Top Rank boss Bob Arum has confirmed that Irish fans will have to wait until next year to see Mick Conlan fight in his homeland.
The Belfast super bantamweight linked up with the American giant last Summer following the Rio Olympic Games and debuted on an unprecedented stage, headlining at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Another headline fight in Chicago followed before a prominent appearance on the Pacquiao-Horn undercard in Brisbane, Australia.
Next up for Conlan is an undercard slot on another world title card next month in Arizona, and it had previously been assumed that an Irish homecoming would follow soon after.
Conlan and manager Matt Macklin ensured that there was a condition in the contract with Top Rank that dictated that the Falls Road fighter boxes in Ireland or Britain at least once a year – and a date at the SSE Odyssey Arena in late November or early December was believed to be in the works.
However, 25 year old Conlan revealed earlier this week that he may not avail of this fight date in 2017, and Bob Arum has now confirmed that it will be next year before the 2015 World Amateur champion comes home.
Outlining his plans for Conlan after the September 22nd appearance on the Gilberto Ramirez v Jessie Hart/Oscar Valdez v Genesis Servania card, Arum told Gavan Casey of The42.ie that “we have a big, major Lomachenko fight in Madison Square Garden, to showcase Michael on that card in New York.”
Arum was referring to a proposed December 9th date for ‘Hi-Tech’ in the Big Apple, and would go on to look ahead to 2018.
“And then, for next year, there’ll be a Boston stop I’m sure, and then hopefully in the first six months of the year we’ll do a fight for him in Belfast or Dublin, which would be live on ESPN,” he added.
The reason for the delay, according to the veteran promoter, is his desire to showcase Conlan live on basic cable sports network ESPN. Conlan’s fight with Jarrett Owen in Brisbane was shown here, while his first two bouts were shown on Spanish-language channel UniMás.
American Football currently rules the roost on ESPN, and Arum wants to wait until the season is over early next year so as to ensure that Conlan gets Stateside airtime.
The 85 year old noted that “we want to definitely do a fight in Ireland for him, but we want to do it right, and we want to do it where we get the biggest possible audience in the United States.
“Therefore, we’ll have to do it outside of the American football season, because those games are played in the afternoon over here – whether it’s a Saturday or Sunday – so that’s no good.”
“So if you’re going to do a Michael Conlan fight [in Ireland], and you want it shown in the United States, you do it in February or March – probably February – so you can get the time on ESPN for an afternoon fight, and it would be evening over in Ireland.”
“Why would we not take advantage of getting a million, two million eyeballs watching it, right? Otherwise it makes little sense.”