Mick Conlan cruises to stoppage win on Las Vegas debut


Mick Conlan had a dominant Las Vegas debut tonight at the Mandalay Bay.

Fighting on the undercard of Ryota Murata’s middleweight clash with Rob Bryant, where the away corner was initially due to be filled by Donegal’s Jason Quigley, Conlan had it all his own way against Italian Nicola Cipoletta.

On the offensive from first bell, the Falls Road fighter won every second against an opponent with no desire to fight and eventually scored a stoppage in the seventh and penultimate round.

Tonight in Sin City, Conlan shared the undercard with old Olympic nemesis Vladimir Nikitin and certainly contrasted favourably in terms of skill – if not blood and guts – with the Russian being involved in a fire-fight with American slugger Clay Burns.

By comparison, Conlan cruised against what had looked to be a solid if unspectacular foe.

The Naples native won three Italian title fights in 2015 and 2016 but was outpointed by Hungarian super featherweight dangerman Zoltan Kovacs last year then lost his national title via knockout to before losing his national title via fourth-round knockout to Mauro Forte.

Conlan was returning to the ring following his successful Belfast homecoming in June. Here he scored a big step-up win over recent world title challenger Adeilson Dos Santos but took a slightly longer break afterwards following the birth of his son, Mick Junior.

With this in mind, the 26-year-old made a temporary step down in levels and was met with an opponent that spent the entire contest in reverse.

Fighting for the fourth time under London coach Adam Booth, Conlan began stalking, popping out the jab and landing the occasional backhanding before a brief period of trading on the ropes in the closing seconds of the opener.

Cipoletta was working extremely hard to keep Conlan off him and shipped a big right midway through the second and another at the close of the round – a round in which the Irishman was warned for straying low.

Targeting the body, Conlan was starting to slow the feet of the Italian in the third and this continued into the fourth as Cipoletta’s output behan to wane.

Moving into the second half of the fight, ‘The Tiger’ Cipoletta had reverted into full-scale survival mode, hurridely circling the ring much to the crowd’s displeasure. Conlan finally caught up in the closing seconds of the round, landing a flurry of shots which seemed to bother the visitor.

Switching southpaw, Conlan landed meaty shots in the sixth, cornering Cipoletta at the close, but the ever-retreating Italian managed to survive.

Timing the overhand right well in the seventh, Conlan was awarded the stoppage as referee Russell Mora stepped in midway through the round having seen enough – with little coming in response from Cipoletta. Unhappy with the stoppage, the away fighter did push-ups in the ring to ‘prove’ he was able to continue fighting.

The win sees Conlan improve his record to 9(6)-0 while the outclassed Cipoletta drops to 14(4)-7(3)-2.

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie