Belmar Preciado [20(13)-2(1)-1] isn’t quite as recognizable as some of the names first linked to Michael Conlan [13(7)-0] and his St Patrick’s Day New York return, but the Belfast fighter is adamant he will provide the test desired.
Former world champions Kiko Martinez and Isaac Dogboe were just two names rumoured to be in the frame and it’s believed former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa – ranked one by the World Boxing Association – had agreed to the fight but he withdrew interest late on.
As a result the 28-year-old now faces the Columbian at Madison Square Garden on March 17 in what could be his last outing before a world title shot.
The step up keen Conlan suggests he wasn’t overly aware of Preciado and what he brings to the table initially, but now having done his homework is expecting a test.
“I know a good bit about him (Preciado) now,” Conlan said when speaking to WorldBoxingNews.
“I’ve watched a bit of him. He’s aggressive and he has a good few wins. He is no slouch.”
The Olympic medalist notes the 31-year-old can punch and is aware he will be coming to register an upset knockout win.
The prospect of facing that kind of ambitious and aggressive opponent excites him.
“He is someone who is coming to upset the apple cart and take my head off. And he is a puncher with a good knock out ratio. He will be looking to knock me out. I’m excited about it.
“I believe the guy will come and try to take my head off. From what you see of him in the past and the fighters he has faced, that’s his style, that’s what he does.”
It’s widely believed the Adam Booth trained fighter has a massive chance of fighting for a world title in Belfast in August providing he claims victory on top of his annual New York trip next month.
However, the World Amateur Championship gold medal winner doesn’t want to talk Summer projects in any great detail. Instead he claims his focus is on March and Preciado for now.
“I want to get this one out of the way first. I can’t really think of what’s next but I do know that there is something lined up in Ireland next.
“I’m really looking forward to that but I need my focus on this.”