SATURDAY June 30 sees the “Conlan Revolution” reach these shores for the first time. The charismatic and ultra talented Irishman has taken to professional boxing like a duck to water and hopes to deliver a performance worthy of his touted reputation for his home fans in Belfast. When Michael Conlan gave the AIBA judges the finger, he did three things; go viral, signal the end of his illustrious amateur career and start a global scramble for his professional signature. Make no mistake, Conlan was one of the most sought after names of recent years. The fact he signed with legendary hall of famer Bob Arum, a man who has guided names such as Muhammad Ali, Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather speaks volumes.
Some readers who are not familiar with the amateur scene may not have known Conlan outside of “The Finger” so here is a brief overview:
- Conlan is a two-time Olympian. Winning a bronze medal at the London 2012 games and infamously having a decision go against him in Rio 2016.
- In 2015 Conlan became Ireland’s first ever World Amateur Champion, winning the gold medal.
- Conlan has won gold medals at both the Commonwealth Games and European championships.
- Conlan comes from a fighting family. His dad was his first ever coach, while his brother Jamie is a well respected professional boxer in his own right.
- Conlan is regarded one of Ireland’s most successful male amateur boxers of all time.
Conlan thus far in his professional career has yet to put a foot wrong. He has beaten whoever’s been put in front of him and has put forth great performances while doing so. What makes Conlan so good is his footwork and balance. He has an innate ability to glide in and out of punching range while delivering sharp, accurate and hurtful combinations. He has excellent hand speed and a desire to let those hands go. This bodes of excitement for boxing fans. While he dispatched five of his seven victims inside the distance, he is not known as a power puncher. It will be interesting to see how his power translates as he inevitably moves up the ladder in class.
As with any amateur ‘turning over’ to the professional ranks, a period of adjustment is needed. Conlan so far has shown that he is not in need of being ‘eased in’. He doesn’t wish to tread water with cannon fodder and wants to make strides towards world titles, a level he sees himself at. He has had a well travelled career so far, even if it is still in its infancy. Originally moving to the States, being trained by Manny Robles. Conlan has now moved to the UK to link up with the enigmatic Adam Booth. On the surface this seems to be a match made in boxing heaven; tactics, style and guile. There will no doubt be tougher assignments ahead for this pairing. Only then will we truly be able to gauge them.
This Saturday gives us another look into a touted amateur star. Michael Conlan is a fighter who is talented, charismatic and has world title ambitions. Add his fierce pride and the Irish following that supports him and we have the ingredients for a potential superstar. Conlan is operating in the featherweight division and will no doubt have his eyes on domestic rivals such as Lee Selby, Kid Galahad and newly crowned world champ Josh Warrington. All these match ups could give us some potentially great fights. I won’t even mention the magnitude of a showdown with another fellow featherweight from Belfast… we can all dream.
There are some potentially huge nights ahead… Viva the revolution.
Michael Conlan fights Brazilian Adeilson Dos Santos ahead of Saturday’s fight at Belfast’s SSE Arena.