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Bob Arum dangles MSG world title fight carrot in front of Michael Conlan

Michael Conlan [14(8)-0] is one victory away from challenging for a world title in Maddison Square Garden according to Bob Arum.

The Belfast super-bantamweight faces Ionut Baluta in London on May 1 – and if he manages to defeat the Romanian with successful Irish previous in London will fight for a world title in his next fight.

Promoter Bob Arum told the Belfast Telegraph he has hopes Conlan will challenge for a world title in the famous New York venue later in the summer.

The Top Rank boss said: “Mick will fight at the start of May and then the plan will be to move for the world title shot. We could put that on in Madison Square Garden and he would fill it up.

“I’m very encouraged that the pandemic will be abated in the States because we are now looking that by the end of May there will be enough vaccines to inoculate all of the population. So, by June we can start doing events with full capacity.”

The Olympic bronze and World Championship gold medal winner is currently ranked #1 with the WBO and is said to be next in line for champion the WBO super bantamweight world champ Stephen Fulton [19(8)-0].

The American has talked positively about the clash and it seems an easy one to make. Conlan had hoped to fight for the strap at the Feile in August of last year only for the pandemic to scupper those plans.

A return to Belfast later this summer would be preferred but it appears it’s going to be the Adam Booth trained fighter’s second home and Madison Square Garden for the world title challenge.

There will be no 2021 world title fight if Baluta manages to upset the applecart. Conlan will be favourite going into the fight but the Romanian has upset the odds and Irish fight fans twice before.

Baluta holds a stoppage win over David Olver Joyce and a points win over former world champion TJ Doheny, he will be looking to make it an Irish hat trick on May 1.

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