Michael Conlan is ready to follow the pathway trailblazer Carl Frampton forged out for Irish and Belfast fighters in particular.
The Belfast super bantamweight has heralded ‘The Jackal’ as inspiration and believes but for the achievements of the two-weight world champion he wouldn’t be in a position to even flirt with genuine stardom.
The two time Olympian, who has always had a high profile, believes Frampton changed the face of boxing in a city always keen on the sport.
Frampton brought fresh blood and a fresh image to the game, making the city standstill during his fight weeks and Conlan believes he has and can only benefit from that his friend’s era.
“Carl is the best fighter that we have ever had and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be where I am today. He changed everything about the sport here – he made professional boxing an event in the minds of people, something they couldn’t miss. I’ve been able to build on that and I’m very grateful for the position I’m in,” said Conlan when speaking to David Kelly in the Sunday Life.
“Before Carl, we had some very good fighters, but Carl took everything to a new level. He’s a fantastic man, a role model to everybody in boxing and outside of the sport and I’m glad that he has retired with his senses intact and money in the bank. That’s what every fighter wants when they start out.”
With Frampton retiring early this month, post his defeat to Jamel Herring in Dubai, Belfast awaits the next major name ensure continually massive nights.
Such is the legacy of the Tiger’s Bay fighter, that there are a number of candidates primed to step into his slot, indeed there are enough fighters active and successful to make filling the hole left a team effort.
Having proved himself a ticket seller both in New York and in Belfast, considering his profile across the Island, his promotional backing, talent and where he is positioned in terms of major fights on the horizon, Conlan looks ideal candidate to shoulder the expectations of a the European capital of boxing.
However, the younger brother of world title challenger Jamie Conlan points out he can’t grab the torch from Frampton, fans have to hand to him.
Speaking ahead of his mouth-watering clash with Ionut Baluta set for BT Sports this Friday night the super bantamweight with 2021 world title dreams said: “People ask me if the mantle has now been passed to me, am I the new flag-bearer for Irish boxing? The truthful answer is that I don’t know. It’s not up to me, it’s up to the people to decide that.
“I just have to focus on achieving what I believe I can over the next few years. That’s all I can do.”
Upon turning over Conlan
“Everybody will have their opinion and look at the different generations of fighters but when you look at all the achievements, the big fights he was involved in, you have to say that he has staked a claim very heavily to be seen as our best ever. He has certainly inspired the next generation.