Jamie Conlan‘s next fight will be a non-title eight rounder, but the Commonwealth super flyweight champion will box for world honours next should he get past this keep-busy bout.
Conlan [19(11)-0] fights on the BoxNation ‘Battle of Belfast’ card at the Waterfront Hall on Saturday June 17th and has a WBO world title fight lined up on the horizon.
Conlan, ranked #4 by the body, had a final eliminator for the title in the pipeline but, with champion Naoya Inoue looking likely to vacate, this fight will be elevated to a vacant title clash.
The opponent for this fight will be a man Conlan describes as his “mirror image” – Hong Kong warrior Rex Tso [21(13)-0], who holds the WBO’s International and Asia-Pacific belts, as well as the #1 spot in the rankings.
Speaking earlier today at the press conference for the Battle of Belfast card, Conlan outlined that it will be “hopefully a nice easy night on June 17th. The next one after this is the big one, what I’ve been working all my life for.”
“This is to stay relevant, to stay active, to stay in the gym, stay learning every day. I’m going training with Paddy and the lads, working on what I’ve got to do, not just for this one, but for the next one.”
In terms of the specific, there are two potential options for the fight, one of which would include sharing a card with his brother, and Tso’s promotional stablemate, Mick Conlan.
Jamie Conlan explained that “Matt [Macklin, manager] and the team are in negotiations with Top Rank at the minute, and it seems like it’s all go for after the summer. Rex Tso, the Hong Kong fella, he’s going to be the opponent. ”
“Vacant WBO world title is what it looks like. The WBO champion is making a final defence at the end of May. It’s a possibility that he could be forced to make one in September – and if that happens, myself and Michael make a big bill here in November.”
Both Tso and Conlan have built reputations as exciting fighters who feature in dramatic fights, and recently a match-up of the pair has been mooted in numerous corners.
30 year old Conlan himself is keen on the fight, believing it to be a guaranteed fan-friendly scrap.
‘The Mexican’ described how “usually I saw before the fight that it’s going to be nice and handy, that I’ll take it easy, that we’ll work and there wont be any drama – but I think Rex Tso, he’s the only one I look at and think he’s a mirror image of myself. he comes and he fights, he gets dropped, he gets cut, he gets hurt, but he gets up and finds a way to win.”
“He’s unbeaten in however many fights and he’s just got that grit and determination. We both lack maybe technical ability of the superstars like Michael but we have that something else, it’s inside us, that will make us fight to the end and I believe that the fight will be one of those ones, it will be a barnburner”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)
LISTEN: Mick Conlan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill on Episode 4 of The Irish Boxing Show