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‘Big step up’ – Bob Arum warns Michael Conlan of Baluta threat

Michael Conlan [14(8)-0] faces the toughest test of his profesional career this coming Friday night according to Bob Arum.

The Belfast super-bantamweight takes on Ionut Baluta [14(3)-2(0)] on a Queensbury card, live on BT Sports, in his first fight since suffering an ankle injury late last year.

The Top Rank boss believes the Romanian is a step up on anything the Olympic medal winner has fought since he turned over in March of 2017.

Indeed, the WBO European ranking title holder comes into the fight on the back of two upset wins against Irish oppossition.

Baluta scalped Portlaoise’s former world champion TJ Doheny and Westmeath’s Rio Olympian David Oliver Joyce in his most recent outings.

As a result he has proved himself a threat and is a danger warns Arum.

“This is a big step up for Mick, as Baluta has pulled off quite a few upsets and is motivated to do so once again,” said Top Rank the chairman before backing his man to rise to the occassion.

“Mick is close to a world title shot, and I expect him to be at his very best April 30. I am also pleased that American fight fans will have an opportunity to watch the sensational Mthalane, who is in tough against the young Edwards.”

Conlan is back after a disappointing 2020 that started with the COVID-related cancellation of his annual St. Patrick’s Day bout in New York and ended with an ankle injury suffered while training in November. He knocked out former world title challenger Sofiane Takoucht last August before that injury ruled him out of a mouthwatering clash with Isaac Dogboe.

Speaking about his return Conlan said: “I know how tough of a fighter Baluta is, but I’ve been training hard since shortly after my last win in August and will be well prepared for victory. I’m looking forward to putting on a great show and can’t wait to get back in the ring.”

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