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‘I thought I Had a Bad Dream’ – Michael Conlan Reflects on ‘Hearbreaking’ Defeat

Michael Conlan [16(8)-1]thought it was a bad dream.

Even after being stopped by Leigh Wood in Nottingham, he couldn’t quite phantom his crowning moment had been cruelly snatched away from him.

The Belfast favourite had one foot through the door of destiny after a brilliant performance last Saturday night but with less than a round to go was punched back out of the room by a determined champion.

Such was his display until he was knocked out, and such was the punch that landed, that it took until the Olympic medal winner was en route to the hospital for defeat to really sink in.

As if to just add further to the heartbreak, the Conlan Boxing star had to go through the emotions of defeat whilst in an Ambulance.

“When I woke up I thought I had a bad dream,” Conlan explains.

“I was devastated. I was annoyed, frustrated, confused, and then the realisation that I had to take it in. I really believed it was going to be my night and it was going to be, then that punch… It’s unfortunate, but these things happen. I was in the ambulance when I realised what happened and asked Shauna did I lose? Ahh for f****s sake!”

Conlan was putting on a brave face and fronting up in the fight hotel the morning after. He was well within his rights to stay away but took time to talk to the press, mingle with fans and praise Wood.

He revealed physically he was fine but the pain of defeat was one he couldn’t quite shake.

“Sometimes when you go out in the rain you get wet – it happens. I’m absolutely devastated, just a shot I didn’t see. Any shot I saw coming I could take, but I just turned my head and that one got me.

“It’s the ones you don’t see that do the damage. I was totally out for a minute or two, but it’s all good. The scans are good so it’s nothing to worry about, just another day in the boxing ring. I’m heartbroken, been beat, so I can’t complain.”

Nottingham, UK: Leigh Wood vs Michael Conlan, WBA Featherweight World Title. 12 March 2022 Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing

It all could have been so much different. The Irish fighter could have been celebrating a famous win and a glorious night.

Conlan was so close to securing one of the best stoppages ever seen in a world title fight when he dropped his foe in round one, only for Wood to be saved by the bell.

Commenting on that knockdown the fighter who somehow found time to watch back the fight between doctor check ups said: “It was a great shot and he fell like a bag of bricks. I was surprised he got up, but then he had enough time to recover. Like I said in the build-up, he has a big heart and a bit set of balls.

“Had it even happened 30 seconds earlier the fight could have been finished. He was gone in the next round but had a bit more about him in his legs so fair play. I said before he was a tough guy with a big heart and showed it last night when he needed to. Fair play to him – he’s the champ.”

Photo Credit Mark Robinson Matchroom

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