In the biggest professional debut in Irish boxing history, Mick Conlan lit up The Theater at Madison Square Garden with an explosive first paid outing in front of an electric atmosphere in New York.
The Belfast super bantamweight entered into the paid ranks amid an unparalleled level of attention, both in terms of support and media coverage.
Around 2,000 Irish fans, along with a strong contingent of Irish boxing writers, made the trip across the Atlantic for the St Patrick’s Day show.
The World Amateur gold medalist was faced by the challenge of Tim Ibarra in his opening pro contest, and the Falls Road fighter blew away his opponent inside three rounds.
While he was a relatively decent amateur and a fighter with over two months preparation, Ibarra was never intended to pose Conlan with too many challenges, and was duly disposed of after 1:59 of round three.
Conlan’s ring entrance was an extravagant ordeal, with Irish dancers, national anthems, Michael Buffer, numerous renditions of Olé, Olé, Olé, and two-weight UFC champion Conor McGregor draped in the Irish tricolour.
The fight itself saw Conlan starting patiently, with an impressive jab and some nice rights to the body. The one time Ibarra was lead to the ropes, Conlan unloaded a flurry of hurtful-looking hooks to the body that roused cheers from the huge crowd.
Conlan showed off his switch-hitting skills in the second, going southpaw initially. Ibarra held his own for much of the stanza before he was hurt by the Irishman in the final seconds, sending the fans momentarily wild.
Ibarra was ready to go and, after a prolonged beating in the third, showing a wide range of shots, the bout was waved off.
Jumping on the turnbuckle to salute the travelling fans, pandemonium ensued among the 5,102 in attendance.
Conlan’s brand new professional reads a perfect 1(1)-0, while the ledger of the game Ibarra falls to 4(1)-5(3) following the defeat.
With his second fight date on the mooted Pacquiao v Horn undercard in Australia now seemingly dead in the water, it is currently unconfirmed when we will see Conlan in the ring again – it will no doubt be in the near future.
Jamie Conlan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill for Episode 3 of The Irish Boxing Show: