Call of Duty before fight duty for Michael Conlan

It’s been Call of Duty before getting down to fight duty for Michael Conlan [13(7)-0] this week.

The Belfast fighter has spent fight week taking out enemies on the computer game ahead of his attempt to take out former European champion and recent world title challenger Sofiane Takoucht [35(13)-4(1)-1].

It marks a massive change from the usual lights, camera, action build up the Top Rank fighter has to endure.

The Olympic medalist topped a St Patrick’s Day TV broadcast bill on his debut and has had the spotlight firmly on him since.

Things are different going into a behind closed doors clash at York Hall tonight and somewhat ironically Conlan has been afforded a laid back lead in to the biggest test of his career.

It’s something the Adam Booth trained fighter, who was to fight for a world title in Belfast in August, has enjoyed.

“It’s the most relaxed and chilled fight week I’ve had,” said the World Amateur Championship gold medal winner.

“Usually, we have the hoopla, the hyperbole, everyone around, having to go here and there to do interviews. It’s been chilled at the hotel, chilled out with the team, having fun. This time I actually brought my PlayStation and I’m playing some ‘Call of Duty.’”

Fight night will also be different for an operator who always brings a crowd .

He explains the unique behind closed doors setting has intrigued and even motivated him.

“It’s going to be a challenge on Saturday. Something different, something I haven’t experienced as a fighter, boxing in an arena with no one there. It’s exciting me to hear those winces and the pounding of the breath, everything about it. It’s something that’s lit a spark under me in training camp. I’ve been sparring with no music on.”

Conlan faces Takucht at featherweight, a division his was ranked as high as #1 with the WBO in, tonight, but is now adamant he will campaign at super bantamweight moving forward.

The WBO have made him their #3 in that division and as a result he believes a world title shot is coming soon.

Those ranked above him Stephen Fulton and Angelo Leo may get a go first, but Conlan is ready to challenge for the strap straight away, providing he passes the French test tonight.

We’ll fight Takucht at 126, and then after that, we’ll move down. I would love a {world title shot} in my next fight. I know it may not be possible the way things stand with the WBO, but 100 percent I’d be happy to challenge for the WBO title next.

“I’d be confident in facing any of {the champions now}. If that was the case, it’d be no problem. But we’ll get this one out of the way Saturday and then 122, here I come.

Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 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: