The Belfast featherweight packed out The Theater at Madison Square Garden for a second successive St Patrick’s Day and the Top Rank starlet claimed an early stoppage victory to send the thousands of Irish fans off into the night happy.
Following five wins in six rounders in 2017, Conlan made the move up to eight tonight but needed less than a quarter of that to dispose of Hungarian challenger David Berna, scoring a knockout against his poor opponent early in the second round.
The Magyar had been touted as a step-up due to his impressive looking record, however, upon further inspection, one could see that both times he had fought opponents of any note whatsoever he had been stopped early.
It was the same against 2015 World amateur champion Conlan who was fighting under new trainer Adam Booth for the first time having relocated to London from The Rock Gym and Manny Robles in Los Angeles. While Conlan did seem more controlled, little of this new partnership could be discerned tonight, with the overmatched Berna crumbling early and tougher tests no doubt await.
— Paul D Gibson (@PaulieDGibson) March 18, 2018
With Conlan the reason for the majority of tickets sold, his non-title bout took place after the night’s ‘main event’ – Jose Ramirez‘s thrilling vacant WBC light welterweight title win over Amir Imam.
Last year, on his near-unprecedented debut, Conlan was accompanied to the ring by UFC superstar Conor McGregor in a memorable entrance which saw him evoke Apollo Creed’s ‘Living in America’ entrance versus Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.
This time round it was a bit more muted but the Falls Road fighter was again accompanied by bagpipes, ‘Grace’, innumerable ‘Olé, Olé, Olés’ and tricolours – as well as being introduced by the legendary Michael Buffer. Indeed, there was even some Irish representation in Berna’s corner, with Kilkenny’s Andy O’Neill – sporting a green-white-and-orange beard – on cutman duty.
— Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden (@HuluTheaterMSG) March 18, 2018
Following the lengthy lead-in, the Olympic bronze medalist started in a controlled manner. Berna looked to get inside and wing big shots and soon found himself on the floor, shipping a left uppercut to the body that nailed him to the canvas.
Berna did well to rise and see out the round but was put straight back down in the second with a cuffing hook. Rising unsteadily at ‘nine’, Conlan swarmed in for the kill and the bout was waved off for the Irishman’s easiest win of his pro career thus far.
The win sees Conlan move to 6(5)-0 while the woefully out of his depth Berna drops to 15(14)-3(3).
What’s next for the 26-year-old is unsure. A spot on the Jeff Horn v Terence Crawford undercard had been mooted ahead of a Belfast homecoming in late May or early June. However, with Crawford pulling out of the April 14th WBO welterweight title fight through injury and leading to the card being postponed, a new route will be planned.