Andy Lee backs “special” Mick Conlan to prevail in 50-50 Wood fight

Michael Conlan [16(8)-0] could become the superstar he was destined to become with a ‘special’ performance on Saturday night according to Andy Lee.

The former middleweight champion of the world believes his fellow Irish Olympian’s eagerly-awaited clash with WBA featherweight titlist Leigh Wood [25(15)-2(1)] is a 50-50 fight – but as the one with the ability to produce something out of the ordinary the Limerick man would lean toward Conlan.

Jason Quigley and Paddy Donovan’s trainer also suggest Top Rank’s Conlan will be happy with 50-50 and a level playing field in his first world title fight.

“It’s a hard fight for both men. A proper 50/50, but Mick will be happy with that. To get your first world title shot and it’s split right down the middle, that’s a good place to be,” Lee told DAZN.

“He’s not entering the fight a huge underdog who’s got it all to do. I like both men as fighters.”

“Leigh impressed me with his last performance, but Mick can be special. Saturday night is the time he can prove it.”

Nottingham, UK: Leigh Wood and Michael Conlan Weigh In ahead of their WBA Featherweight World Title fight tomorrow night. 11 March 2022 Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing

Considering he is the challenger fighting away from home there is an unusual amount of pressure on the Olympic bronze medal winner going into the Matchroom-promoted DAZN-broadcast fight night.

It’s pressure Lee believes the Adam Booth-trained switch-hitter has learnt to deal with and thus won’t be negatively effected by,

“With Mick, we’ve known for a long time that he was going to be a superstar,” said Lee when speaking with DAZN.

“What he did when representing Ireland across many tournaments, including the Olympic Games, was pretty special. The path he has been put on comes with so much pressure, but he’s responded like a true champion every single time.

“He’ll have to do that against Leigh Wood, but this is a fight that he always knew he was going to have to take at some point.

“Look what he’s done in the sport already. So many medals as an amateur. A big deal with Top Rank that saw him on big shows in America. He’s headlined his own shows in Belfast. Believe me, that all comes with a big deal of pressure, and he’s handled it in such a good manner. Saturday is a big opportunity for him, but the occasion won’t get the better of him. He’ll handle it fine.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com