Michael Conlan [16(8)-0] predicts it will take him just a couple of rounds to drain the confidence from Leigh Wood [25(15)-2(1)] on Saturday night.
The Belfast boxer has no doubt the Nottingham puncher has been walking around with his chest puffed out since he upset Xu Can to win the WBA featherweight ‘regular’ world title – and notes he will bring some of that confidence into their eagerly anticipated meeting at the Motorpoint Arena
However, the Olympic medal winner and former World Amateur champion is confident he will stick a pin in the inflated chest and suck any added self-belief out of the titleholder.
“Anyone who wins a world title, your level naturally goes up with the confidence and belief in his ability,” Conlan said.
“I think he kind of missed the wave a bit because he hasn’t competed since he won it, and that was back in July, so he’s missed that hype-train to help build his confidence even more and I think it will be sucked clean out of him in a few rounds.”
To dent Wood’s conviction and test his faith, Conlan is aware he will have to perform – and if he does produce he is confident he wins at a canter.
“I believe I’ll go in there and win comfortably but I’ve still got to go in and do that. That’s all it is. I’ve got to go in and put in my performance and walk out world champion,” he adds before stating world success is his destiny.
“It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been a world champion in waiting. It’s my destiny, I know. I’ve just got to go in and realise that and live that dream which I’ve been feeling and saying for a long time.”
The Top Rank fighter, who is slight favourite with the bookies to defeat the Matchroom puncher live on DAZN, also took time to question Wood’s best victory.
The Belfast star admits Wood, who speaks so well about Dublin training great Brendan Ingle, performed well against the Chinese champion last time out but wonder’s if he beat a peak Xu.
“Combination,” he said, when asked whether the outcome was because Wood was brilliant or Xu wasn’t allowed to get started.
“Can Xu hadn’t boxed in 18 months, obviously, but Leigh Wood put on the performance of his career, pulled off a fantastic win, looked great doing it and Can Xu didn’t look like he had any ability to adjust or adapt to anything Leigh Wood was doing and Leigh Wood held his ground, punched when he needed to punch, took his breaks when he needed to and he was very good that night.”
Photo Credit Mark Robinson Matchroom