Belfast Telegraph

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Promoter seeking deal for Conlan to challenge Champ Josh Warrington

Michael Conlan.
Michael Conlan.
David Kelly

By David Kelly

Promoter Bob Arum says he would love to strike a deal for Michael Conlan to challenge IBF World featherweight champion Josh Warrington early next year.

Conlan will return to the ring on December 14 at Madison Square Garden when he faces bitter amateur rival Vladimir Nikitin and Arum wants the Belfast man to return there on St Patrick's night for a showdown with Warrington, who last weekend knocked out Frenchman Sofiane Takoucht in fine fashion.

"Michael against Warrington would be a massive fight and I think St Patrick's night would be perfect timing," said Arum (circled below), the head of Top Rank promotions.

"One step at a time because Michael has to deal with Nikitin but then after that I would be keen to do a deal whether it was at Madison Square Garden, London or Manchester but obviously it would be a tremendous night to have it at MSG."

Arum has had a good business relationship with Warrington's promoter Frank Warren, who made it clear that he would have no problem matching the Leeds warrior with Conlan. Warren is keen to see Warrington in higher profile bouts, including potential unification battles, while the IBF champion (left) has made it clear he would relish an away day in the States.

"I would make the fight with Conlan in a heartbeat. That would be a great night for the fans," said Warren.

"Michael is a good fighter and has done all that has been asked of him. He's a popular guy and Josh is one of the few fighters in the world who can sell out arenas so if the terms are right I'm sure we could make it happen."

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Reflecting on Conlan's victory over Diego Alberto Ruiz in August at Falls Park, Arum believes that the Belfast man's profile is higher than ever and the clash with Nikitin will naturally generate a great deal of interest as part of the undercard to WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford's latest title defence.

"The night in Belfast couldn't have gone any better for Michael and for boxing. It was great to have such a great atmosphere, everybody singing. My wife and I then had time to see some of the attractions," he said.

"Having been there 30 years before when I had Bernard Taylor challenging Barry McGuigan it was good to see how things have moved on," said Arum.

"Michael's profile has been growing having been on big shows on ESPN and this one in December will be great for him. The event goes on after the Heismann Trophy award for the best college athlete.

"Millions and millions watch that and the ratings we get for the boxing that succeeds it are always the best of the year."

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