Critical Conlan happy with Cunningham clash ahead of big 2019 nights


Michael Conlan [10(6)-0] left the ring unhappy he didn’t get stoppage, but content he had banked more experience in another learning fight last weekend.

The Top Rank fighter picked up his first career title with victory Jason Cunningham on the undercard of Carl Frampton and Josh Warrington’s all action world title fight.

Conlan defeated the Doncaster southpaw on a unanimous decision, almost forcing a stoppage in the tenth round as he claimed the WBO Intercontinental belt.

Typical of the ambitious feather, though, he wasn’t overjoyed leaving the ring and post-fight spent some time picking holes in his own performance.

However, the self critical prospect seems to have begun to understand the early stage of a world level hopeful’s career is as much about learning as it is looking good – and he took solace in the fact he dealt with an awkward foe with relative ease.

Conlan described how “I was happy with how it went, I got the victory but it was a big learning fight for me. I feel I started to flow nearer the end and I started pick my shots a lot better.”

“It wasn’t tougher than I expected. I knew he was a tough kid. I probably expected more of myself. You always want perfection but I’m happy enough. I was in against an experienced customer who wanted to win.”

“I think I did take a few too many shots and that is something I have to work on and I was a bit annoyed I didn’t get the stoppage but overall I’m happy.”

The younger brother of former world title challenger Jamie has a big 2019 planned.

Conlan will continue to progress up the talent ladder and regular steps are expected over the next 12 months.

Another big Madison Square Garden show looks likely on St Patrick’s Weekend, with Sunday the 17th pin-pointed, as does another big fight in Belfast come summertime, potentially a rematch with Vladimir Nikitin.

With big 2019 nights in mind, Conlan is happy to get the experience and noted how “I feel I’m moving in the right direction.”

“A win is a win. Every fight is progression and these are the fights you need.”

“I feel it’s a good learning fight and I was asked a few questions in there. I can take all the positives and throw away the negatives.”

“Knowing me though, I’ll focus on the negatives and try and fix them.”

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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 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: editoririshboxing@gmail.com