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Bulletproof again – Conlan admits criticism hurt his confidence

Not quite a crisis of confidence – but Michael Conlan claims criticism of his pro performances chipped away at his self belief.

The Belfast feather has yet to put a foot wrong since ditching the vest to major fanfare and tops a massive outdoor bill as part of the F├ęile an Phobail in Belfast this weekend..

All 11 previous opponents have been beaten, six within the distance, he has topped five TV bills and is on course for a 2020 world title shot, but the fact some have bemoaned the fact he hasn’t looked sensational has affected him.

It’s strange to hear, especially since┬áConlan lead the way in terms of self belief among a new amateur breed.

It wasn’t quite Conor McGregor brash or bold, but the Top Rank fighter would make gold predictions ahead of tournaments whereas his predecessors would let it be known they had their fingers crossed they may get a medal in.

Pure confidence and self-belief, they were traits that many cited alongside natural talent, desire and marketability that would help Conlan achieve world champion status at the very least.

It’s an approach he seemed to bring into the pro ranks. The buzz surrounding a televised Madison Square Garden St Patrick’s Day debut certainly screamed ‘get ready I am here’.

However, speaking to Irish-Boxing.com, the 27-year-old admits being constantly under the microscope and receiving constant dismissal of his opposition and performances was impossible ignore.

“To be honest I feel like I have a bulletproof mindset in this camp. I feel invincible again,” Conlan explained before expanding on a period when he may have been more suscepitable to online detractors.

The Olympic bronze medallist outlined how “when you turn pro and you get some criticism and it’s amplified a bit it can knock your confidence a wee bit and your self belief too.”

“I have always believed in myself. I have always believed I’ll be a big name and a world champion. I still believe that and always did, but I didn’t have as much authority when I was saying that, but I feel I have that back now.”

“To keep that I know I have to put in a good performance. I know it’s going to be a tough fight, but it’s going to be the kind of fight where the best of me comes out.”

His opponent this Saturday at the Falls Park, Argentine Diego Alberto Ruiz, on paper, is his toughest foe to date and the confident Conlan believes he will score a win that removes all questions.

The 2015 World Amateur Champion noted how “I needed this, I need someone to come have a go.”

“I watched fighters I signed to fight before and they look like they are going to come forward, but they come forward against everyone else and are different against me. I am not known as a big puncher, but I know I punch enough to earn people’s respect and that has been the problem. I have earned the respect and they shut up shop.”

“This is a coming out performance for me.”


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