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Home Advantage – Belfast ‘likely’ venue for Conlan – Lopez world title fight

Michael Conlan [18(9)-1(1)] is ‘likely’ to have home advantage if he secures a shot at IBF featherweight world champion Luis Lopez [27(15)-2(0)].

The Top Rank pair are in talks re a world title fight, and as things stand, it appears the Belfast fighter should be the Mexican’s first defence.

Conlan Boxing, led by former world title challenger Jamie Conlan, were hoping to make the fight for March and St Patrick’s Day, but appears an eye injury, suffered by the 29-year-old amidst dethroning Josh Warrington on the same night Conlan stopped Karim Guerfi, makes March too soon.

So a Summer showdown is on the cards and according to the Belfast ‘Mexican’, Jamie Conlan, the Mexican title holder should make the trip to the fighting capital of Ireland.

“We’re in negotiations,” Conlan confirmed when speaking to the Irish News.

“There are a lot of moving parts but Lopez and Michael is the fight that we’re working towards and we’re close to making and it’s looking more than likely that Belfast will be the place for the fight.”

Lopez has no issue traveling, ‘El Venado’ used his passport to go to the UK and dethrone former Carl Frampton foe, Warrington, he also beat Isac Lowe in Britain and holds a win over former Jono Caroll dance partner Andy Vences in America. It’s a solid resume and one Conlan claims stands up.

“He is a fantastic world champion,” adds the older of the two Conlan brothers.

“He’s a tough night’s work. He is awkward, hard to prepare for, unorthodox, he throws punches from range and he’s heavy-handed from the first bell to the last. He starts really fast and it’s a dangerous fight.

“Stylistically for Michael, it’s a really tough fight but there are no easy fights for titles. Obviously all the talk last year after Michael and Leigh Wood was a rematch but it never materialised and this is the route that has been presented to us now.”

When faced with such a talent home advantage can only help and Conlan’s ticket selling ability and popularity have allowed that to be a possibility.

With a March world title fight off the agenda, a door has opened up for Padraig McCrory to headline an SSE Arena card on St Patrick’s Day.

It also means the door closes on a Feile fight with Kiko Martinez, although the fact the Spaniard is set to be confirmed as the IBF’s mandatory means that could still be a big fight for later in the year if Conlan claims the strap and can’t find an immediate unification dance partner.


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