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‘I’ll beat him in front of MY fans in Nottingham’ – Conlan predicts Irish take over

If Michael Conlan [16(8)-0] can’t bring his WBA world ‘regular’ title fight to Belfast he will bring Belfast to the eagerly anticipated bout.

There has been constant chatter and gossip – particularly surrounding the venue – with regard to Conlan’s fight with titleholder Leigh Wood [25(15)- 2(1)] since the WBA mandated it earlier in the year.

At one stage, Belfast and December looked very likely but an injury to the Nottingham fighter put paid to any hopes of that. New York and Paddy’s Day was muted once Eddie Hearn won purse bids and earlier this month the Matchroom boss suggested Manchester was the front runner.

However, the fight will play out in Nottingham Arena on March 12, giving Wood home advantage.

Team Conlan did try hard to get the fight to Belfast and rumour suggests Matchroom were happy to concede Belfast made sense financially – but MTK, who manage Wood, were unwilling to allow their man travel to Conlan territory.

While the World Championship gold medal winner would prefer to have it home and previously suggested he would welcome New York and St Patrick’s Day as a venue and date, Conlan claims he has no qualms with going to Nottingham.

The Adam Booth trained Olympic medal winner suggests he will have more fans regardless of where the fight is held.

“If I need to go into his back garden and beat him up, no problem. I’ll punch the f*ck out of him in his hometown for 12 rounds. I’ll beat him in front of my fans in Nottingham,” he told Irish-boxing.com.

“I’m really excited about the fight and I’m looking forward to it.”

Speaking to the Irish News in officially confirming the date Conlan said: “Wood didn’t fancy Belfast and Ben Davison (his coach) didn’t fancy Belfast, so we’ll bring Belfast to them. I’m happily going to their town and I’ll be ripping the belt off them.”

There appears to be a nice bit of needle building between the pair and their respective teams ahead of the fight but while Conlan is confident he will emerge victorious, he does respect ‘Leigh-thal’.

“I know 100 percent I’m going to win,” he adds.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s a tough fight. Leigh Wood is a bigger puncher, but that’s not a problem to me. I fought punchers all through my career and every style going in both the amateurs and pros. I beat Leigh Wood 100 percent, no doubt in my mind.”

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