Feile hopes dwindle – Conlan expects next fight to be behind closed doors

Michael Conlan [13(7)-0] admits hopes of winning a world title in front of a sold out Feile crowd this Summer are dwindling by the day.

The Belfast featherweight had planned to fight in early August on the annual Falls Park hosted festival, an event he made extra special last year.

The were was a strong possibility Ireland’s first male World Championship gold medal winner would have challenged for a world title on that bill, but what is next remains up in the air.

There are still some still talking positively about a Feile fight card, although September rather than August seems the more likely date.

Conlan isn’t as confident with regard to him trading leather in his home town and at the festival.

“I haven’t had an indication when I will be fighting. There is talk that boxing will return in June with behind closed doors shows,” Conlan said when speaking to the Irish Mirror.

“But I don’t know who will be ready for June. Not everyone has a gym in their garage or back garden. Nobody is going to be ready to fight because they haven’t had any sparring or proper training.

“They are talking about boxing returning in June, I think I might be out in August or September. The Féile are looking at extra dates in September, and they are willing to move it if they can make it happen. But the Féile won’t happen without fans, and I can’t see any fans going to boxing the rest of the year.

“Please, God, some miracle happens and the Féile happens. That would be a dream come true.

“But in my opinion it is unlikely.”

With an outdoor summer or autumn event looking less likely, the Olympic gold medal winner believes indoors and even behind closed doors is more of a possibility for his next outing.

Conlan admits it’s not ideal, but is aware we are in strange times and needs must.

“There will be an appetite for boxing, because people just want to see some sport,” he added. “They haven’t seen boxing and they want to watch it live. They will all tune in on TV, which I think will be better for fighters.

“Some fighters don’t have the big fan bases, and they will get more exposure. So in some ways it will be good for boxers. Other fighters, like me, have big fan bases, so it might not be as good for me But I will get plenty of eyes watching my fights.

“The atmosphere will obviously come across terribly on TV, and the fight might be more like a spar.It will be weird, but these are the times we are in.”

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