The Belfast feather is always one fight ahead of the American, headlines his own bills, and features on bigger cards.
However, last time out there was a bit of a leap-frog, with Stevenson [9(5)-0] destroying tough Romanian Viorel Simion to claim the WBC Continental Americas title and the #17 ranking with the body.
It has now been confirmed that Conlan will jump back in front on Saturday night, with his clash with Jason Cunningham on the Warrington-Frampton undercard at the Manchester Arena being sanctioned for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental rankings title and, most likely, a Top 15 spot.
The belt, which was previously held by Marco McCullough, is a first step, rankings-wise, towards a world title and the Falls Road fighter has noted how he wants to be perhaps reaching final eliminator territory this time next year and Conlan believes he may fight Newark’s Stevenson before he reaches world title fights.
THIS SATURDAY: Michael “Mick” Conlan (9-0, 6 KOs) will battle Jason Cunningham (24-5, 6 KOs) in a 10-rounder for the WBO Intercontinental Featherweight title @ Manchester Arena. The fight will stream live in the 🇺🇸 beginning at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN +. TV PPV: BT Sports Box Office. pic.twitter.com/5eYHYtrFbU
— WBO (@WorldBoxingOrg) December 20, 2018
The Top Rank duo have been linked since their paths failed to cross in Rio and the fight looks inevitable since the American joined the Irish fighter on the books of U.S. promotional giant.
Bob Arum seems happy to let it simmer, describing it as a modern-day Leonard-Hearns, and most believed things wouldn’t boil over in the ring until one or both of the stablemates had a world title to bring to the party.
However, Conlan predicts the unbeaten duo’s paths will cross before they win ultimate boxing honours.
“I think the Stevenson fight will happen without a world title,” Conlan, who also hopes to fight another Top Rank stable mate, Vladimir Nikitin in Belfast in 2019, explained to World Boxing News.
“I mean, it would be nice if it did happen for a world title. But It’ll be a good fight, especially because I can bring a lot of people to New York.”
“It would likely be at Madison Square Garden when the fight happens, which is probably my favourite venue in the world,” added Conlan who has previously accused Stevenson and his team of attempting to get publicity off his name.