May 5, 2017
May 5, 2017
Michael Conlan

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

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RISING star Michael Conlan looks set to feature on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title defence against Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Australia in July.

Conlan made his professional debut under the Top Rank banner, who also promote Pacquiao, at Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s Day.

On May 26 he will top another bill in his second professional fight at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, and vice president of Top Rank, Carl Moretti, revealed future plans for the Belfast man.

New York City was an event.  I have never seen a pro debut explode like that,” he said.

“One day he will sell out Madison Square Garden in the big room, there’s no question. It’s something we feel is attainable.

“He needs experience and is getting great experience training and sparring with world champions.  He’s doing everything the right way but there’s nothing like getting rounds in without headgear and with eight ounce gloves. The more fights he gets the better he’ll become.

“Boston, New York, Chicago will be the best places to host Michael’s fights.  But we are fielding calls from a lot of venues all over the U.S.  He is an attraction. Especially in boxing, representing their countries while fighting in the United States is so important.

“If all goes well, he’ll fight on July 2 in Brisbane, Australia on Manny Pacquiao’s world championship undercard.  There is a large Irish community in Australia.”

Conlan was a standout amateur and turned over to huge fanfare, even having UFC superstar Conor McGregor walk him to the ring for his debut.

Boxing at featherweight as a professional under the guidance of trainer Manny Robles, the Northern Irishman is excited about his future.

“New York was something I couldn’t even dream of, just a great night.  That was my first performance as a professional,” he said.

“I just know I can do better and look forward to a better performance in my second fight.  I know how good I want to be and I know I can improve on a lot more.  After New York City I took some time off and spent some time with my family and just relaxed.

“This is the next step.  My preparation will be the same.  It’s my job and I look forward to fighting here in Chicago.

“I loved what I’ve seen of Chicago, my first time here, it’s got a huge Irish population and it’s always nice to be surrounded by locals.  A lot of people have contacted me by way of social media who live here in Chicago.  It should be a great crowd.

“No stage fright for me at all, I enjoy the whole package, including talking to the media and meeting with fans  I’ve always had a lot of attention on me.

“The amateurs and the Olympics are all in the past, it’s all about the future now.  I want to stay as active as possible.”