Michael Conlan [16(8)-0] is thinking big.
The 30-year-old believes he will take step one along the path to becoming the ‘best fighter in the world’ on March 12.
The ambitious Belfast featherweight challenges Leigh Wood [25(15)-2(1)] for the WBA ‘regular’ title in Nottingham this Spring and is adamant victory will spring him in the direction of greatness.
Speaking at a press conference in Belfast Ireland’s first male World Amateur Champion suggested he will start to make moves toward the pound-for-pound rankings in just under two months’ time.
“This is the start of my journey to become the best fighter in the world, once I win this belt, I’ll go on to do what I have to do after. I have to win this belt first before I even have to think about that,” Conlan said.
“March 12 you’ll hear I’m the new and that’s all I want to say.”
To become world champion and progress toward the top of the pile Conlan will have to dethrone champion Wood in his own backyard.
However, the Adam Booth fighter has no issue with traveling, indeed he believes winning away from home will earn him more respect.
The Olympic medal winner also believes the pressure of a homecoming may have a negative impact on the Ben Davidson trained Wood.
“I know exactly what it’s like fighting under that pressure of fighting at home, I’ve done it three times and every show has been massive. Loads of people there, so much expectation, a purpose-built arena in a park. This guy doesn’t understand it, he’s never felt it, you can see his demeanour has changed from yesterday.”
Conlan also believes Wood wanted the fight in Nottingham because he isn’t confident of victory – and thus feels this is the last chance of a big fight at home.
“He doesn’t understand the pressure that comes with fighting in your home city, he had the opportunity to fight at MSG and he can come to Belfast and fight if he wanted to. But no, he wants to fight in Nottingham, in the City Ground before he retires. He knows I can beat him.”
Photo credit Mark Robinson Matchroom