The Belfast super flyweight was unsuccessful in his IBF title challenge, being stopped in the sixth by champion Jerwin Ancajas.
The co-main event on the ‘Frampton Reborn’ card at the SSE Odyssey Arena, Conlan was sent to the canvas again and again, but kept rising before the bout was eventually called off just short of the half-way mark.
Ancajas was just too good for the Falls Road fighter, presenting a far quicker, smarter, and stronger opponent than Conlan had ever faced before and the 31 year old took huge punishment before being pulled out by the referee.
After some cagey opening forays Conlan found himself on the deck. A bizarre knockdown, the home favourite took a knee in what was an extreme delayed reaction to a shot landed during the first major exchange of note.
Ancajas went stalking in the second as Conlan circled. A clash of heads left Conlan cut, once again, over the left eye.
A better start to the third saw Conlan land a straight right that knocked the head of the Filipino back, and he seemed to draw confidence from this, opening up more. This only played into the champion’s hands though and Ancajas began to catch Conlan more and more.
A straight left to the body forced the challenger to turn away, but he stayed on his feet. Ancajas came in for the kill with a body assault that eventually sent Conlan down, badly hurt. Somehow though, Conlan backed by a crescendo of roars made it to his feet and saw out the round.
The Ancajas domination continued in the fourth, and Conlan found himself pinned to the ropes. Bodyshot after bodyshot reigned in but Conlan stood firm – albeit slumped on the ropes – before another straight left put ‘The Mexican’ down. The legs kicked the canvas as he grimaced, but once again Conlan rose amidst a cacophony of cheers.
A dramatic fifth saw Conlan start by landing his best punch of the fight – a right that buckled the legs of Ancajas ever so momentarily. Twice then Ancajas was warned for going low, the second of which seeing Conlan hit the floor and resulting in a points deduction.
The fight then ended in rather anti-climatic fashion in the first minute of the sixth as Conlan visited the canvas once more. This time a hook to the head sent the brave Irishman down, however it seemed to cuff Conlan on the back of the head more than anything. Regardless, a count was administered and, despite Conlan beating the count, referee Steve Gray waved off the bout.
While the finish may have been debatable, there was little argument that the fight had needed to be stopped soon, if not already.
The gallant defeat, his first ever as a pro, sees Conlan drop to 19(11)-1(1), while the impressive champion Ancajas improves to 27(18)-1(0)-1.