Chief support on on of the biggest cards of the year, Ireland’s Mick Conlan impressed tonight in New York.
The Belfast featherweight was the co-feature at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on the Vasyl Lomachenko v Guillermo Rigondeaux card, defeating Argentinian Luis Fernando Molina in The Felt Forum.
While the headliners will fight for Lomachenko’s WBO super featherweight world title, 26 year old Conlan was in action in a six round contest, his fifth, as he continues his building process in the pros.
However, the Olympic bronze medalist gave a polished performance on the ESPN-broadcast bill which will no doubt win him many new fans from the millions that tuned in worldwide.
Earlier in the card, future rival Shakur Stevenson had stopped Oscar Mendoza standing in the second round – but all eyes were on Conlan as he rounded off the undercard for 2017’s dream fight.
Indeed it was perhaps apt that, in support of two of boxing’s technical greats, Conlan gave a boxing clinic while going the distance for the first time.
It was a return to the venue where Conlan made his unprecedented debut back in March and once again a large Irish contingent were in attendance in the famous Big Apple basement
With hundreds making the trip across the Atlantic alongside many more based on the U.S. East Coast, Conlan’s fight generated the biggest atmosphere on the undercard – and the Belfast star would match it in the ring with his best pro performance to date.
Molina came to the ring with an average-looking record – although he disputes two of his losses – alongside a good amateur pedigree.
Conlan, however, was just too good and coasted to a clear win on the cards.
A quiet first saw Conlan start off on the jab, mixing in left hooks to the head and body of the 29 year old from Buenos Aires before switching southpaw in the closing moments.
Switching throughout, the Falls Road fighter upped the pace in the second, ratcheting in one-twos through the tight guard of Molina and sending ‘El Titi’ staggering back in one instance.
Conlan began to dig in heavy bodyshots in the third. The game South American continued to swing, but was missing wildly and being countered sharply as Conlan headed into the fourth round for the first time in his professional career.
The 2015 World Amateur champion had previously predicted a fourth round stoppage, and certainly upped the pace again as the fight entered its second half. One thudding blow from Molina aside, it was Conlan landing all the shots as the bout opened up – but the Latino opponent stood firm.
Molina passed an inspection from the doctor at the start of the fifth and, perhaps sensing his chance, Conlan began to unleash leather. A low blow from the Top Rank starlet caused a brief pause before he hurt Molina again with a straight southpaw one-two.
Conlan continued his controlled and classy display in the sixth and final round to round of the win – and he was awarded the fight on unanimous tallies of 5(4)-0.
The win sees Conlan round off a perfect 2017 and move to 5(4)-0, while Molina drops to 7(2)-4(0)-1. Next up for Conlan is a return to the same venue for another big St Patrick’s Day headline appearance – before finally making his homecoming in Belfast in the early Summer.