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‘Best fighter in the world’ Conlan plans to start pound for pound journey with Leigh Wood win

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.”

Leigh Wood and Michael Conlan Press Conference to announce their WBA Featherweight World Title fight in Nottingham on 12th March 2022. 20 January 2022 Picture By Mark Robinson.

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

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 sports for a living for over 20 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