Eddie Hearn wants to bring the eagerly anticipated Michael Conlan versus Leigh Wood WBA ‘regular’ world title fight to NEW YORK, according to the Belfast side of the fight.
The Matchroom boss outbid Top Rank to win the right to promote the mandated WBA ‘regular’ world featherweight title fight.
The Essex promoter lodged a purse bid of $1.5 million three hundred thousand dollars more than Top Rank’s bid. It means the fight will play out on a Matchroom card and be broadcast on DAZN.
Where Hearn will decide to promote the fight remains a mystery with some suggesting title holder Wood’s hometown of Nottingham is the front runner. Others have queried as to whether Matchroom would consider going to Belfast to use the fight to promote the likes of James Tennyson, Tommy McCarthy and Caoimhin Agyarko in the city.
However, Conlan believes Hearn is eyeing up New York and Madison Square Garden for the fight. The Olympic medal winner argues a doubleheader including him versus Wood and the potential Katie Taylor versus Amanda Serano world title fight would pack out the Garden- and he believes Hearn agrees.
“New York and St Paddy‘s day, would be ideal for me,” Conlan told Irish-boxing.com.
“It’s where I started my pro career and it’s where I’d love to win my first world title ‘.
“I think it could do 20,000 in the big room. There is talk of Katie being on the card against Serrano that makes sense. It makes a lot of sense to do it in New York. That’s where I want and I think that’s what Eddie Hearn wants.
“We’ve heard him talking in his interviews and he keeps mentioning it’s either gonna be in New York, Belfast or Nottingham. The way he’s lining it out it’s gonna’ be in New York. ”
Throwing a more investigative eye over it, the Top Rank world title hopeful also surmises New York is the only venue that would prompt Hearn to make such a sizeable purse bid.
“I think he’s probably seen what I’ve done in New York. I think that’s probably why they’ve got that much money together to make that bid, they see what we can do in New York City. I think DAZN looked at that and said ‘we want a piece of that’.
“We’ve done unbelievable shows with Top Rank in the Garden every single saint Patrick’s day bar the last two because of Covid. The atmosphere is just something different. I think any kind of fight fan needs to experience that and any fighter would love to experience that.”
The Belfast favourite has no issue with traveling to Nottingham if that is where Matchroom do want to promote a fight expected for Spring next year, although he does again point out the Big Apple would be bigger.
“If it has to go to Nottingham I’ve no problem with that. It is what is and Leigh Woods is the champion after all. If they’re saying we have to go to Nottingham f**k it, I’ll go to Nottingham. But let’s be honest we’re not gonna’ get as many fans in Nottingham as we would in the MSG. I’ll bring at least 10,000 people from Belfast.
“The last [New York fight] I had ex-pats who’d been in America for 30 years driving up on minibusses from Boston to watch me. It just shows you Irish people love to support their own. They’re just so proud and so patriotic, and that’s something I love.”
Conlan, who was hoping to have the fight in Belfast in December before the title holder got injured, also revealed he wasn’t put out by Hearn beating his promoters in the purse bids.
“I don’t mind it being on DAZN. I think DAZN is a fantastic channel and the Matchroom PR machine are fantastic too. I’m excited to see how we work together. I know a lot of the guys there and I like them so it’s gonna’ be enjoyable,” he adds before discussing the challenge Wood brings.
“I think the fight itself it’s a tough fight. Leigh Wood is a fantastic champion, he showed it when he won the title. He showed that he has different elements to his game. He can box, he can punch, he’s got a lot of good attributes, so I have to be on my A game to beat him, and I will be. Anything he brings I’ll have an answer for.”