Attitude era – WWE star drawn to Mick Conlan after Olympic outburst

Irish WWE superstar Finn Bálor is a big fan of Belfast’s Michael Conlan [6(5)-0] and can appreciate the top boxing prospect’s occasionally pro wrestling-style attitude.

Having exchanged messages on social media, the pair met up ahead of Conlan’s headline slot at The Theater at Madison Square Garden last week.

Having had UFC megastar Conor McGregor walk him into the ring for his debut at the same venue last year,  Conlan spent some time this St Patrick’s Week with another prominent Irish name in America.

Regardless of the views of many, professional wrestling draws massive numbers and the association with Bálor – real name Fergal Devitt – can only serve to build the Conlan brand further. 

There did seem to be a genuine respect on the part of Bálor for Conlan following his reaction to his infamous Rio Olympic quarter-final defeat to Vladimir Nikitin.

The Top Rank fighter certainly showed he has a bit of WWE in him with his middle finger salute and the wrestler admits that attitude is what first drew him to the World amateur champion.

“That moment in the Olympics kind of showed that Mick is a stand-up man and he says what he believes. That’s very rare these days and I reached out to him and said, ‘Ultimate respect for what you have done.’ He’s gone pro… he’s doing great representing Ireland and his family,” Balor told Fightful.

Conlan defeated Hungarian David Berna via second-round knockout in the Felt Forum last Saturday. The previous night, in the main arena, Bálor was part of the New York leg of the WWE Road to Wrestlemania Live Tour. Along with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, the Irishman defeated The Miz and the Miztourage in the main event.

Although both earn their living in the ring, their professions are completely different. However, Bálor reveals there remains massive respect between him and Conlan – who has also caught the eye of the Bray performer’s mammy.

“One thing I will say is that he has a warm personality that it transcends through the television even when he is knocking guys’ heads off,” noted Bálor who was the inaugural WWE Universal Heavyweight champion before adding that “my mother is one of his biggest fans. He’s a favourite back home.” 


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Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years