Belfast Telegraph

Arum happy to see the way Conlan is taking off

 

By David Kelly

Michael Conlan may be the supporting act in the early hours of tomorrow morning in Madison Square Garden but it's hard to tell given the amount of attention he has been receiving all week in the Big Apple.

Conlan takes on Spaniard Ibon Larrinaga, who has a solitary defeat in 11 bouts, ahead of his highly anticipated Belfast homecoming on June 30 at the SSE Arena.

Defeat is unthinkable... another flamboyant victory the expectation for the 25-year-old whose profile grows with every fight.

Conlan doesn't simply want to notch up win number seven but also give everyone a glimpse of how he has been developing under the guidance of new coach Adam Booth - something that has not gone unnoticed by promoter Bob Arum, the head of Top Rank.

"Michael is making a lot of progress, we're very happy with how he is improving. Working with Booth, I think, has improved him a lot and he seems to be enjoying his training across the Pond," said Arum.

"He's happier there, he's a family man so it's good for him to be closer to home. We've been moving him up in class each time and we'll keep doing that. There's no big rush, it takes time to develop when you come out of the amateurs.

"As a company we have a reputation for bringing up fighters correctly, moving them carefully but not overly carefully. I'll not put him in any fight where I don't believe he has a good chance of winning. We want him in competitive fights each time."

Conlan feels that he has been moving along the ladder at just the right speed and while he believes linking up with Booth has already paid dividends, the former World amateur champion stresses the value of kicking off his career Stateside.

"That year I spent in LA will really stand to me. It gave me a good introduction to what professional boxing is all about. The sparring I had was incredible - everybody in America hits hard," said Conlan.

"I prided myself as an amateur how I got in and out of range with my feet and when I went to LA I kind of threw it out the window and thought as a professional fighter you need to be a guy who goes forward and just stands there and plants his feet and throws punches.

"Adam has given me a better understanding of pro boxing and it's not all about that - it's about longevity and hitting and not being hit and about being able to enjoy your money after boxing.

"I have kids and the main thing for me is that I want to be able to enjoy my family and my health after sport.

"I could have taken an easier route and signed for (promoters) Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn who were offering good money... I chose the harder route but I looked at the promotion of Top Rank and seen what they have done time and time again.

"Look at all the fighters they have had, like Oscar de la Hoya and Miguel Cotto, and I thought it was the smartest decision because they know how to manage careers and bring people through at the right time."

It would be only natural if Conlan had one eye on June 30 but he is adamant that it will not be a distraction in any way as he goes about his work against his most serious test so far.

"I learned during my time in the amateurs not to overlook opponents. It cost me and I won't let that happen against this guy," he added.

"I want to do a good job and show some of the things that I have added to my game. It's another great stage to shine on so I want to deliver and keep exciting the public."

The main event features arguably the pound for pound number one fighter in the world, Vasyl Lomachenko, challenging World lightweight champion Jorge Linares. The show is live on BoxNation.

Meanwhile, Hughie Fury challenges Sam Sexton for his British heavyweight title fight in Bolton tonight.

Former World title challenger Fury is expected to overcome Sexton as he seeks to plot his way to another crack at the big time.

Belfast Telegraph

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