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Like Frampton – Conlan points to Jackal world title fight similarities

Leigh Wood learnings will help Michael Conlan pass the ultimate test in Belfast this Saturday night.

The Irish star bids to realise his world title dream at the second attempt when he challenges Luis Alberto Lopez in his hometown.

The Olympic medal winner goes into the fight on the back of two impressive wins but says it’s the Wood fight he has leaned on for learnings ahead of the IBF featherweight world title shot.

The 31-year-old bossed the majority of his WBA regular title fight with Wood but got stopped in the last round. It was a heartbreaking defeat but an experience he will use to benefit himself against the Mexican.

“I learned a lot from the Wood loss, I know how to pace a 12-round fight, I know when to put the foot on the gas, I know when to make the right defensive moves,” Conlan told ESPN. “I’ve learned how to handle the defeat and rebuild. Marriaga was a dangerous puncher and I fought him at my own pace and picked my shots well. When Marriaga tried to put it on me in the last round, I still ended up winning the round.”

Conlan has the chance to become the famous fight city of Belfast’s first world champion since Carl Frampton on BT Sports this weekend.

Like when Frampton beat Kiko Martinez at the Titanic in 2014, Conlan welcomes an IBF champion to town and gets to challenge for the strap in his home city.

“There are definitely similarities to when Carl Frampton beat Kiko Martinez,” Conlan he added. “That was his first world title win and I obviously want to do the same in my home city [of] Belfast, too. The IBF world title is on the line like it was in Carl’s fight, too. I just have to use my brain just like Carl did to get the win.”

Unlike Frampton Conlan goes into his home world title fight with world title experience, although he believes Lopez is much more dangerous a foe than Wood.

“Lopez is a tougher fight than Wood for me and poses more threat because he can punch just as hard, he is more orthodox and is a different type of challenge,” he adds before claiming Wood made a mistake in agreeing to fight Maurico Lara.

“Wood could have had the rematch with me for double the money and it was a risk for him to go straight back into a rematch with Lara after getting concussed in his last two fights against Lara and me. It’s career suicide in my opinion. There’s only so long Wood can box and when he gets hit he seems to get damaged.


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years