Champions ‘dumb’ move won’t stop Michael Conlan’s world title charge

Michael Conlan [14(8)-0] is confident he will challenge for a super bantamweight world title this year despite the ‘dumb’ move made by WBO titleholder Stephen Fulton.

The Belfast fighter looked dead set to challenge the American for his strap in New York this August and once he dealt with Romanian Ionut Baluta on April 30.

However, that plan, which was recently laid out by Bob Arum, was ripped up last week.

When confirming Showtime’s summer schedule Stephen Espinoza confirmed ‘Cool Boy Steph’ will fight on September 11th and not against the Olympic medal winner in August.

The American network will put on a unification fight between the winner of Luis Nery and Brandon Figueroa’s WBC world title fight and the reigning WBO champion.

It changes the orignial road map laid out by Top Rank but not signigantly so according to Conlan.

Ireland’s first-ever senior amateur world champion believes he would be next in line for the winner of any September unification clash, meaning he could get a tilt later this year.

Speaking to Second’s Out the Adam Booth trained fighter said: “It seems dumb to be fighting the winner of something instead of having a fight in between and maybe then going against me after, or fighting me in August. I’ll fight him in August and save him having to wait till September.

“If he fights the winner of [ Nery v Figueroa] in September then the winner of that September fight will have 90 days to face me either way. I still think I’ll fight Fulton or Nery or if Nery wins and vacates the WBO I could fight Danny Roman for the vacant title. I do still believe I will fight for the belt. I would love it to happen in August…. I’ll leave all that talking until after the next fight, but it is a bit weird he is fighting the winner of a fight that hasn’t even happened yet. I suppose it’s a good way to keep the titles on one side of the street as they say.”

There is another champion in the division and one Conlan has previous with. Murodjon Akhmadaliev the Uzbek the 29-year-old defeated to win world amatuer gold holds the WBA title and the IBF strap once owned by TJ Doheny

That would mean come September time either Fulton, Nery or Figueroa will hold two of the four titles on the table. The other two, WBA and IBF, are held by Murodjon Akhmadaliev, a fighter Conlan beat to become Ireland’s first-ever senior male World Championships gold medalist.

Conlan is willing to renew aquaintences with his old amateur rival if that is the route he has to take.

“If one of them doesn’t happen I’ll fight Akhmadaliev. I beat him in the world amateur final imagine the world amateur final happening again for the world title. It’s a hot division and one I am happy to be part of at the minute.”

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: