frustrating not having a settled opponent leading up to the fight but as far as I'm concerned, it's all about what I do in the ring."

When Conlan walks to the ring tomorrow night, rival Butler will be ringside working for BoxNation, as will brother Michael, who made history when becoming the first Irish amateur to win World Championship gold in Doha.

Rival Butler will enjoy having a ringside view of Conlan, whom he is confident of overcoming on the way to another World title shot.

Butler said: "I think Conlan's a good kid, but he's not good enough to beat me.

"He's got plenty of heart and I respect that, but against me he'd have to show a lot more than just grit. I'm confident that I'd beat him, whether he stood in front of me, if I took it to him, or if I boxed him, I know I'd come out the winner.

"There's not any department that he could beat me in from what I've seen.

"If that Mexican kid Granados pushed him back what's he going to do against the likes of me? I'm bigger and stronger and I'd do what I want to him."

Tomorrow night's bill will also feature Belfast man Ciaran McVarnock.

Meanwhile, Belfast men James Tennyson and James Fryers will return to the ring in Estonia on November 14.

The duo will be part of the undercard to unbeaten heavyweight Robert Helenius.

Celtic champion Tennyson is hoping for a British featherweight title shot in 2016.

Belfast Telegraph


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