Michael Conlan reveals what he said to TJ Doheny after intense Feile fight

Michael Conlan told TJ Doheny there was no attempt to mess him around during fight week once the final bell of their enthralling world-level all-Irish encounter sounded.

The Belfast and Portlaoise operators shared 12 tense rounds at the Fall’s Park after a fractious week, which saw ‘The Power’ accuse Conlan and his team of ‘shifting the goal posts’ to give the Olympic medal winner all the advantages.

The former world champion was particularly upset at what he claimed was a ‘last minute’ weight limit change and admitted he came close to pulling out of the fight at one stage.

Conlan reassured Doheny, a fighter he labeled a ‘warrior’ after the fight, that there was no malice behind the move and that he wanted to fight at 124lbs just so the WBA interim world title could be on the line.

The world title hopeful also claimed Team Doheny was informed of the weight change well in advance of fight week – and told his opponent as much in the ring after the clash.

“I said she all the shit during the week.. he wasn’t informed but as far as I’m aware his management was. I just said to him there was no malice behind that, an opportunity [to fight for WBA featherweight Interim world title] came up and we thought his team had agreed. Tony Delveco knew about it, he thought he was being messed around, but I was honest there was no fuc king around,” Conlan responded when asked about the pair’s brief in-ring conversation.

The fallout created a tension throughout fight week that, really added to the 12 round contest and the sense of occasion.

Although he holds the utmost respect for the Australian-based Doheny, Conlan admitted he enjoyed the bit of needle.

“I enjoyed that. I enjoyed that back and forth. We got in the ring and we were talking sh it to each other – and that’s all part of the game I did that when I was sparring in LA and I still do it here when I’m at home and now I do it in big fights,” he continued before pointing out he dealt with big fight pressure.

“Tonight was a big fight and I showed a calm head in a hot kitchen.”

The fight played out in front of a large and very vocal Belfast fan base. The atmosphere was not lost on the Top Rank star and he did look like made for the occasion.

“Name me a world champion that can bring an atmosphere like tonight?” he beamed.

“Listen I didn’t think 2019 could be beaten but tonight beat it – and maybe it was the fight, the fight added to the atmosphere. I was in the changing room and I could hear it all go off. At the start I was nervous, but as the warm-up went on I could feel myself rising and rising and rising and I was like ‘that’s what I’m here for’ “.

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 sport for a living for 19 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