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“Improved” Mick Conlan eyes Belfast homecoming following Berna blow-out

While it didn’t last long, there was certainly something a bit different about Mick Conlan [6(5)-0] on Saturday night.

The Belfast featherweight topped his second successive St Patrick’s Day bill at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, scoring a second-round stoppage over David Berna.

His first fight scheduled for eight rounds and his first fight under new coach Adam Booth, Conlan was a lot more considered than previous, picking and sitting down on his shots well.

The overmatched Hungarian was sent down in the first heavily then again in the second to finish the bout, Conlan’s first in his second year as a pro.

The Olympic bronze medalist rated his debut win over Tim Ibarra an ‘F’ but was much, much more happy with his showing this time around.

Conlan described afterwards how “it meant a lot to me. I wanted to come in here and put on a great performance, a better performance than last year, which I felt I did.”

“I wanted to take this guy out, I wanted to show I improved in my first year as a professional fighter – which I do feel I have, especially under my new coach even though we’ve only been together a little which.”

“I’m very thankful and I’m very happy to come here again with this fantastic crowd on St Paddy’s Day.

In terms of the fight itself, it was essentially over in the first round, with a left uppercut to the body leaving Berna in desperate trouble.

Looking back, Conlan analysed how “I saw he was coming in, dipping down and bringing his guard up to block his face. Once I turned to the southpaw stance I felt that shot was going to be a comfortable shot to land and, the first one I threw, it put him down and I believe it sucked the life out of him.”

It’s been a busy first year as a pro for Conlan who feels he has made considerable improvements and is now hoping to be in a position to challenge for a World title next St Patrick’s Day.

The Falls Road 26-year-old outlined how “I feel I’ve improved as an all-round fighter.”

“I’ve got the experience of professional boxing where I’m taking it in my stride now as opposed to when I did turn pro it was like a sprint for me, I just wanted to take them out which was the wrong thing to do instead of breaking them down, which now I feel I’m doing.”

What’s next for Conlan is unsure. A spot on the now-postponed April 14th undercard of Jeff Horn v Terence Crawford had been mooted and an alternate date in April may now be sourced.

If not, it could skip ahead to the Summer and his long-awaited Belfast homecoming.

One hundred percent I want to fight back in Belfast,” Conlan said.

“There was talk of it being in June. Look at this crowd, we could sell out any arena in Ireland, we’ve got to get back to Ireland.


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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