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‘Head of the Class’ – Bob Arum heaps praise on Top Rank’s top prospect

Michael Conlan is the ‘head of the class’ when it comes to Top Rank prospects according to Bob Arum.

The legendary promoter is famed for turning successful Olympians into boxing superstars and signed the Belfast fighter after Rio 2016 with that as his mission statement.

The likes of Conlan, Shakur Stevenson, Robeisy Ramirez, and Vladimir Nikitin joined the team as Olympians since Rio.

American Stevenson, who Conlan was denied a chance to to fight in the semi finals of that Olympiad after the infamous robbery, seems to be furthest down the road in terms of progression, thanks to some recent impressive wins in which in banked some ranking titles.

However, Belfast’s Conlan is ‘head of the class’ according to Arum, who heaped praise on World Amateur Championship gold medal winner ahead of his massive Féile an Phobail homecoming next week.

Conlan Arum

Arum, who will be in Belfast for fight week said that “we have people scouting the Olympic class and we look to get people that are not only good fighters but fighters who can become superstars. We’re very selective on who we choose.”

“Mick is head of the class. We have a terrific young man in Shakur Stevenson, who won a silver medal. We have Robson Conceicao from Brazil and a kid from Uzbekistan too. They’re both gold medalists and we pick very carefully.”

Arum, who has being promoting since 1966 and has been involved with some of the biggest names in the sport, took a personal shine to Conlan when he witnessed his defiance in the ring post having his Olympic dream robbed from him.

It seems he is endeared as much with the fighters personality as talent and he is delighted with how things have progressed since they teamed up.

“We’ve always been high on Mick. We made a big effort to sign him thanks to Matthew Macklin, who knew us and made it easier to meet him and sign him. It’s been a good marriage – his first fight took place at Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s Day!

“Mick is a big personality in boxing and a good draw. It’s great people back here can see him in his hometown. This is great. It’s a lot of fun and I’m already looking forward to coming back.”

Joining Conlan vs. Ruiz on a colossal bill is the British & Commonwealth welterweight title collision between Paddy Gallagher and Chris Jenkins, the Celtic super-middleweight clash between Padraig McCrory and Steve Collins Jr and Luke Keeler challenging world-class American Luis Arias.

Unbeaten middleweights Alfredo Meli and Araik Marutjan also meet on the card with further local heroes in Paddy Barnes, Sean McComb and more on the undercard.


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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 sports for a living for over 20 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