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Mick Conlan to change weight and take World Title shortcut

Top Rank have all but promised Michael Conlan [11(6)-0] a 2019 world title shot if he can get down to super bantamweight.

The Belfast featherweight could be fighting for world honours in just his fourteenth pro fight if this new plan plays out.

Conlan initially targeted the super bantamweight [122lbs/55.3kg] division when he first turned pro, weighing in less than a pound over the limit for his debut, but would state his intention to go for titles at featherweight [126lbs/57.2kg] after three fights.

READ: Mick Conlan to move up in weight (2017)

27-year-old Conlan has since won the WBO Inter-Continental title and has risen to #7 in the organisation whose current champ is Top Rank stablemate and former gym-mate Óscar Valdez.

However, a move back down to super bantamweight is on the cards as research done by the fighter’s team suggests 122lbs is an achievable target, and his promoters Top Rank have indicated that so too is a 2019 world title fight at the weight.

Considering Top Rank have Valdez, who looks likely to fight Carl Frampton this year, along with a close working relationships with IBF champion Josh Warrington’s promoter Frank Warren, a shot at feather looked possible for 2020.

Indeed, Conlan had previously mooted a St Patrick’s Day 2020 title shot, name-checking Warrington in particular.

However, the promotional powerhouse feel they can get one within this calender year for their charge at a lower weight.

“I could have weighed 124lbs for the last one so I think I will weigh-in for the next one at 124lbs.

“That will be a target because we have spoken to Top Rank and there are opportunities there for fighting for a world title before the end of the year if I can get down,” Conlan told the Irish News.

One of the reigning super bantamweight champions is Ireland’s TJ Doheny and he could have two belts by April 26th if he wins a massive unfication clash with WBA title holder Daniel Roman.

However, both of those fighters are aligned to DAZN and Matchroom so neither look like likely 2019 opponents for the ESPN fighter, while WBC belt holder Rey Vargas is Golden Boy and thus DAZN-affiliated too making him unlikely as well.

The winner of the Emanuel Navarrete and Isaac Dogboe Top Rank-promoted WBO world title rematch in early May could certainly be an option down the line.  

Indeed, considering his current WBO ranking which would surely carry down, it looks to be the most likely route and an eliminator of some sort in his upcoming two fights against another ranked opponent is the next step.

The world title hopeful, who will fight in the early summer before headlining Belfast’s Féile an Phobail in August, has done the required tests and they all suggest he can make the weight.

Conlan described how “I’ve done Dexa and bodyweight scans and in terms of muscle mass I’m well capable of getting down to 122lbs in a healthy way and I’d still have 10 per cent body fat.” he adds before suggesting he could be massive at the new weight.

“I would be absolutely huge at super-bantam. By the time I’m in the ring to fight at featherweight I’m a welterweight, so if I’m going in like that fighting super-bantamweights I’ll have a bit of an advantage.”

Historically one of Ireland’s most successful classes, Conlan’s gym-mate Ryan Burnett may also populate the 122lbs scene soon, not to mention Frampton who has stated his belief that he could return to the weight for a major fight while Tyrone McCullagh, who disputes his final amateur loss to Conlan, is WBO #13 and a potential eliminator opponent.


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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com