Michael Conlan continues to mature inside and outside the ring.
The Belfast featherweight defeated Argentina’s Luis Fernando Molina over six rounds on the undercard of Lomachenko-Rigondeaux on Saturday night and despite being brought the distance for the first time was content with his performance.
Returning to the scene of his paid debut last March, the 26-year-old Irishman recorded a 60-54 shutout on all three judges’ cards over the 29-year-old Buenos Aires native.
It was an impressive display of boxing skills from the former world amateur champion and a fighter that has often been self critical post his pro fights was equally mature after his six round win.
Conlan wanted the stoppage, but was able to take the positives that comes from banking six rounds. Not to mention the level of his performance gave him little room to complain.
“I’m happy enough and I was happy to get the rounds,” said Conlan. “I thought I was going to get him out of there, but it wasn’t really unfortunate because I want to move up to eight rounds next time, so it was good to get the six in.
“I thought it was a nice and clean performance, I didn’t really take any shots… it was probably more like my style of fighting, on the back foot and slick boxing. I’m happy enough and looking forward to the next one.
“Sometimes I think I’m a better southpaw than orthodox! But I showed that I can switch it up and I can confuse opponents, so I think I did that tonight.
“I felt comfortable,” continued the Falls Road fighter. “I just needed to make sure I was getting ahead and I didn’t take any punishment or any shots that I shouldn’t be taking.
“It’s all a learning process at the end of the day and I need to keep learning to progress as a professional fighter. That’s six rounds in the bank now and we can move up to eight next and look forward to a big night on St Patrick’s night next year.”
The Irishman – a two-time Olympian – revealed after the bout that his left hand was sore following his victory, but insisted that it would not impact on his training plans.
“It was just a bit of bruising around the knuckles,” said Conlan. “It’s no problem. The guy had a tough head! I hurt him a few times, but he survived and fair play to him,” continued the Belfast native, who will return to Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s weekend in 2018.
“I’ll have three weeks off [over Christmas] maybe because I’ve been in camp all year and it’s been a fast, hard year,” said Conlan. “Five wins, four KOs – I’d have liked if it was five KOs, but unfortunately not! I’m happy anyway and looking forward to a big 2018.”